(Curiously, these equations have also been used to understand what happens between two countries during war — a fact on which Fry remarks that “an arguing couple spiraling into negativity and teetering on the brink of divorce is actually mathematically equivalent to the beginning of a nuclear war.”) Fry presents the elegant formulae the researchers developed for explaining these patterns of human behavior.(Although the symbols stand for “wife” and “husband,” Fry notes that Murray’s models don’t factor in any stereotypes and are thus equally applicable to relationships across all orientations and gender identities.) She breaks down the equations: The researchers then plotted the effects the two partners have on each other — empirical evidence for Leo Buscaglia’s timelessly beautiful notion that love is a “dynamic interaction”: In this version of the graph, the dotted line indicates that the husband is having a positive impact on his wife.Fry examines what psychologists studying longtime couples have found about the key to successful relationships: Every relationship will have conflict, but most psychologists now agree that the way couples argue can differ substantially, and can work as a useful predictor of longer-term happiness within a couple.In relationships where both partners consider themselves as happy, bad behavior is dismissed as unusual: “He’s under a lot of stress at the moment,” or “No wonder she’s grumpy, she hasn’t had a lot of sleep lately.” Couples in this enviable state will have a deep-seated positive view of their partner, which is only reinforced by any positive behavior: “These flowers are lovely.Making this distinction is one of the greatest and most difficult arts of the human experience — and, it turns out, it can be greatly enhanced with a little bit of science.That’s what mathematician Hannah Fry suggests in ) — a slim but potent volume from TED Books, featuring gorgeous illustrations by German artist Christine Rösch.
Bad behavior is considered the norm: “He’s always like that,” or “Yet again. She cites the work of psychologist John Gottman, who studies why marriages succeed or fail.
Love — [like] most of life — is full of patterns: from the number of sexual partners we have in our lifetime to how we choose who to message on an internet dating website.
These patterns twist and turn and warp and evolve just as love does, and are all patterns which mathematics is uniquely placed to describe. It is the foundation stone upon which every major scientific and technological achievement of the modern era has been built. In the first chapter, Fry explores the mathematical odds of finding your ideal mate — with far more heartening results than more jaundiced estimations have yielded.
Following this strategy will definitely give you the best possible chance of finding the number one partner on your imaginary list. Reject everything in the first month and then pick the next house that comes along that is your favorite so far. Reject the first 37 percent of candidates and then give the job to the next one who you prefer above all others.
In fact, the search for an assistant is the most famous formulation of this theory, and the method is often known as the “secretary problem.” But the most interesting and pause-giving chapter is the final one, which brings modern lucidity to the fairy-tale myth that “happily ever after” ensues unabated after you’ve identified “The One,” stopped your search, and settled down him or her.
Fry explains: Drake exploited a trick well known to scientists of breaking down the estimation by making lots of little educated guesses rather than one big one.