Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Formula for Love?

Romantic love is not calculus. Thank God for that because many of us are terrible at math.

But maybe, just maybe there is a formula for finding your match. Or at least, identifying what kind of person would be your ideal match.

When shopping for a car, choosing jewelry or buying a new lawnmower, I think that there is a process for picking out quality and for finding what is right for you.

And like buying a car, finding a partner can be somewhat confusing. But if you do your homework, you’re more likely to get what you want the first go round by absolutely eliminating what you don’t want and shopping smart for what you do want. That’s right. Dating is remarkably like shopping.

There are millions of cars out there: All different shapes, sizes and colors. Each have different features and come with different grades of accessories. People are the same way. When picking out a car- a person must first take a look at themselves.

What is your lifestyle like? Do you live in the city or choose the country life? What style of car best suits your needs? Is roomy passenger space important or do showy rims suit you better? What features do you consider mandatory and which are really optional? Are you going to actually use the seat warmers or would it be better to focus on an extended warranty? What are your intentions for this car? Do you need a commuter that is economical and business-suit friendly? Or will you need something more rugged that can handle a heavy load and is built for off-roading?

It might surprise you how similar this is to choosing a partner.

Are you looking for someone who is going to enjoy road trips and camping? Or someone who cleans up well and can work a room for a business networking conference and will genuinely enjoy an opera charity banquet? Can you support a home and family on just your income or will you need a partner who can handle having kids and a job? Does the size of her bra matter more to you than whether she’ll stand by you if you lose your hair or job? What if you lose both? Or- ever thought of this… what if she loses her bra size?

Once you’ve identified what style of car you’ll need for your lifestyle, you’ll need to be realistic about what you can afford. This can be the hardest part to admit. Generally speaking, the prettier the car, the more bells and whistles it has, and the more prestigious it is to own- the more it’s going to cost you.

Not surprisingly- people are the same way.

Typically if you’re looking for someone that is going to be the envy of everyone you know- you’re going to need a sizable bank account and/or a lot of time and attention to maintain them. Like luxury cars, people who are exceptional generally hold out for someone who will take exceptional care of them.

Usually people who buy $100,000+ cars, have a clean garage to store them in, take them in for regular oil changes and are meticulous with their interior detailing.

A person who has an impeccable physical appearance, comes from an upscale family and may boast expensive talents, hobbies or education, is going to expect to maintain a certain quality of lifestyle- one that spares no expense. For someone who usually head to a local bar to pick up ‘dates’ and consider grabbing burgers ‘eating out’- their chances of getting with this quality of person, are about as high as affording a Pagani Zonda C12 F.

If you can afford that kind of car, congratulations. Can I get your phone number? (Just kidding!)

Physical appearance and intelligence are the two premiums because they are the most likely to be passed onto their future children. Other features include: talents, education, personal income, potential sizable inheritances and family/connections prestige.

First: make a list first of everything you have to offer a romantic partner. This is like assessing what kind of car you afford. If you’ve got the goods, the chances are higher you can get the upgrades. For a man, height, income and education are going to matter more to women then you might think is fair. Keep in mind though, if you’re planning to have kids, or if they already have kids, they’re just following a natural instinct to find a good provider to ensure their/your kids have a decent quality life and a secure future. If you were a woman, those would matter more to you as well.

Like it or not, money is going to matter at some point to every woman. Maybe not before she has kids, but definitely after. Maybe not when she’s really young, but definitely when she starts to get older. Face it. Money is needed for every basic necessity and definitely every luxury in the world.

But back to your list. You can give yourself bonus points if:
• you have a job w/ dependability
• you have a degree
• you have a six figure income
• you own a successful business
• you’re over 6 feet tall
• you’re the sole owner of a home or condo or property
• you own a clean reliable car
• you don’t have debt or a car payment
• you’re under 40
• you don’t have kids
• you have an especially attractive face
• your dad and both your grandfathers have full heads of hair
• your body fat is 12% or lower
• your family has a history of longevity (long life) and no personality disorders
• you don’t need regular doses of prescription drugs to live a normal life (ie: anti-anxiety or anti-psychotic medication)
• you don’t have a chemical abuse problem and you don’t smoke
• you have a fairly normal family and a good relationship with them
• you have famous or wealthy parents, grandparents or aunts/uncles/cousins
• you have musical or artistic abilities
• you are a celebrity or publicly well-known
• you have an IQ of 130 or higher
• you have useful and specialized talents or skills

These are provable statistics. Everything on this list can be verified in ways that would stand up in court. Any of these can be proved by government statements (DMV, banks, etc.) tests given by certified professionals or genetic testing. When going through a professional matchmaker, these are the kinds of stats they’ll start off with in creating you a profile.

