You Can Calculate Your Exact Chance of Falling in Love This Valentine's Day (2023)

  • Physics Ph.D. candidate Dominik Czernia has developed an online tool to help you calculate your chances of falling in love.
  • Using the "Optimal Stopping Problem," or the "Sultan's Dowry Problem," you can determine the best way to optimize your dating pattern.
  • It comes down to probability: the more dates you go on, the better your chances.

As they say, there are plenty of fish in the sea. And as mathematicians will tell you, the more fish you kiss, the better your chances of finding a catch.

Sea life analogies aside, Dominik Czernia, a physics Ph.D. student at the Institute of Nuclear Physics in Kraków, has built an online calculator that can help you figure out the chances of you finding the love of your life this Valentine's Day.

Although the underlying principle isn't quite as romantic—the "Optimal Stopping Problem," as it's called, basically asks you to reject your first two of every five dates—Czernia has managed to make the art of love as close to a science as possible, with some spaghetti dinners required.

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"Experimental psychologists say that we don’t search enough when encountered by several options sequentially," Czernia tells Popular Mechanics. "For example, let’s say you want to rent a flat [to] someone. You don't know the value of the offers before they come. With each offer, you must decide whether you accept or reject it. How long should you wait for the best deal?"

Such is the case in the hunt for the perfect partner, he says. If you go on 100 dates with 100 different people—and Czernia is careful to note that, of course, the actual number of dates will vary by person—it's difficult to know which of the 100 people you should choose to date. If you pick someone randomly, the probability they're your perfect match is just one percent. Not exactly promising.

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But with the Optimal Stopping Problem, you can bring your chances of finding love up to 37 percent, theoretically. And better yet, if you're okay with resigning yourself to the top 10 percent of matches, your probability of finding The One™️ will reach nearly 80 percent.

"With every new person we meet, we realize what our real expectations are, and so we’re looking for the things we care about the most," Czernia explains. "The Dating Theory Calculator is here to make people aware of that process."

The Optimal Stopping Problem

Czernia's calculator is certainly a bit cheeky, but to fully understand the mathematical concept behind the dating scheme, we'll need to dig into the Optimal Stopping Problem, also referred to as the "Sultan's Dowry Problem," "37 Percent Rule," or "Secretary Problem." It's exactly what it sounds like: a method for finding the perfect time to stop going on dates.

Regardless of what you call it, they all boil down to the same purpose: find the best possible option from "sequentially observed random variables." That's a bit of a mouthful, so Czernia has broken up the phrase into two parts:

  • Sequentially observed: This means you're dealing with variables (here, dates) one by one, and you can't go back to the previous one (or risk having a glass of wine dumped on your head).
  • Random variables: Each variable (here, date) you encounter has a random value (that would be the level of compatibility with you).

Let's pretend you have a set of five numbers, Czernia says. They're [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and describe the rank of the potential partners you've met so far, with 1 being the best and 5 being the worst.

"Sequentially observed means you’re going from the left to the right of this set, and random variables make this set randomly ordered," he says. "So, the sequence might be [4, 2, 3, 5, 1] as well as [1, 5, 3, 4, 2], etc. And that’s the same with dating since you won’t ever know when you would find the ideal partner."


In other words, you can't exactly gather all of your dates in one room and then pick from the group—unless, of course, you're on The Bachelor.

What's Up with 37 Percent?

There's a reason why this is also called the 37 Percent Rule. The best strategy for dating, according to math, is to reject the first 37 percent of your dates. The actual percent is 1/e, where the base is the natural logarithm. That's 36.79 percent, but you need to round up because you can't date a fraction of a person.

So if you go on 10 dates, reject the first four, no matter how good they seemed. Then, wait until you've met someone better than those first four. If you follow those rules, you'll increase your chances of finding the best suitor. In this example, your probability of finding the love of your life increases from 10 percent to 40 percent.

Practically speaking, rejecting the first 37 percent of dates allows you to get familiar with what you can expect from the people that you're meeting. Hey, you can't go back to those you rejected, but 63 percent of your options are still available, and now you know what you want to find most in a partner.

Practically Speaking ...

Love, unlike math, has no guarantees. As Czernia points out, it's actually a bit like Russian Roulette. There's not a 100 percent success rate in using the Optimal Stopping Problem, though a story in the Washington Post did find that even among just three suitors, the problem led to a 20 percent higher success rate. And, as you might imagine, the more dates, the higher that success rate.

