"it’s using numbers to look at our values, the value of our time, money, and emotions, and how we invest in ourselves, and our relationships," she explained
The math equations in Haley McGee's new book, The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale, are far from the 'scary' sums you remember from school. The math here relates to 'juicy topics' such as sex, love, passion, anguish, and heartache as McGee attempts to discover the true cost of love and relationships.
35-year-old McGee explained, "Don’t be put off if all you can remember is a maths teacher droning on at school, and thinking this doesn’t relate to my life at all. The maths in this book is relatable, it’s using numbers to look at our values, the value of our time, money, and emotions, and how we invest in ourselves, and our relationships. You absolutely don’t need to be a whizz to be able to enjoy the maths." It all started four years ago when McGee had to have an uncomfortable chat with her credit company. McGee decided to have a yard sale to raise funds to clear her debt. While gathering items to sell, she soon realized that they were all connected to her exes in some way, including a mixtape, necklace, ukulele, bicycle, typewriter, backpack, jewelry box, and T-shirt, reported Mirror.
This realization got her thinking as to how the relationship might impact the price and was there a way to quantify that? She sought out a mathematician and over the next few months created an algorithm that has 87 variables divided into categories. These variables consist of many things from the object itself to other details such as 'the length of the relationship, how good the sex was, how much fun or misery was had, and any life lessons learned', reported Mirror.
For McGee, finding the formula was just the "fine decoration on a cake". She was more interested in the 'unexpected lessons' the calculations taught her. Through the process, she claims that she learned about herself, and the choices she has made. "It’s asking you to quantify why things might have gone wrong, and to look for patterns, which I think is a lot more useful than the hard numbers themselves," McGee explained. She also hosts a podcast called The Cost of Love where experts provide advice to listeners’ questions, often involving 'the messy collision of money and relationships, and how it’s led to resentment or exploitation', Mirror reported.
McGee addressed those who might find it problematic to look at love in monetary terms, saying, "People have told me in the past that it’s gross to think of love and relationships in monetary terms, but when you think about it, we’re always talking about how much we’ve invested in someone - the price we’ve paid, whether a relationship is worth the hassle, or if it will pay off." She further said that this is why she recommends people to be honest with themselves about past relationships to help understand what they are looking for in a new partner.
"I like to think of it as a cost-benefit analysis of relationships in time, emotion, and money. It’s a way of using maths in unexpected ways to help people feel like they can be more forthright in dating by knowing what they want, what they’ll put up with, and what they won’t," she explained. "And I hope it helps people behave more bravely in their relationships, whether that means having a difficult conversation with your current partner that leads you to a deeper place, or realizing you want different things, and having the courage to move on," she added, according to Mirror.