Statistical Probability

There’s a 90% chance that this relationship isn’t going anywhere.

If he heard me saying that, there’s an 80% probability that he’d respond by telling me that 62% of all statistics are made up. It’s his go-to line, used at my expense an estimated 50% of the time. It’s 25% of the reason why the chance of our relationship failing is so high.

I’m a joke to you.
You’re taking this way too seriously. It’s just a funny saying.
Do I look like I’m laughing?
You take yourself too seriously too. Relax, honey. No one thinks it’s a dig at you.
I do.

The other 65% is made up of a combination of factors. Religious affiliations, political stances, family dynamics, high divorce rates – I could go on for hours. The truth of the matter comes down to this: every relationship starts off with a 50% chance of failure. Certain factors increase that likelihood, certain factors decrease it. Finding common ground brings that number closer to success, increasing exponentially with the importance that one party or the other attaches to the subject. Uncovering secrets has a tendency to push that number into the higher range, particularly when those secrets introduce unresolvable conflict.

How long?
I said that I was sorry. I came clean. Isn’t that enough for you?
How long?
Well there’s my answer, apparently.
How long?
What? So you can hold it over my head? So you can put all the blame on me for things falling to shit?
How. Long.
Two years, okay. Is that what you wanted to hear.
More than half of our relationship.
See, I knew you’d turn it around somehow.

The duration of the relationship can skew the numbers either way. Sometimes it’s a pro, sometimes a con. Extended periods of time introduce common ground for relationships even when there may have been none at the outset. Shared friendships, shared memories, shared belongings all become contributing factors and should be taken into consideration when calculating the odds of success or failure. But, then, remaining in a relationship for an extended period of time can also result in diminished interest or excitement on either or both parts, stagnancy, boredom and the increased likelihood of conflict. Often such conflict will be the result of a small matter, previously undisclosed, or unforeseen change in opinion or stance on what was previously a subject of common ground for the relationship.

Since when do you hate mushrooms?
I’ve always hated them..
Our first date.
What about it?
You said you liked them.
Did I?
You said they were the best you’d tasted.
That’s not like, per se.
What are you going to change your mind about next? Your favourite colour?

But, then, in the grander scheme of things, taking into consideration the statistics involved, if every relationship starts out with a 50% chance of failure, perhaps a 10% chance of success, while seeming at first insignificant, is all that a couple really needs to beat the odds and survive.


A Statistician works with statistics – gathering data, analyzing it, and reporting on it. Most statisticians combine their analysis skills with other work – like actuaries, financial analysts, sociologists and epidemiologists.

Write at least 500 words, following a character in this career. If necessary, read up a little on what the stresses and responsibilities are. If you’re still stuck, write about the relationships or family life someone in this career might have.



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