Still, this is all for fun at the end of the day. You can try filling in Czernia's calculator by clicking here. He does admit it's not the universal solution for finding love.

"As much as I'd like to believe that science has finally solved the mystery called 'humans,' I'll have to say there's still a long way to go," Czernia says. "Indeed, the math doesn't account for all variables like human emotions. These calculations should be treated as a guidance tool to make a final decision."

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Just keep in mind the probability you'll be rejected is also crucial. And it should go without saying, but you probably shouldn't tell your date you're using math to determine whether or not to pick them.

"Moreover, showing the chances of a person finding 'the one' encourages people to be more outgoing and keep searching until they can safely say, 'I don't need this math anymore,'" Czernia explains. "Until then, I think one should keep trying different things, including different approaches to find the most compatible date."

You Can Calculate Your Exact Chance of Falling in Love This Valentine's Day (2)

Courtney Linder

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Deputy Editor

Before joining Pop Mech, Courtney was the technology reporter at her hometown newspaper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. She is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied English and economics. Her favorite topics include, but are not limited to: the giant squid, punk rock, and robotics. She lives in the Philly suburbs with her partner, her black cat, and towers upon towers of books.


Does the 37% rule apply to dating? ›

The best strategy for dating, according to math, is to reject the first 37 percent of your dates. The actual percent is 1/e, where the base is the natural logarithm. That's 36.79 percent, but you need to round up because you can't date a fraction of a person.

What are the chances of finding your true love? ›

Given half a billion potential soul mates, your chance of finding your true love is one in 10,000. Monroe speculates on the consequences of such a world where a vast majority will remain alone.

What is the rule of 37%? ›

Here it is in a nutshell: Spend the first 37 percent of your decision-making process gathering information and committing to nothing. After that period, choose the next option that comes along that's better than everything you've seen before.

What is the dating math rule? ›

There is a so-called rule about dating: the youngest age you are supposed to date is half your age plus seven. So, if you're 16, the youngest age you should consider is 15 – because 16 divided by two is eight and 8+7 equals 15. We can write the dating rule as an equation: y = x ÷ 2 + 7 .

What is the 48 hour rule in dating? ›

Use the 48-hour rule.

If your partner does something hurtful or that makes you angry, it's important to communicate it. If you aren't sure that you want to bring something up, try waiting 48 hours. If it's still bothering you, let them know.

What's the oldest you can date rule? ›

The “creepiness rule” states that the youngest you should date is “half your age plus seven.” The less commonly used corollary is that the oldest you should date is “subtract seven from your age and double it.” According to this rule, society should accept a 50 year old man dating a 32 year old woman.

How rare is true love? ›

True love is rare; we can only hope to find it once in a lifetime, and maybe not even then. The curve that charts love is very narrow—more like a steeple than a bell. It's called a Poisson curve, and its classic example was the chance of being kicked to death by a horse while serving in the Prussian cavalry.

What is the best way to find true love? ›

Our experts offered these 12 tips to boost your chances:
  1. The 'You'll find love when you're not looking' approach may be wrong. ...
  2. Go where people like the same things you like. ...
  3. Look up from your phone. ...
  4. Don't seek romance, seek partnership. ...
  5. Happy people attract people. ...
  6. Take time to be by yourself.
Feb 13, 2023

How long does it take to find true love? ›

The average time for men to fall in love is 88 days, while those same feelings of true love take women 134 days. Another dating site, Elite Singles, did a poll in 2017 and found that 61 per cent of women believe in love at first sight, while 72 per cent of men do. These surveys focused on heterosexual relationships.

What is the rule for 7? ›

What is the Divisibility Rule of 7? The divisibility rule of 7 states that, if a number is divisible by 7, then “the difference between twice the unit digit of the given number and the remaining part of the given number should be a multiple of 7 or it should be equal to 0”.

When should you stop dating? ›

Read on for signs that a serious relationship may not be in the cards. They aren't interested in your life outside of the relationship. ... You've been dating for a long time without putting a label on it. ... They don't share photos of the two of you on social media.

How many people should you date before settling down? ›

The first three dates shouldn't be taken too seriously. According to the 37% rule, your fourth date should be a keeper. The principle is that you're exploring different types of personalities and experiences before settling down.

