Gottman and his team deliberately built in this asymmetry after observing it in couples in their study.at which the husband’s negative effect becomes so great that it renders the wife unwilling to diffuse the situation with positivity and she instead responds with more negativity. But the most revelatory part is what this suggests about the myth of compromise.Most of us don’t need a scientist to tell us that “happily ever after” is not a destination or a final outcome but a journey and an active process in any healthy relationship.Fry, however, offers some enormously heartening and assuring empirical findings, based on a fascinating collaboration between mathematicians and psychologists, confirming this life-tested and often hard-earned intuitive understanding.From the odds of finding your soul mate to how game theory reveals the best strategy for picking up a stranger in a bar to the equation that explains the conversation patterns of lasting relationships, Fry combines a humanist’s sensitivity to this universal longing with a scientist’s rigor to shed light, with neither sap nor cynicism, on the complex dynamics of romance and the besotting beauty of math itself.She writes in the introduction: Mathematics is ultimately the study of patterns — predicting phenomena from the weather to the growth of cities, revealing everything from the laws of the universe to the behavior of subatomic particles…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.
But it wasn’t until Gottman met mathematician James Murray and integrated his mathematical models into the system that he began to crack the code of why these toxic negativity spirals develop.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.In his sublime definition of love, playwright Tom Stoppard painted the grand achievement of our emotional lives as “knowledge of each other, not of the flesh but through the flesh, knowledge of self, the real him, the real her, , the mask slipped from the face.” But only in fairy tales and Hollywood movies does the mask slip off to reveal a perfect other.So how do we learn to discern between a love that is imperfect, as all meaningful real relationships are, and one that is insufficient, the price of which is repeated disappointment and inevitable heartbreak?