The Four Quadrants of Love


My faithful reader… I usually find myself on such a purely business track in this blog, so accept this entry as an exercise in establishing key metrics,  criteria, and living authentically – all critical to success in entrepreneurship and life.
Four Quadrants of Love

Author and philosopher Malcolm Gladwell considers someone an expert in a subject matter if they have amassed “10,000” hours into the practice.  By that definition, I am an expert at dating.  At 39, I’ve dated a lot since my teens.  I’ve been blessed with joyful and meaningful relationships; I’ve had my share of flings and excursions.  All of it I don’t regret at all.  I’ve learned about myself, what I want/need, and I fully intend on engaging in a beautiful, passionate, life long lasting relationship that will be the greatest source of happiness and fulfill one of my key life purposes – to have a family.  Along the path of becoming an expert, I have found that there are 4 fundamental quadrants… each critical and required for a passionate love that endures. My analysis is not solely based on my own experience; but also that of hundreds of friends.  I focus on those that are very happily married – which sadly represents about 5% of the people I know.  It’s not to say the 95% are not happy per se – but I get the feeling that they realized some very relevant needs after making their commitment and the growth of the relationship did not coincide.  Thus, they make it work, but they would not say they are very happy or would do everything the same.

We Remember the Good

The reality is that our brains remember the best parts of friendships and relationships.  We focus in on what was great.  This causes us to miss people.  Most of the time when we reconnect, we realize the real issues – the reasons we broke up in the first, second, or in the case of some of my ex’s the (10th) time.  Alas, the human condition, at least my human condition is to focus on the positives.  And there were tons of positives.

The truth is that I tell great stories.  Show me a couple of photos and I’ll extract quite the story to tell to explain my feelings, to stay sad, or to feel justified.  Bottom line is that while there were some moments of excellence between us and I’ll never forget the good times, she wasn’t the one for me.  I am speaking in vague generalities here because I still have not found the love of my life.  I’ve been close, I’ve achieved 1, 2, even 3 of the 4 quadrants – but not all 4.

I cannot imagine a more important venture than that of finding true love.  While some may scoff and say “it doesn’t exist” or “marriage and children change everything”, I am a hopeful romantic and will continue in my brilliant design; iteratively and indefatigably.  I continue the search and the work.  And, I think all single people should look at dating and finding the love of our life as important work.  After all, there is already a 55% divorce rate and changing this catastrophic statistic starts with better analysis of knowing yourself, knowing who you are dating, what you need, and making the right choice.

I have extracted this formula and I have refined it through an additional 400 hours or so of discussion with relationship and dating experts.  I present the formula for true love to you now Oh, and this applies to friendships too.  The common factor is that these 4 quadrants will lead to a life long successful relationship whether it is love, friendship, or even business (to a degree).

The True Love Formula by Jacques Habra

Chemistry (10%) + Dimension (30%) + Harmony (40%) + Timing (20%) = Love

There are 4 quadrants and they go in a certain order.  They are indispensable, irreplaceable, and 100% required.  If you lack even a part of 1, then you may have a successful relationship, but it will not be true – it will always leave something to be desired.  I fully appreciate that a successful relationship requires work and communication as both people evolve.  But, these 4 quadrants are required, the rest is logistics.

Chemistry – Quadrant 1

This was best described to me by a guy I was once close to… “When I saw her in the room, I had to sit down.”  It was an almost physical reaction he later told me.  Notice, I didn’t say a word about looks.  Chemistry is a vibration you feel instantly or shortly thereafter, but if it doesn’t strike within a few hours of spending time with the other person, it will never exist.  You can manufacture a sort of chemistry, but when you feel the true chemistry with another, you’ll know and feel the vacuum of manufacturing.  In truth Chemistry is the most mystical and difficult to quantify of the 4 quadrants.  It’s more than a feeling.  It’s a sexual urge.  It’s a physical reaction.  It’s more than an attraction.  You feel like smiling when they’re close.  You feel a sense of happiness; almost unexplainable.  I’m not suggesting that Chemistry with the person eliminates negativity.  I’m suggesting that Chemistry creates positivity – almost instantly, physiologically.  Whether this person is disfigured or handicapped will not make a difference if the Chemistry is true because the root of Chemistry is chemical and that goes beyond the sense of touch and sight.  I have experienced Chemistry with another many, many times.  When I close my eyes and visualize the moments of immediate Chemistry – I can safely say that they always lasted even when I realized the other quadrants were missing.

