My friends and I refer to it as the “Taxi-Cab Theory.” I didn’t consider it too valid, since it’s impossible to know what really goes on in others’ relationships, so I was surprised to hear it addressed in the recent ABC “Nightline” special. It turns out we were on to something.
What’s the Taxi-Cab Theory? From the outside looking in, we describe it as the apparent ability of some single men to “hail” the next available woman and immediately settle down. It usually occurs after said man has spent multiple years dealing with another woman. That relationship ends, and six to 12 months later, he’s hopped into a new “cab” and is now engaged to what seems to be some random woman who just pulled up to the curb.
Again, I didn’t think the theory carried much weight. The truth is, I’d hate to accept that people pick mates by declaring, “I’ll make it work with this next one.” Plus, I didn’t want to belittle anyone’s relationship by assuming his or her partnership was primarily a matter of timing. However, Hill Harper confirmed my suspicions when the question was raised during that recent televised panel discussion.
He said, “Some men get to a point, a maturity level and … it clicks in them, ‘Well, nobody I ever dated was perfect. So, the next person I’m gonna date’s not gonna be perfect either, but I know that I wanna go to this next place in my life – have a family, have a partner – so, I might as well grab this next person.”
That explains why a guy might up and decide to settle down and make it work with somebody, but why doesn’t he choose one of the women – or the one – who has been dealing with him for years?
Hill’s thoughts: “They’d already created so much baggage with the person before, so that they know they couldn’t go back there. So, they just went for it with someone new.”
That’s a hard pill to swallow for the SIS who may have wasted years on a guy who’s suddenly married with children. However, she should take some comfort in knowing he obviously wasn’t her Mr. Right. I wonder if his presence is comfort enough for the new woman who probably realizes that if she had pulled up to the curb 10 minutes later, he might very well be kickin’ it in the back of someone else’s cab right now.
I also wonder if those relationships work as well as those that result after years of dating. I do know couples that married after only six or so months, and those marriages lasted. Was it a case of “I’ll pick the next one”? I can’t say.
I do know there are several ways for people to get together. Some get together in childhood and stay connected at the hip. Some meet and marry within a year. I’m not sure how much the length of the courtship matters, but I would want a guy who was genuinely into me – and I do think that could happen in a short amount of time. However, there’s a difference between getting into a shiny, new cab and deciding you never want to leave it and just hanging out on the curb committed to strap yourself into whatever pulls up next.