Looking for love? All it takes is a little math.

Carlee Colvard, Assistant Editor

Paying more attention in the high school algebra class might have been useful in finding a soul mate.

Hannah Fry, lecturer in the Mathematics of Cities at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, gave her tips at Binghamton University on the mathematics of love in April 2014.

Fry said love and relationships can be studied by math to determine patterns of behavior.

“Human emotion isn’t neatly ordered, rational and easily predictable, but I also know that doesn’t mean math doesn’t have something it can offer us because love, as with most of life, is full of patterns,” Fry said.

Fry stated three tips for love and how math can be applied to help people find a partner. Her tips applied to online dating, finding a partner and avoiding divorce.

Her first tip was how to find a significant other through online dating.

Using the research conducted by OkCupid, a free online dating website, Fry used mathematics to show that when people send messages, they look for others who they think will actually respond. She said it’s better to show what makes you different instead of trying to look perfect because people are intimidated by perfection.

As her second tip, Fry explained how to find the ideal partner.

Fry said that when people look for the perfect partner when they are between the ages of 15 to 35, they should reject the first 37 percent of the people they date and settle for the next person that comes along. Using this theory, a person is more likely to pick the partner that best matches their ideal significant other.

“If you do this, it has been mathematically proven that this is the best possible way of maximizing your chances of finding the perfect partner,” Fry said.

This does come with risk, such as the perfect partner appearing within the first 37 percent of people someone dates. This theory, called the optimal stopping theory, is used by fish. During mating season, certain types of fish reject the first 37 percent that come along and decide to settle with the next fish that appears after this window.

Like the fish, humans are similar in looking for a spouse.

“We give ourselves a little bit of time to play the field and get a feel for the marketplace when we’re young,” Fry said.

When people begin dating, they usually explore their options. People may spend time dating different people until they are ready to become serious about finding a potential spouse.

Her final tip was advice on how a couple could best avoid divorce.

Fry also stated that avoiding a divorce can be mathematically explained using a formula that predicts three aspects of a relationship -- how negative or positive the individual is, a person's mood with his or her partner and how much of an effect the partners have on one another.

According to eHarmony, “Negativity is the number one contributor to an unpleasant environment that can eventually erode the whole marriage.”

For example, two people who constantly encourage one another in their career goals are more likely to succeed in a marriage than a couple who tears each other down. The couple who supports one another in pursuing their dreams have a higher percentage of developing a healthy relationship.

These are the couples that are continually trying to repair their relationships but have a positive outlook on their marriages,” Fry stated.

Fry said, “I hope that perhaps for just a couple of you, a little bit of insight into the mathematics of love can persuade you to have a little bit more love for mathematics.”