Image result for lovers in renaissance painting

The attraction formula is simple: 1 + 1 = 2. When two people are mutually in love with each other, the happy result is 2. This happens in the beginning of love.

What eventually happens, as most people know, however, is one feels more attraction than the other.  There is nothing that says attraction must be equal, and we all know it often isn’t, especially with the passage of time. Attraction is fickle and involuntary. This can be expressed in the following way: -1 + 1 = 0.

1 = a healthy amount of attraction, or love.  A -1 indicates the person who does not have any attraction for the other person in the relationship—they may like them for all sorts of reasons, but they would prefer not to have sex with them.

Many long-lasting couples have a relationship whose attraction formula equals 0.

These relationships last, and they can be quite happy, because both are willing to accept 0 as the result. These couples are good, honorable people, and they make a kind of secret concession, realizing that everyone can’t be forever attracted to a person as they were when they first fell in love.

It helps if family and friends think the number is a 2.

But 0 is far more common, even though it is kept secret.

The total can never be more than 2, since two are physically and psychically incapable of love totaling more than 2.

But there is an interconnected dynamic which rules attraction, and this is why -1 + 1 = 0 couples are so common.

There is a strong tendency for attraction to be unequal, and the inequality itself creates a self-feeding dynamic in couples—the one who feels more attraction than the other begins to experience doubt, and the gap widens as mutual awareness of the gap, and subtle reaction to it, widens it.

Once 1 + 1 turns into 1.5 + .5 (remember the total cannot be more than 2) the inequality tends to widen even further, as the one who feels less (.5) attraction begins to feel uncomfortable by the 1.5 of their desperately attracted and jealous partner.

Even though 1.5 + .5 equals 2, a much larger total attraction factor than the 0 of many stable couples, the 1.5 attraction felt by one half spells trouble, since it is more than the “allowable” 1, half of the maximum of 2 when both are attracted to each other equally.

And further, the momentum of 1.5 + .5 will probably head into 2 + 0 and even 2 + -2 territory. The 2 is compensating for the -2 to an extreme degree, and such a relationship cannot survive this kind of unequal momentum. Momentum is more important than raw numbers.

The number 0 is stable, as long as 1 and -1 remain steady opposites.

The unlucky lover always complains—when I’m indifferent, they want me, but when I want them, they are indifferent. This is a natural law. It sometimes corresponds to gender differences, but not necessarily. The law is common and powerful and can be seen in -1 + 1: if one is attracted, the other is not, and visa versa. Why this law?  Who knows? It certainly keeps things interesting.

But why aren’t there a lot of couples who are .1 + .1 or some such combination? Because of the unequal momentum factor—it is rare for 1 + 1 to diminish step by step in equal amounts.

This is why the greatly unequal 1 + -1 is so common. It is due to the natural unequal law. The -1 is proud that their partner is sexually attracted to them, even though they cannot reciprocate.

A 0 + 0 is rare, since there’s no attractive dynamic to keep either interested, or flattered.  Why should 0 + 0 be a couple at all?

1 + -1 is more common also, because a 0 is a saint, a rare individual so enlightened that they escape the attraction/repulsion dynamic entirely. The 1 + -1 couple manage to combine as a 0, finding enlightenment through and with each other.







  1. June 20, 2018 at 12:35 am

    The total of love 💘
    can be greater than
    the sum of it’s parts.

  2. noochinator said,

    June 20, 2018 at 9:28 am

    …And like one and one don’t make two
    One and one make one
    And I’m looking for that free ride to me
    I’m looking for you…

    • thomasbrady said,

      June 20, 2018 at 3:50 pm

      The Who gets it wrong. I wonder why.

  3. Mr. Woo said,

    June 20, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    This essay is sad and true.

    “If equal affection cannot be,
    Let the more loving one be me.”

    • noochinator said,

      June 21, 2018 at 7:57 am

      Thanks so much for the reference!

      The More Loving One

      W. H. Auden, 1907 – 1973

      Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
      That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
      But on earth indifference is the least
      We have to dread from man or beast.

      How should we like it were stars to burn
      With a passion for us we could not return?
      If equal affection cannot be,
      Let the more loving one be me.

      Admirer as I think I am
      Of stars that do not give a damn,
      I cannot, now I see them, say
      I missed one terribly all day.

      Were all stars to disappear or die,
      I should learn to look at an empty sky
      And feel its total dark sublime,
      Though this might take me a little time.

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