If you could only see them all together at the same time, you’d have no problem picking out the best. And as with most casino games, there’s a strong element of chance, but you can also understand and improve your probability of "winning" the best partner.
But this isn't how a lifetime of dating works, obviously. The other problem is that once you reject a suitor, you often can’t go back to them later. It turns out there is a pretty striking solution to increase your odds. To have the highest chance of picking the very best suitor, you should date and reject the first 37 percent of your total group of lifetime suitors.
Committing to a partner is scary for all kinds of reasons.
But one is that you never really know how the object of your current affections would compare to all the other people you might meet in the future.
You want to date enough people to get a sense of your options, but you don't want to leave the choice too long and risk missing your ideal match.
(Of course, some people may find cats preferable to boyfriends or girlfriends anyway.) Another, probably more realistic, option is that you start your life with a string of really terrible boyfriends or girlfriends that give you super low expectations about the potential suitors out there, as in the illustration below.One problem is the suitors arrive in a random order, and you don’t know how your current suitor compares to those who will arrive in the future. (If you're into math, it’s actually 1/e, which comes out to 0.368, or 36.8 percent.) Then you follow a simple rule: You pick the next person who is better than anyone you’ve ever dated before.To apply this to real life, you’d have to know how many suitors you could potentially have or want to have — which is impossible to know for sure.In the scenario, you’re choosing from a set number of options.For example, let’s say there is a total of 11 potential mates who you could seriously date and settle down with in your lifetime.
But it turns out that there is a pretty simple mathematical rule that tells you how long you ought to search, and when you should stop searching and settle down.