I decided that the first step to answering this question was to work out who they had been. If finding my Soul Mate was now my job, as with any other job I'd need to put together an up-to-date résumé. A Relationship Résumé: a document that set out my romance history, giving me an insight into the kind of person I'd gone for in the past. In short, whom I dated and when; the role I undertook in the relationship and the reasons for leaving it. Based on that, I then needed to write a Soul Mate Job Description, outlining the position I was looking to fill. The task was too big for me alone, but I was hoping that my global network of friends would help. If I emailed them the Soul Mate Job Description, they could act as Date Wranglers, sending it out to their global network of friends and corralling suitable dates for me around the world.
The more I thought about it, the more I wondered why I hadn't done this sooner. Okay, the Relationship Résumé:
TITLE: First Love
MAJOR RESPONSIBILITIES: Going to festivals; riding around on the back of a motorbike; protesting at Greenham Common; finding politics; losing virginity.
REASONS FOR LEAVING: Laid off; replaced by someone who drank Bacardi Breezers.
TITLE: First Live-in Relationship
MAJOR RESPONSIBILITIES: Learning to cook; having lots of dinner parties; buying things for the flat; having Sunday lunch with his family; getting engaged.
REASONS FOR LEAVING: Applied for a position overseas.
MAJOR RESPONSIBILITIES: Being spontaneous and not worrying too much about tomorrow; sharing adventures; being supportive of each other's dreams; saying "No, Philip, that's too crazy."
REASONS FOR LEAVING: Was relocated back to the U.K.
DATE: January 1996
TITLE: Transition Relationship
MAJOR RESPONSIBILITIES: Drinking Jack Daniel's and staying up very late; watching a lot of Tarantino films; listening to heavy-metal music; bursting into tears.
REASONS FOR LEAVING: Short-term contract.
DATE: February–June 1996
TITLE: Career Advisor
MAJOR RESPONSIBILITIES: Going over to his house or sitting on the phone every night and listening to what he had written that day on his book. Criticism was not welcome, only attention and praise.
REASONS FOR LEAVING: Communication breakdown.
DATE: August 1996
TITLE: Fellow Adventurer
MAJOR RESPONSIBILITIES: Swapping travel stories and talking about all the crazy places we had been/both wanted to go.
REASONS FOR LEAVING: I met Jason a week before he was due to set off to pedal the planet for four years. NB: Carried out some freelance work for this company over Xmas.
TITLE: Company Trustee
MAJOR RESPONSIBILITIES: Listening to Grant complain about his ex-wife and how glad he was they had split up.
REASONS FOR LEAVING: They hadn't split up.
TITLE: Coco the Clown
MAJOR RESPONSIBILITIES: Feeling everything was my fault and that I was too demanding/needy/neurotic/successful; believing things would get better if I could only understand what the problem was.
REASONS FOR LEAVING: I was unwilling to job-share.
Excerpted from "Around the World in 80 Dates," by Jennifer Cox. Published by Simon & Schuster. Copyright © 2005 by Jennifer Cox.