top of page

Mathematical functions of love

A lot of people think love is a universal click. It either exists between two people or does not.

If we’re going to talk about love, let’s mention "love at first sight" just to get it out of the way. You see someone and before any words come out of your mouths, you feel love.
If you’re older than 15, you know this is nonsense. This person could be the opposite of what you’re looking for on the inside, what you really felt is physical attraction.
And again, if you’re older than 15 you know physical attraction was formed inside your head during your puberty stage, it was probably connected to your first sexual experience or a love scene you saw somewhere. It’s a chemical reaction that can’t be trusted - as Rick Sanchez said, “it’s a chemical reaction that compels animals to breed. rise above, focus on science”.

As a person who refuses fate and uncontrolled destiny notions (which is a gentler description of utter randomness), I refuse to accept helplessness. I mean, what good is life if you live according to randomness? What is life if you can’t affect decisions? Let alone something as big as your life partner.

The constant function of love

I think many people believe in a constant function of compatibility:


Translation: you meet a person one day with whom you have x% compatibly and this is how you go on with time.
To be more realistic, this function might have ups and downs (red noise):


(what scientist doesn’t like a function with zero noise, so let’s stick with the first figure)


The only parameter there is x, when x equals zero it means that you’re not compatible at all with the person you’ve just met (run for your life). And when x is very high, you feel you just met your soulmate (I feel ridiculous just saying the word).

For most people x has a threshold. Where below it, chances are you’re not going to hit it off (This is why you didn’t get a second date that time you went out). Under that specific x, you're not giving them a chance.

A lot of people (mainly who are terrified of rejection) interpret low x values as failure and an indication of bad personality traits in themselves. So naturally, they work hard to maximize it at the beginning of the relationship. How hard?

I mean, it’s natural that you want to impress a person you just met to a certain degree. The more you’re afraid of rejection and questioning your personality, the more you’re willing to do to score a high x compatibility score.

Consequently, most people end up faking personality traits in relationships. They see what the new partner/date likes to see and mimic it for conformation.
This is not exclusive to one side; their partner might want the high x as bad as them and will go as far as to convince himself/herself that the traits they’d like to be in their partner are already there (no he's a good guy, he was just joking).

We’ve all heard about some couple breaking up after a long time of dating, and when asked they said they couldn’t handle certain traits of their partner and all you can think is “how the hell did they not see this in their partner earlier?”.

It’s not that they didn’t see it, they wanted the high x score so bad that they ignored all signs that might threaten that high x, because admitting low x score means failure in their heads.
Since the only changeable parameter is x, they keep pretending it's high until they are forced to recalculate it, that's when they're most surprised of how low it is and that’s when they break up.

The inclined function of love

The truth is that compatibility function looks like this:


The red circle is the starting point, when you meet someone and talk to them the first time you share interests and understanding at x% level. But it’s not constant, with time the arrows could left you up or down the compatibility scale.

You could start at a low starting point and move up to a high x score (we've all heard about a couple who started dating after so many rejections, and it actually worked in the end) or start at a high starting point and go down to low x score (we've also heard about the couple who seemed as the most compatible couple ever and ended breaking up), it is all based on your efforts to make it work.

The gradient of the line is the pace of change and growth.

In the constant compatibility function mentioned earlier, the gradient is zero. No change happens with time there (Those with background in machine learning know that zero gradients are terrible as they stop the learning process, you always want a gradient to indicate which direction you move in each step). 

For larger incline, the pace of change is greater, this mean that increasing compatibility (or decreasing it) happens faster.
For smaller inclines, it takes time for steps in either direction.
You don't want a very large incline as it is a rollercoaster, one day you're the most compatible couple and the next you can't stand each other. And you don't want very small incline because that's too much work for anything to change.


To sum up...

Do not get me wrong, this doesn’t mean every relationship is possible.

Sometimes it’s just not worth the work or the time, and I think that's a very valid reason to skip trying.

People vary; relationships vary. Hence, the amount of work varies.
Figure out how much work is needed and right there define the threshold of how much work you’re willing to do.

The inclined love relationships require work all the time, not doing the work means you’re stepping downwards on the compatibility line. So many great-starting relationship died because people stopped working on it.

The good and the bad news is that you can affect it.
I think most people want to believe that love is constant and it's just a given because it’s easier than admitting it needs work (sometimes a lot of work). Those are the same people who don't aim higher in education because hey it's either that god gave you a great intellect or he didn't...

This sad truth is that it's not exclusive to relationships; we always want the choice with no work or effort in. This is why I mentioned “fate” and “destiny” in the beginning, those are the laziest words in the dictionary.

bottom of page