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New 'love formula' reveals lover number five could be The One

15/09/2014 Rachel Burge

He’s sexy, smart and funny and you even get on with his in-laws - so could he be ‘the one’? That might depend on whether he’s number five or not.

We surveyed 2,000 men and women to discover what the key ingredients are for a successful, long-lasting relationship and found it all comes down to numbers.

While qualities such as sense of humour are important, so too are the number of previous lovers each partner has had. You guessed it, the magic number is five.

Exactly a quarter (25%) of both men and women believe their partner should have had four sexual partners before them – though one in five men (21%) are holding on to tradition, believing they should be their ideal woman’s FIRST partner.

(Yes, really, and in this day and age too.)

So, what makes number five so special?

MSN’s relationship expert and psychologist, Corinne Sweet, says: “Most people enter a serious relationship in the hope that it will last forever. However, only by the time we reach our fifth sexual partner are we confident with what we want.

“The MSN Spring love formula can help determine the traits we should be looking for. It can even indicate how long a relationship might last, based on compatibility and mutual goals. Forewarned is forearmed, even in love.”

What men and women want in a relationship

Our survey confirmed what we’ve always known: what women want is a man who can make us laugh. And it’s not just women who like a giggle. ‘Good sense of humour’ topped the list of qualities men find most desirable in a woman too.

While men and women agree that laughter is the key to love, the sexes didn’t agree on everything.

Staying true to stereotype, women rate intelligence highly in partner, while men are more likely to go for good looks. Men are also twice as likely as women (26% v 13%) to believe that good sex is important for a happy, enduring relationship.

“As the love formula demonstrates, the importance each partner attaches to different aspects of the relationship can have a major impact on how long they stay together,” explains Corinne.

“Men might attach more importance to a good sex life than women in this survey, but a mis-matched libido can easily occur the other way around. What’s important is that you stay open and talk about your feelings.

“What was right for you as a couple when you first got together may not be five or 10 years down the line, after children come along for example.

“Having great sex three times a week isn’t what keeps couples together, though for many that would be nice! The couples that go the distance are those who learn how to communicate, compromise, and stay open and loving towards one another.”

So, what’s the best formula for love?

While the survey results were interesting, we decided to go one step further and devise a formula to help you predict how long your current relationship will last.

Warning: you might need a calculator and/or a mathematics degree for this part!

For heterosexual couples the formula is:

L = 8 + .5Y - .2P + .9Hm + .3Mf + J - .3G - .5(Sm - Sf)2  + I + 1.5C
L: the predicted length in years of the relationship
Y: the number of years the two people knew each other before the relationship became serious
P: the number of previous partners of both people added together
Hm: the importance the male partner attaches to honesty in the relationship
Mf : the importance the female attaches to money in the relationship
J: the importance both attach to humour (added together)
G: the importance both attach to good looks (added together)
Sm and Sf: the importance male and female attach to sex
I: the importance attached to having good in-laws
C: the importance attached to children in the relationship

Still with us? In case you’re scratching your head, all 'importance' measures can be scaled from 1 to 5 where 1 is not important at all and 5 is very important.

Note: our research findings for same-sex couples differed slightly from heterosexual couples, so we had to adjust the formula slightly:

L = 8 + .5Y - .2P + 2J - .3G - .5(S1 - S2)2 - I + 1.5C
(where S1 and S2 are the two partner’s ratings for the importance of sex)

And there we have it! Easy wasn’t it?

In case you’re still left wondering, here’s a simple rule to follow: if you’re dating lover number five and he makes you laugh, hold on to him. By our reckoning, he’s a keeper.



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