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How to Solve your Dating Dilemma with MATH


fifregister

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A girlfriend of mine sent me this "because [i am] a finance a--hole" and I LOVED IT. Hasn't worked for me (yet) but maybe it can solve your dilemma.

 

Solve for Love: The 37% Rule

The essence of mathematics is not to make simple things complicated, but to make complicated things simple. ~S. Gudder

 

The Game

You’re a prince. You can marry 1 out of 100 possible princesses, each of whom comes with her own dowry. Each princess walks into your room, one at a time. She tells you how much money she has, and then leaves. (Hasn’t this ever happened to you before?)

 

You must decide whether or not to marry each princess after you see each one, and your goal is to pick the princess with the highest dowry. You can’t change your mind about any of the princesses you’ve already rejected, and you know nothing about the distribution of dowries.

 

What should your strategy be?

 

The Solution

Mathematicians like this problem. Using the laws of probability, here’s what they’ve found: to find the princess with the highest dowry, your best bet is to wait until you’ve seen 37 of the 100, then afterwards, pick the first princess whose dowry is higher than that of anyone you’ve seen before. Sound arbitrary? See the math around the optimal stopping theory.

 

What This Means for You

This quandary actually has significant real-life implications. Instead of selecting the one princess who is most likely to have the highest dowry, imagine that you are trying to find the one person out of one hundred who is most likely to be your soul mate. Here is your strategy:

 

1.) Check out at least 37 people first, then choose the person who seems the best after that.

2.) If you want to find “the one,” but also wouldn’t mind anyone in the top 10%, check out 14 people first, then pick the next best.

3.) If you just want someone in the top 25%, wait until you’ve checked out at least 7 people.

4.) If you’re not terribly choosy, and want someone in the top 75%, just wait to check out 3 people first.

 

The Math of Love

This may all be a complicated way of saying that marrying the first person you meet is a poor idea. That said, don’t take this advice to the other extreme: once you’ve met a decent number of people, think about settling down. Having a deep relationship with one person is often a better choice than pursuing an ongoing stream of superficial relationships.

 

If you want to an excellent read about the 37% rule without having to slog through the Lambert W-function, check out this book called "Decoding Love: Why It Takes Twelve Frogs to Find a Prince, and Other Revelations from the Science of Attraction."

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This really works and it applies to any situation where you have to look at items sequentially and are not allowed to go back to a previous one.

 

For example, suppose you're driving down a country road and you need to stop for gas, but you want to find the cheapest gas station. The way you'd do it is:

1. Estimate how many gas stations you think you will pass. Say, 10

2. Take 1/3 of that number - approximately 3.

3. Pass the first three gas stations and note their prices. Remember the best price.

4. Stop at the next gas station whose price is better than that. (This is likely to be the best price available). warning: assumes you have enough fuel in your car to drive that far

 

This definitely applies to online dating as well, because generally you date one person at a time, and can't go back to someone you've already rejected (they probably won't want to see you again!) So how many people should you date before you have a reasonable idea of how "well" you can do? Estimate your time horizon, guess how many dates you will have within that time, date one-third of those people, and then marry the next person who's better than any of those.

 

I think the ratio is 1/e in the long run?

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Interesting theory, but I like the overall message of debunking the idea that it's totally normal to meet someone in your teens and settle down to love them and only them for the rest of your lives. Where we come up with that idea I have no clue and it's so damaging to so many people. Right up there with the whole "If I walk down the street in Hollywood I'll be discovered and become a famous star." Trouble is too many people want that myth and aren't willing to put in the time, patience and work to find the person that's best for them.

 

Alas if only the human heart were a mathematician.

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Interesting theory, but I like the overall message of debunking the idea that it's totally normal to meet someone in your teens and settle down to love them and only them for the rest of your lives. Where we come up with that idea I have no clue and it's so damaging to so many people. Right up there with the whole "If I walk down the street in Hollywood I'll be discovered and become a famous star." Trouble is too many people want that myth and aren't willing to put in the time, patience and work to find the person that's best for them.

 

Alas if only the human heart were a mathematician.

 

The teen age approach was fine 100 years ago when the average life expectancy was much lower. People live a lot longer now and also when older live a better quality of life. There is no need to rush into marriage at such young ages in the 21st century unless you live in a country with a low life expectancy rate.

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link removed - uh uh oh... shame on me but this is beyond my capabilities of understanding. but thank you now I am a bit smarter.

 

fifregister may I ask one personal question... does "girlfriend" mean what I think it means? I`m just curious, nothing more

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link removed - uh uh oh... shame on me but this is beyond my capabilities of understanding. but thank you now I am a bit smarter.

 

fifregister may I ask one personal question... does "girlfriend" mean what I think it means? I`m just curious, nothing more

 

If you look at the way I phrased it, the answer is apparent. "A girlfriend of mine" is different from "my girlfriend".

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The math.....even the percentages, assume there are 100 suitors. I don't know about anyone else, but I don't have 100 people interested in dating/marrying me. I wish! That would make things much easier!

 

I think the assumption that 100 people are interested in dating/marrying you is entirely possible. The problem with search costs of getting all these people's attention and going on dates to start the process of elimination is prohibitively high. The 100 ideal, interested suitors could be spread accross vast demographics and continents that aren't reachable.

 

So yeah...I don't know 100 people interested in marrying me either. But it's doesn't hurt to start your campaign =)

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