From my years of pain spent dating and trying to find The One (haha)… I came up with a system I like to call CAP – this stands for:
The CAP system grades a potential partner with a score out of 10, for each of the above factors Chemistry, Attraction and Practicality. The magic number to reach, out of an ideal maximum of 30, is at least 25. Reaching this number, or anything above, spells harmonious bliss, eternal love and satisfaction till death do us part. Or at least a good chance of being halfways contented. I think. Anyway here’s an explanation of the 3 factors, in order of, not so much importantance (as they are all equally important), but in the order they will most likely need to be assessed:
This is key. This is the first thing we need to feel about a potential partner. A raw, primal desire to do things to this person that are largely unhygeinic, and which most of would (or should) find repulsive doing to your grand mother/father. Especially if they are no longer alive.
I digress. This attraction may be purely visual, it may be a smell, the sound of a voice, it may be brought on by other factors such as the person’s status or personality, but it must be there. To most this will be obvious. But there are many who think that a great friendship is a great basis for a relationship, and while it may be a great starting point, without animal attraction it is doomed. For the avoidance of doubt we are talking about romantic, i.e. sexual relationships here, and to that end, friendship alone, no matter how good, just won’t cut it.
So, you’ve found someone you’re physically attracted to. That’s a great start. They’ll obviously need to feel, or be persuaded to feel, the same way. So now you can give your attraction a score out of 10. The lowest it could possibly be, to succeed, is 5, in which case the other two would have to be 10 each. But even if it were 10, you’d still need to make up 15 from the remaining two factors to make the minimum 25. Thus physical attraction is never enough on it’s own to make for lasting happiness.
So next up is…
What I’m talking about here, is how you get on with someone you haven’t seen, say over the phone, or blindfolded (if that’s your thing). In other words how your personalities mesh or otherwise, without being clouded by the physical attraction we talked about earlier. It’s a wavelength thing. You say potato, I say potato.
Does the reaction fizz and sparkle, does it effervesce, or is it as flat and lifeless as week-old Frizzante? Does the conversation flow, in both directions, yet it’s not awkard when it doesn’t? After all, you may both be quiet types and like to sit together reading or just not talking sometimes. Usually I find a little bit of difference helps here, differing interests and views, but not too much, so that you can fill in some of each other’s missing bits. It’s a Ying and Yang thing, man.
Again this is marked out of 10, and as you can see, you can make up for a lower score in one thing with a higher score in another… to some extent. Which brings us to good ‘ole…
Or maybe practicalities. This is just real life stuff. You may have met your “to die for” soulmate, whose eyes you cannot tear yourself away from, whose joint destiny was written in the stars… but if you live in London and they in Outer Mongolia or even the Outer Hebrides (why do places with “Outer” in them always sound so remote?), and you can’t live without your fifteen cats and they’re allergic, and if you don’t want kids and they want as many as you have cats… you get the picture.
Yes true love conquers all and all that but usually… it doesn’t. Practicalities have a habit of not going away and usually getting worse if not dealt with. So, will you be happy to sit up watching the footie all night? Or tuning into Eastenders (other TV soap operas are available) three times a week? If not, you may have to rethink whether this is a match made in hell rather than heaven.
You’ve totted up your score, and hopefully you’ve reached the magic 25. This is the figure I have arrived at, through absolutely no research, scientific insight or expert knowledge whatsoever (disclaimer!), that I think one needs to reach in order to have a fighting chance of a lasting relationship with another human being. Having said that, these numbers can go up as well as down (a bit like share prices) during the course of a relationship. For example we are all going to age (hopefully), meaning we are probably going to become less physically attractive – more wrinkly, fatter etc. So this will likely affect the attraction score, though hopefully this will be balanced by an increase in chemistry, having more shared life experiences to draw upon and getting to know the other better.
Likewise, one partner may want to take a job in another part of the country, and have to be away some nights, or perhaps childcare responsibilities mean you have less quality time together – affecting the practicality score. And of course people change, views of certain topics alter or one person gets involved in a religion, which may detract from your chemistry score. Therefore the higher the scores are to begin with, the better chance of success. Maybe.
Well, all said and done, perhaps you can’t put a number on love, but if you’re in any doubt, maybe my little system will help you figure out if the one you’re with is THE ONE (or at least 25)!