Dating Matrix

So, I was in Bangalore for a couple of months on a project. I was at a bar on a Saturday night and doing my ‘research’ on modern-day dating in the new city. It was around 10 in the night, and a girl came and sat by the bar counter, a couple of stools away from me.

I approached her by complimenting her shoes. Subtle compliments are a good way to test the waters, and also women like sharp observation skills and precise compliments instead of generic compliments like “You’re so beautiful”. Avoid such blanket statements when complimenting women, because they will see right through it and odds are, you’ll come away looking insincere. Another thing to avoid is the infamous “Can I buy you a drink?” line. You’re not being chivalrous by offering her a drink, you’re opening yourself up to be that guy, the one depleting his bank account in the effort to buy attention. In fact, they may actually get turned off from you because you look desperate. If you compliment her, be quiet – let her respond. If you ask her a question, be quiet – let her answer. Start off the conversation lightly, casually, and relevant to the situation you’re both in. If she responds, great – move ahead with the conversation and if she balks or ignores you, move on.

We hit it off, and ironically she bought drinks for us. One thing led to another and ended up in my room at the end of the night. It was around 3 in the night, I had dimmed the lightning and we were sitting on my bed with our drinks. Suddenly, she asked me whether I even knew her name. I tried to dodge the question, but she figured out that I didn’t know her name. She dared me to tell her name and she would come on top of me at that very moment. And I laughed it off by saying, “what’s in the name?”. She didn’t look convinced though.

Anyway, coming to the MBA concept of a ‘2X2 matrix‘. It is primarily used by consulting firms, most commonly BCG to evaluate the tradeoffs of two mutually exclusive benefits in any situation. I will elaborate on it in the context of dating and relationships. In the case of intimacy, two of the four chemicals of happiness (DOSE), dopamine and oxytocin, are involved. They are the drivers of feelings and happiness associated with romantic intimacy.

Dopamine is the chemical associated with ‘butterflies in the stomach’. It is the one associated with new experiences, unpredictability, and feelings of achievement. The feeling of a ‘high’ is also because of a dopamine rush. Gambling, drinking, promiscuity, porn, gaming, social media, dating apps are all associated with dopamine.

Oxytocin, on the other hand, is released when we become emotionally close to someone else. When we start caring for their well-being and treat their happiness and pains as our own. The mother’s love for her child is purely oxytocin. One’s love for siblings, friends, pets are all associated with oxytocin.

Research suggests that since women are the child-bearing gender, so probably that is one of the reasons that they are biologically programmed to be high on oxytocin, and also the way the society conditions them, their intrinsic qualities are honed in a lot of aspects including emotional maturity. Men, on the other hand, are generally seen to have a higher affinity towards dopamine, which might have to do with the evolution cycle where men were supposed to be hunters and gatherers, the activities linked with an increase in dopamine.

In the case of physical intimacy, one gets a dopamine rush in the proportion of unpredictability. But once you continue sleeping with the same person, the dopamine level generally goes down because of higher predictability. Oxytocin starts to kick in as you develop closeness with the person and increases over time with positive interactions. Oxytocin increases drastically and compensates for the drop in dopamine and more. Though, a big risk is that oxytocin is quite person-dependent and thus vulnerability and sunk cost fallacy occurs. A big reason why toxic relationships drain you completely.

In case both chemicals are high, then it is the perfect situation.

In case the oxytocin is high, but the dopamine is low, which at times happens in the latter part of longer duration relationships. Invest in them as they have a high lifetime value (LTV) and spice up the relationship by more unpredictability and new experiences together. Surprising your romantic partner when they least expect it.

In case both the chemicals are low, then you need to act immediately and either get out of it or work on it proactively alongside your partner. You need to ensure that you don’t get caught in the trap of the sunk cost fallacy.

Finally, if dopamine is high and the oxytocin is low, as is the case in many fleeting romances, then either build on it emotionally or just enjoy the moment and let it run its natural course. It is quite high on net present value (NPV), in case the physical intimacy component of the triangular model is synchronous.

For the majority of my dating life, I have mostly been permutation, probably because of my high affinity towards dopamine. But make sure that you and your partner are on the same page with regard to being in this quadrant, as with increased interactions, the oxytocin percentage shoots up, and you become dependent on that person. The separation won’t be pleasant in such a scenario.

That brings me to the ‘What’s in the name’ girl. The rest of the night was definitely quite high on dopamine, but I was leaving in a couple of days, so we never saw each other again. The lesser you know, higher the dopamine, I still don’t know her name. Ironically, she is not the first one. (Lead Time).



8 thoughts on “Dating Matrix”

  1. Pingback: Landing Page – MBAInDating

  2. Pingback: Relationship Matrix – MBAInDating

  3. Pingback: Hyperbolic Discounting – MBAInDating

  4. Pingback: Gig Economy – MBAInDating

  5. Pingback: Lead Time – MBAInDating

  6. Pingback: Marketing Funnel - MBAInDating

  7. Pingback: Experience Economy - MBAInDating

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *