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.But if you use the method above, the probability of picking the best of the bunch increases significantly, to 37 percent — not a sure bet, but much better than random.This method doesn’t have a 100 percent success rate, as mathematician Hannah Fry discusses in an entertaining 2014 TED talk.
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.
And as you continue to date other people, no one will ever measure up to your first love, and you’ll end up rejecting everyone, and end up alone with your cats.
(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.
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).
There’s the risk, for example, that the first person you date really is your perfect partner, as in the illustration below.