If you can legitimately claim more than 80% of the qualities listed- chances are you could date/marry/have children with just about any woman of your choosing (who isn’t already taken!). A woman who can claim 80% of qualities indicating good genetics, superior intelligence and financial security could likewise date/marry/have children with just about any man of their choosing.

The average person only has a handful of these though. Might as well focus on your strengths rather than dwelling on things you cannot change (like your genetics, your family history or your IQ) and focus on improving the ones you can control (like body fat percentage, income, getting a degree, etc.)

The next list of qualities are character traits that general cannot be “proved” but are just as valuable. Things like being: generous, honest, cheerful, patient, kind hearted, loyal, considerate, hard working, romantic, adventurous, playful, responsible, morally ethical, non-abusive, good with kids, good communicator, respectful, emotionally supportive, emotionally grounded/stable, monogamous, non-jealous, modest (not too proud), affectionate, confident, easy going, self-reliant, altruistic etc.

Next, make a list of everything you’d like to have in a partner. Detail all the qualities you’d ideally like to have and star next to the ones that you consider mandatory. Don’t get so caught up in the physical category that you forget things like loving nature, rational behavior and loyalty.

You can think of comparing the lists as bartering. You may not have the height, but maybe you have the income. You may not have the home, but maybe you have the education. As long as what you are offering is fair with what you are requesting, you’re likely to find a compatible match.

An overweight high school drop out who is on unemployment, is ‘4:20 friendly’ in their spare time and is living with their parents is never going to score a playboy model rocket scientist who plays semi-pro tennis in her spare time and has a vacation home in Madrid! That kind of guy fantasy is only in the movies. The unrealistic, never-gonna-happen-in-real-life movies.

There are several additional ways to find out compatibility with another person. Obviously the more ways you can establish compatibility with someone, the stronger your chances of maintaining a strong bond with them; be that in a relationship or a commitment like marriage.

Astrology is one of the ways. While some people chalk it up as not ‘scientific’, there is an astrology listing as a resource on virtually every email and bringing-people-together site. This would suggest that a fairly large percentage of the dating community considers it at least worth checking out. If you know your Sun sign, this site will show you “at a glance” what signs you are compatible with.

If you do a little more research, you can find out if your Moon signs are also compatible. At the following link you can find out if your Venus (planet of love) signs are compatible.

Eastern or Chinese astrology signs also predict compatibility.

Helen Fisher an anthropologist who specializes in romantic relationships came up with a series of questions to find out which two of the four categories you are foremost: Explorer, Builder, Director, Negotiator. According to her research and experience with, there is a very real way of predicting who will choose who out of a room of single people- based upon their dominant personalities. The test to discover your personality type can be found in her book “Why Him? Why Her?”, or online at the following link:

The Five Love Languages
are a list of the five ways to show someone love and respect. Everyone has an order of importance they’d put them in. The top two you’d want and respond to the best is quite telling about you. Knowing your top two, and those of a partner are important to making each other feel loved and cared about. While you don’t have to have the same order, sharing at least one of your top two will help increase your compatibility since showing each other love and receiving love from them will much easier and require less effort.

While there are likely dozens of other ways to test compatibility, combining these is probably a good start to discovering your ideal mate.

To use myself as an example, My:
Western astrology: Sun: Gemini
Eastern astrology: Horse
Personality type: Negotiator/Explorer
Top 2 Love Languages: Physical Touch and Quality Time

My Best Compatible Partner would be some combination of the following:
Western astrology: Sun: Aquarius, Aries, Leo or Libra
Eastern astrology: Tiger, Horse or Dog
Personality type: Director/Explorer or Director/Negotiator
Top 2 Love Languages: Physical Touch or Quality Time

If only we could all walk around with signs that list these qualities, how much easier would it be to find the love of our lives? If nothing else we certainly could all save ourselves a lot of time and effort not focusing on the wrong people!

Finding someone with the correct combination of characteristics is like discovering a sequence for opening a lock to a person’s heart. Using this formula for checking out potential partners is almost guaranteed to cause one of you fall for the other. But there is no sure fire way to ensure you’ll both fall in love with each other. And, it has to be said, there are the rare exceptions to every rule.

After all, while breaking everything down scientifically and mathematically is fascinating and can maximize efficiency… some things need to be left to chance.