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ROMEO AND JULIET: A DYNAMICAL MODEL OF LOVE AFFAIR

Sougata Biswas
Department of Mathematics, IIT Guwahati

Abstract

The Linear Model of Love Affair Romantic Styles


Following the ideas of Steven Strogatz in Love Affairs and Differential Equations[2], a
sequence of dynamical models, examined by J. C. Sprott [1] involving coupled ordinary
differential equations which describe the time-variation of the love or hate by individuals in The simplest model of a love affair between Romeo and Juliet is Romeo can express one of four romantic styles depending on the signs of a and b, with names
a romantic love affair. The models start with a linear system of two individuals and finally suggested by Strogatz [3]:
dR
to include their out of touch with ones own feelings, fire and ice. = aR + bJ Eager beaver: a > 0, b > 0 (Romeo is encouraged by his own fellings as well as Juliets.)
dt
dJ Narcissistic nerd: a > 0, b < 0 (Romeo wants more of what he feels but retreats from
= cR + dJ (1)
dt Juliets feelings.)
Introduction Where R(t) is Romeos love (or hate if negative) for Juliet at time t and J(t) is Juliets love Cautious (or secure) lover: a < 0, b > 0 (Romeo retreats from his own feelings but is
for Romeo, a and b quantify Romeos romantic style, and c and d specify Juliets style. encouraged by Juliets.)
Hermit: a < 0, b < 0 (Romeo retreats from his own feelings as well as Juliets.)
The most beautiful application of ordinary differential equation in real life is dynamics of The terms secure and synergicrefer to individuals with a < 0 and b > 0 respectively,
romance. In his book, Strogatz [3] has a short section on love affairs. Recently, several and such people probably represent the majority of the population. A secure individual
dynamical models of the verbal interaction of married couples have been proposed by Gottman (a < 0) suppresses his feelings of love or hate in a time 1/a when the other ceases to have
et al. [4]. An obvious difficulty in any model of love is defining what is meant by love and feelings toward him, such as at death. A non-synergic individual (b < 0) or nerd is one
quantifying it in some meaningful way. There are several types of love, including intimacy, who hates to be loved and loves to be hated. As Juliet can also express four styles, there
passion, and commitment, and each type consists of a complex mixture of feelings. In addition are 16 possible pairs, each with its own dynamics, although half of those correspond to an
to love for another person, there is love of oneself, love of life, love of humanity and so forth. interchange of R and J.
Furthermore, the opposite of love may not be hate as the two feelings can coexist, and one Love Affair between Romeo and Juliet
can love somethings about ones partner and hate others at the same time. It is unrealistic The parameter a describes the extent to which Romeo is encouraged by his own feelings, and
to assume that ones love is only influenced by ones own feelings and the feelings of the b is the extent to which he is encouraged by Juliets feelings. Gottman et al. use the term
other person, independent of other influences and that the parameters that characterize the behavioral intertia for the former and influence function for the latter, although the
interaction are unchanging , thereby excluding the possibility of learning and adaptation. inertia is maximum when a = 0. The resulting dynamics are two-dimensional, governed by
the initial conditions and the four parameters, which may be positive or negative.

Dynamics of Love Affair Out of Touch With Ones Own Feelings, Fire and Ice References

Equations (1) have critical point at R = J = 0, corresponding to mutual apathy, or a loving Consider the special case with both Romeo and Juliet out of touch with their own feelings
plateau with behavior determined by the eigenvalues (a = d = 0) and only responding to the other. The eigenvalues are = bc, and then the References
dynamics depend on b and c, for which there are three pairs with the outcomes indicated:
a+d 1
q
= (a + d)2 4(ad bc) (2) Two lovers: b > 0, c > 0 (Saddle, mutual love or mutual hate.) [1] J. C. Sprott, Dynamical Models of Love, Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life
2 2 Sciences, Vol. 8, No. 3, July, 2004.
Two nerds: b < 0, c < 0 (Saddle, one loving and the other hating.)
The solutions are real if (a + d)2 4(ad bc) or a complex conjugate pair otherwise. Nerd plus lover: bc < 0 (Center, endless cycle of love and hate.) [2] S. H. Strogatz, Love Affairs and Differential Equations, Mathematics Magazine,
The complex conjugate solution describes a focus that is stable (attracting) for a + d < 0, 61, 1988 (35).
unstable (repelling) if a + d > 0 and the solution cycles endlessly around a center at the where the two lovers are exact opposites (c = b, d = a). The eigen
Now consider the case
[3] S. H. Strogatz, Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos: With Applications to Physics,
origin if a + d = 0. The real solutions are of two types, a node if the eigenvalues are of the values are = a2 b2, and the dynamics depend on a and b, for which there are two
pairs Biology, Chemistry, and Engineering, Perseus Books, Cambridge MA, 1994 (138).
same sign and a saddle otherwise. The node may either be stable ( an attractor) if both the
Eager beaver plus hermit: ab > 0. [4] J. M. Gottman, J. D. Murray, C. C. Swanson, R. Tyson and K. R. Swanson, The
eigenvalues are negative or unstable ( a repellor) if both are positive. The saddle has a stable
Mathematics of Marrige, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002.
direction along which trajectories approach the origin and an unstable direction along which Narcissistic nerd plus cautious: ab < 0.
they are repelled. The dynamics in the RJ plane are summarized in the following figure.
The outcome depends on whether the individuals respond more to themselves (|a| > |b|) or
to the other (|a| < |b|). The former case leads to a saddle in which the eager beaver and
hermit are at odds and the narcissistic nerd and cautious lover are in love or at war, and
the later leads to a center. Thus they can end up in any quadrant (all four pairs of love and
hate) or in a never-ending cycle but never apathetic. Other possible cases can be found in
J.C. Sprott [1].

Focus Node Saddle