Contributed by Cindy Lu and Fiona Fine

Romantic Science? If you are thinking that those two words go together about as well as oil and water, you are about to be proven very, very wrong.

Author, actress and relationship expert Cindy Lu thought so as well, until she decided that listening only to her heart was getting her absolutely nowhere in her love life. When she decided to turn things upside down and combine her heart and her head, that’s when she developed The Four Man Plan and found love. So, get out your pencils and your graph paper, because you are about to learn the science of romance.

The Four Man Plan flies in the face of conventional dating wisdom and thumbs its nose at society’s expectations about how ‘good girls’ should conduct their love lives, which is why we at Women Who Run It! and our sister company  HowToPutTheFunBackIntoDating.com love the idea so much and use it ourselves.

Cindy started with the idea that she would divide up her expectations and try to fulfill her love life without it all having to come from one man. Why? Because, as she explains, “I was expanding into a world of men that was just delicious and different and things that I’ve never experienced before.  So, I went from just always trying this ‘one food, my favorite food, every food was going to be my last meal’, to realizing that the world was an absolute buffet and variety was the spice of it.”

Sounds kind of yummy? Then sharpen those pencils and let’s get started.

Science 101: The Mantris Graph

Make yourself a graph with four squares. Now divide each of those into four again. This is going to represent your love life. Here’s how it works:

  • The ¼ Man. These guys obviously takes up only one of the tiny ¼ squares. These are the guys you are chatting with online, who you meet on dating sites and may not have even met yet.

  • The ½ Man. This is the guys who you have met at least once and you have been clear with him that you are seeing other men.

  • The Whole Man. This is the guy that you are starting to develop feelings for. Maybe there has been some kissing and holding hands, but you haven’t slept with him yet.

  • The 2 1/4 Man. Nobody expects you to live like a nun, but if there is sex, then that guy definitely needs to take up more space on your chart. By ranking him at 2 ¼, it means that by the numbers, you don’t have room for another guy like him in your love life!

[Editor’s Note: To get a great visual – buy the book “The Four Man Plan” by Cindy Lu in our Check It Out section!]


Now that your graph is starting to fill up, its important to remember that many guys actually enjoy a little healthy competition for a woman’s affections. Remember that you need to be very up front with the men you are dating and they should know you are “not dating exclusively” as Fiona puts it. Many men like a little time and space, they like to meet a little resistance, before they decide how they feel about you. Don’t forget, throughout history, men until very recently, had to make a bid for a woman and possibly compete for a woman’s hand. The fear of loss for them is greater than the hope for gain, so if a man knows he could lose you to another man, that is a much greater motivator to step up and win your affections.


No matter how much a woman may insist that she wants a casual relationship, men can always tell if they are mentally being fitted for their wedding tux. What The Four Man Plan does is allows us as women to diversify and to not pin all our hopes on one man. We can enjoy the dating process, learn a lot about ourselves and be more prepared for when we are ready to enter a more serious relationship. In addition, a woman who is not looking for every man to be ‘Mr. Right’ is more appealing to a man and he can get to know YOU, and contemplate you as a person and as a match, rather than being scared off by too much too soon.


Now that you’re on the plan, you may be wondering how on earth you find time for all those men. Cindy and Fiona maintain that it’s nowhere as difficult as it seems. One whole weekend day, or maybe half a weekend day should be set aside for your favourite. The others should be limited to a coffee or lunch date during the week, and then perhaps phone calls, emails or texts. That should mean you could see everybody within a two week duration, which is a completely reasonable timeframe.

The lesson in this part of the exercise is that if you can’t make time for half a weekend day and a coffee, lunch or dinner date during the week, plus a few phone calls, then you have simply not carved out enough space in your life for a relationship.


Forget your long list of demands and expectations. If he misspells something in his email or wears corduroy, that can no longer be a deal-breaker and this kind of pickiness can shut you off from a world of possibilities. A man must be honest, loving, and willing.

  • Honesty: He gives you data that you can work with. He tells you about himself and is open.
  • Loving: He is willing to show affection and be loving with you.
  • Willing: He is willing to be more for you; to try your yoga class even though he’s never done it before.



Men find women mysterious and it is important for them to know that they are pleasing us. Because they know they are competing with other men for your affections, it is important to let them know what they are doing right and that they are still ‘in the game.’ You may still not have made a decision about who is your favourite and you may never make that decision, but it is important for each man to know that they are pleasing you.


If you care to compare yourself to a Disney Princess, make sure its Snow White and not Cinderella. Snow White had the seven dwarves madly in love with her; they would do anything for her and in the end, she chose the Prince (with no hard feelings). Cinderella, on the other hand, had to fight her step-sisters for the Prince and it resulted in some pretty unattractive behaviour – all for the sake of one man. The lesson to be learned? Many men ‘adoring’ one woman seems to make everybody happier than many women ‘adoring’ one man.

Ready to give it a try?

As Cindy (and Fiona agrees): “I would just want to give all women, whether they follow The Four Man Plan or not, permission to have fun dating and not make it a serious process because it is a wonderful experience and part of our lives.”


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Fiona Fine

Fiona Fine is an Author, Speaker and the Editor-In-Chief of “Women Who Run It: Your Life – Your Love – Your Terms”, an in-box magazine that advocates for and empowers strong successful women around the world; women who are used to running the show at a high level and know how tough and often isolated it can be as a top professional juggling career, relationships, family, health & fitness, and community, while still finding personal time. After a long, unfulfilling and unsatisfying relationship and years in the traditional male world of engineering, IT and corporate recruiting, she decided to put the pleasure back into her existence and to start living life more on her own terms. Now she advocates for women (like her) who wonder how to keep it all from unravelling but still have a harmonized life of love, work, passion and …fun! She is the founder of Goddess Connections (Where Women Create Their Footprint in the World). She is also growing a movement: “How To Put The Fun Back Into Dating” to help women who are at the end of their dating rope to reignite the excitement and fun and create amazing love lives. You can find her at www.goddessconnections.com, www.fionafine. com or on www.facebook.com/fionafine