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October 2, 2007 / TildeWill


A while back I made a post about my statistical approach to dating. I also cross posted it a few places. I got a lot of responses saying that there’s no formula to love. And while I agree, or at least I agree that I probably won’t unearth some equation that will bring the world to a blissful state of romance, I disagree that it’s nearly as random/chaotic as some would have you believe.

I suspect the people that believe love is random are the same people who feel like they have no control over the things that happen to them. To me, I may not be able to control everything, but I can always affect how I react to it. And there is a fair amount I can control: where I go, who I talk to, who I ignore, what I wear, what I say, what I smell like. I’m pretty sure that just by changing those few things appropriately I can affect my chances of someone being attracted to me.

So then there’s the other half, me being attracted to someone else, someone I meet. Statistically I could just go out and meet as many people as possible. But that can be taxing, so I try to narrow my search by understanding who I’m interested in. I look at the physical and non-physical characteristics of the women I’ve dated in the past and how well the relationship went. From there, the next task is to put myself where I might find those types of people. For example, I might take up cricket if I wanted to meet an Indian woman, or hang out at the library or book store if I wanted to meet a book worm. Why try looking for a swimmer at a roller rink? Sure, there might be one, but you’re not as likely to find her there.

I suppose the other element at play here is that I do not believe, there’s “the one” in the sense that there’s only one person out there waiting for me. I think that dating, like all relationships, there are good ones and bad ones, all of which you have to work at. And at some point two people find each other, and there’s a good base for a relationship, and both seem to want to work at building on it. That’s the keeper, don’t let her go, no matter what.



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  1. anthogna / Oct 2 2007 4:19 pm

    Okay, here’s a question for you:

    Why would you use data on your unsuccessful relationships to determine what traits would exist in this “ideal partner” type?

    This may seem like a no-brainer, since you can only theoretically have data on unsuccessful relationships. However, your statistical approach unfairly reduces the cause of a failed relationship to a few objective traits.

    Let’s turn the tables for a moment, and say that I am one of your ex-girlfriends. I list among the reasons that I broke up with you that you came from Michigan and are adopted.

    You should be outraged, because both of these traits, which you have, are out of your control. Likewise, a potential partner’s age, height, major, and where you met them are equally out of their control.

    If you decide one day that you are looking for a woman who is two years younger than you, 5’5″ with Dark Brown eyes that studied Mechanical Engineering and likes to play guitar, you’re not only narrowing the field, you’re also closing yourself off from the possibility that someone not fitting your “objective ideal” could be a good partner for you.

    Likewise, if you do find someone who fits this nexus, do you really think that you will have a successful relationship with them?

    Girl: “Will, why do you love me?”
    You: “Well, you’re a woman who is 2 years younger….”

    I think may people would agree that you’d find yourself on the wrong end of a logical paradox, since your perfect woman would dump you around that point.

    I know that this is not your ultimate intent, but by extending this line of reasoning to its logical conclusion, I’m hoping to try and clarify for you why “we” think that it is misguided.

    There may be no “one” person for everybody, but applying an objective rubric to your romantic life only forces people to be categorized without taking into account that they are thinking, feeling people who have their own wants and needs. If the traits you look for are among those that people have no control over (or even if they do), what makes you think you should have control over them?

  2. lina / Oct 3 2007 10:49 am

    Finding love is as much random as it isn’t, but your stat approach is way to analytical and emotionless. You can’t connect in an emotional way by disregarding the emotional ties.

    Obviously you won’t keep a relationship going very long without common interest and a similar outlook on life in a general sense, but that’s not what makes a relationship strong. It’s how you appreciate the differences that really counts.


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