Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Some JV puzzles solved – by Pat Love, marriage therapist

I was particularly fixated by this interview with Pat Love, marriage therapist. Much as it would clear up the doubts of many a young men and women on the choice of their dates, it answered a lot of my queries why a great company often walked into a JV relationship with a mediocre or downright bad company. I just switched the `boy’ and `girl’ metaphor in this interview for corporate partners in a JV.

Some excerpts :

Q: Why are bad boys so irresistible?

Pat Love: Bad boys are handsome and elusive, and that triggers attraction. But it's largely a societal issue. We are programmed by our culture to think that chemistry is love. We are constantly stimulated-by work, television, shopping-and we tend to move on if we're not excited. Also, some women's brains are wired to interpret anger and petulance as love because of their early negative experiences with men.

Q : What about bad girls ? Do you think that’s as much a phenomenon ?

Pat Love: Oh yes, there are bad girls. They're usually very attractive women who feel entitled. They're used to getting everything, and they know how to work a crowd.

Q : Why is it dangerous to be with a bad boy?

Pat Love: Well, they're unreliable. They don't feel an obligation to have a relationship. It's important to understand that when a woman has sex, she releases oxytocin and bonds with her partner. Oxytocin is called the "snuggle chemical." It triggers orgasm, but it's also released when a mother breast-feeds. It makes you feel close and connected and vulnerable. The effects of oxytocin are offset by testosterone, so a high-testosterone person doesn't bond from having sex. And there you have it: Bad boys don't get attached! They say all these wonderful things, and you get this chemical rush that lowers your defenses. But he could be gone the next day. He could lose interest.

Q : Do bad boys ever change, or is that just what we want to believe?

Pat Love: Most don't change. When they get old, then they're with somebody who has clout because of youth and beauty. Look at Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. She has youth and beauty; he has power and status.

Q : What about bad boys who give inconsistent signals? Bad boys who snuggle?

Pat Love: If you want a rat to push a bar forever, don't give him a pellet every time he pushes-then he'll only push when he's hungry. If you take away the pellet, he won't push the bar at all. But if every now and then you give a rat a pellet, he will push the bar forever. It's called intermittent reinforcement. That's the way to get a woman forever; throw her a little tidbit every now and then.

Now I know whom to consult before finalizing a JV partner. Seriously, this is much better than many a Big Four feasibility report.

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