Dimension – Quadrant 2

I actually learned this one and the next from that an ex-gf who is now married (I hope happily).  But, I practiced this long before.  Dimension is where the dialogue comes into play.  Dimension causes you to talk about the present or exist in the present.  Dimension is mentally invigorating, psychologically stimulating and leaves an impact long after the exchange.  Dimension is the place where humor and laughter come into play.  When you have Dimension with another, you seamlessly flow.  There’s a bit of telepathy at play.  Dimension leaves you thinking of conversations and statements long afterwards; often when the other person isn’t even around.  Dimension usually results in both people taking turns taking the lead – there is a shared drive in the relationship.  Dimension makes you want to share the world, to explore, to travel, to encounter.  Dimension is colorful and vivid and keeps things very interesting.  This comes in the form of art, philosophy, and business.  You just effortlessly find things to talk about and make plans – often exercising those plans out.   Again, even if life hands you problems and throws you for a loop, if you have dimension, you will cruise through with a sense of confidence and rarely feel ennui.

Dreams are rooted in dimension for that person will inspire and expand you and you them.

Harmony – Quadrant 3

“She told me we lacked Harmony.  She was right.”  At the core of harmony is trust.  Harmony is spending the entire day together and barely speaking – in contrast with dimension.  Harmony is shared values.  Harmony is a feeling of comfort and its’ rooted in “knowing” the other person at a truly spiritual level.  Religion is another way of thinking of Harmony.  It’s a shared belief system that need not be spoken.  It’s either there or not.  Like Dimension, you can develop Harmony over time.  But, at some point, it is a gut check.  To trust someone implicitly requires Harmony and can you imagine the true love relationship without such profound trust?  Harmony makes you miss someone at the ‘heart’ level not because they’re gonna make you laugh or make you think; but because their mere presence is gonna make you feel good and secure.  Harmony takes time in fact because both people have to be vulnerable and real and often times show their greatest weaknesses and failures in order to achieve the harmonious exchange.  You cannot take Harmony away from two people who have achieved it.  People in Harmony may argue and fight and disagree, but they will do so on the wings of Harmony; protected by a nod or a glance that is inescapable and true.  This is where you begin to think about Children because it is in this framework that you want to reproduce – it is this joy you want to share and replicate.  While the Chemistry will give you the physical motivation and Dimension the engagement and excitement, the Harmony echoes peace.  This is where you put all your cards on the table, when you are all in.  It is rare – even among friends.
Combinations that almost work

Now before I extoll the 4th and most important quadrant of them all, I want to talk about combinations of the first 3.  I would hazard to say, my faithful reader, that have you for sure experienced Chemistry with another.  As you get older and more mature, that Chemistry is not enough to go more than one night; and even one-night can quickly become “not worth it.”  An exciting and positively vibrant combination is Chemistry+Dimension.  Wow.  I have had this several times and it’s honestly so intensely good while it lasts.  But without Harmony, it is just a matter of time before you should let go.  Those that do not and move forward in a marriage rooted in just Chemistry+Dimension will be forever sleep with one eye slightly open.  You will miss the deep soothing sleep, the connectedness.  Without the trust and comfort of Harmony, you’ll find it elsewhere – this may lead to extramarital relations or less time spent with your spouse which are both undesirable circumstances.

Some of us are fortunate enough to have enjoyed relationships of Chemistry+Harmony.  These are rooted in companionship and love.  You feel you’re with your best friend; so why is something missing?  Without the mental stimulation of Dimension, existence gets boring and maybe even resentful.

The Chemistry+Harmony combination make up millions of marriages each year and many stick together finding Dimension in other places through friends, work, or personal journeys.  But there is always regret and always a sense of “what could have been” had you held out for that complete connection.

Perhaps the saddest combination is that of Dimension+Harmony.  You have seemingly all the pieces but lack that chemical draw.  As I stated earlier, you simply cannot manufacture Chemistry.  You can choose to live without it, but we are physical, sexual beings and our partner should bring this out effortlessly.  We can extend our sexual drive longer than ever and even if the sex is done, the Chemistry would give you that magnetism that brings you home time and again for chemistry is a fuel of intimacy.  Eventually the Chemistry turns into positive habit and takes you into your twilight years happily in love.

Indeed all 3 are important and required for true love, but even all 3 are not enough.  I have personally experienced all 3 but because I lacked the 4th, the formula did not work.

Timing – Quadrant 4

No matter who you meet, if you are not ready and they are not ready, it simply won’t matter.  Timing is the secret sauce and is the least controllable.  You can only be aware of your own evolution in life.  If you are, then you will take note of another and have a sense of their growth.  Even then, just because you both are ready, the circumstance of time and space may not meld together to fulfill quadrant 4 of timing.  Timing also includes both of you being in the right place at the right time.  While it is truly unfortunate to have all the pieces in place except timing, the worst thing is realizing you had more growing to do or your spouse had more to experience before you took that step.

This is why Timing is a critical part of the true love formula.

These are my criteria and I hope they give you some insight into your love or desired love.



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