How to stop dating the wrong men

09 Dec

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.

The math problem is known by a lot of names – “the secretary problem,” “the fussy suitor problem,” “the sultan’s dowry problem” and “the optimal stopping problem.” Its answer is attributed to a handful of mathematicians but was popularized in 1960, when math enthusiast Martin Gardner wrote about it in .

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.

You'd also have to decide who qualifies as a potential suitor, and who is just a fling.

The answers to these questions aren't clear, so you just have to estimate.

But he’s still kind of a dud, and doesn't measure up to the great people you could have met in the future.

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.

The logic is easier to see if you walk through smaller examples.

Let's say you would only have one suitor in your entire life.