The  Drake Equation is often used to estimate extraterrestrial civilizations in our galaxy. It was proposed by Frank Drake in 1961. I decided to make a ‘Drake Equation’  for relationships, DER for short. Is it possible to predict the number of possible partners as it is to predict the number of intelligent civilizations. Let’s find out – Here is my modified  Drake Equation for Relationships:


In this equation:

N = the number of men/women on our planet with which a relationship might be possible.

R* = the average rate of men/women formation on Earth (~20/1000 = .02 per year). This is human population growth and well known.

fp  = fraction of total people on earth you might meet (0.001). Seems a reasonable value as most people do not travel far from home. It is about the fraction of the US population to the world total.

ne = total number of potential partners ~ 3.4 billion, half and half for men and women – given a total world population of 6.8 billion.

fc = fraction of above you are compatible with (0.25)

fl = Fraction of above you fall in love/are in love with (0.5)

L = length of time men/women seek a mate (~50 years) ….

My modified Drake Equation for Relationships (DER) says there are ~ 437,000 men/women just right for you and I. Let’s call it a half a million people.  So, are these good odds? Probably not.

Considerable disagreement on the values of parameters in such a hypothesis is open to dialog. The Drake equation for extraterrestrial intelligent life says there might be 10 civilizations in our galaxy capable of life in human sophistication, and that is not many considering the size. Of course, my equations don’t include the intelligence factor explicitly, but presumably it is built in somewhere, otherwise the prospects are dismal indeed, like intelligent civilizations in our galaxy.

Is this a DElation? I hope not in Relationships. The variables are adjustable, so there is always hope – As the world turns – Like sands through the hour glass, so are the days of our lives. Maybe in the final analysis, there is no equation for love and it is like the Butterfly Effect – the initial conditions determine the outcome and depend a bit on random chaos theory along the way. Who knows,  I thought I’d at least take a stab at it and see what was reasonable, perhaps just to have a bit of fun, maybe plant a thought along the Braniac Highway.

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