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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.There’s the risk, for example, that the first person you date really is your perfect partner, as in the illustration below.If you follow the rule, you’ll reject that person anyway.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 do, you have a 50 percent chance of selecting the best.The diagram below compares your success rate for selecting randomly among three suitors.Each suitor is in their own box and is ranked by their quality (1st is best, 3rd is worst).Here, let's assume you would have 11 serious suitors in the course of your life.If you just choose randomly, your odds of picking the best of 11 suitors is about 9 percent.