What is the oldest a 13 year old can date? ›

Close in age exceptions

A 12 or 13 year old can consent to sexual activity with a partner as long as the partner is less than two years older and there is no relationship of trust, authority or dependency or any other exploitation of the young person.

What is the 3/4 rule in dating? ›

Called the "3-4 rule," Nobile's method requires that singles learn four key principles about their prospect by the end of the third date. Those tenets are chemistry, core values, emotional maturity, and readiness. According to Nobile, this method allows daters to assess chemistry and long-term compatibility.

What are 4 dating rules? ›

4 Dating Rules that Should Never Be Broken
  • Lying. Even a small white lie can turn into a problem in the future. ...
  • Give and Take. The best relationships rely on an equal balance of give and take from each member. ...
  • Don't Put Anything before Your Partner. ...
  • Communication.

What is the 10 minute rule in a relationship? ›

Douglas Weiss developed this easy-to-follow plan for improving your marriage. By investing just ten minutes a day to focus on each other and do simple exercises, couples can enhance their marriages in ways they will benefit from for a lifetime!

What is the 3 day rule texting a guy? ›

Popularized by the romcom, the three-day dating rule insists that a person wait three full days before contacting a potential suitor. A first-day text or call is too eager, a second-day contact seems planned, but three days is, somehow, the perfect amount of time.

What is the 222 dating rule? ›

The 2-2-2 Rule involves going on a date night every two weeks, spending a weekend away every two months and taking a week-long vacation away every two years.

What age gap is too big? ›

Studies have found partners with more than a 10-year gap in age experience social disapproval. But when it comes to our own relationships, both men and women prefer someone their own age, but are open to someone 10-15 years their junior or senior.

Can a 20 year old date a 15 year old? ›

No, it is generally not illegal to simply be in a non-sexual relationship with a minor. However, just because it is not illegal to date someone underage does not mean that everything in the relationship is permissible. Some non-sexual conduct that is common in dating relationships may still be illegal.

Can a 18 year old date a 15 year old? ›

In a Nutshell: Sex between an 18 year-old and a 15 year-old is illegal in California, meaning any touching of “private parts” of either, even with consent of both parties (and perhaps even the parents of each teenager) is illegal in California because the age of consent is 18.

Can you be in love with 2 people? ›

Being in love with two people may be more common than some think. Studies show that many individuals worldwide identify as polyamorous, meaning they partake in relationships with or feel attracted to more than one individual at a time.

How long does true love last? ›

Movies try to convince us we'll feel this way forever, but the intense romance has an expiration date for everyone. Expect the passion to last two to three years at most, says Dr. Fred Nour, a neurologist in Mission Viejo, California, and author of the book “True Love: How to Use Science to Understand Love.”

How many true loves does the average person have? ›

A Study Shows That We Fall In Love with 3 People in Our Lifetime and Each One Has A Specific Reason. A study has shown that a person can fall in love at least three times in their lifetime.

What are the first signs of true love? ›

You can usually recognize real love by these 12 signs.
  • You feel safe with them. ...
  • They listen. ...
  • They acknowledge your differences instead of trying to change you. ...
  • You can communicate easily. ...
  • They encourage you to do your own thing. ...
  • You trust each other. ...
  • They make an effort. ...
  • You know you can collaborate or compromise.
Oct 27, 2020

What does true love feel like for a man? ›

They enjoy seeing you as much as you enjoy seeing them. True love feels like looking at the other, and knowing that they are really looking back at you, not a projection of the person they think you should be. This also means that you and your partner will prioritize each other's happiness even when things get messy.

What makes a man feel connected to a woman? ›

Men Need Love and Affection

In plain language: Men often feel most loved by the women in their lives when their partners hug them, kiss them, smile at them, and explicitly offer gratitude, praise, and words of affection. Men also feel loved and connected through sexuality, often to a greater degree than women do.

What makes a man fall in love deeply? ›

Physical attraction, sexual compatibility, empathy, and emotional connection are key to making a man fall in love with a woman.

How do you know a man is falling in love with you? ›

When he's falling in love, everything is likely to become about her. He can't stop thinking about her and would rather be spending time with her than doing anything else. He may feel scared about the relationship and where it's headed, or he might just have a comfortable feeling about the entire thing.

Do men fall in love faster? ›

But there's evidence that on average, men may actually fall in love more quickly. A survey of more than 170 college students found that male respondents reported both feeling love and saying “I love you” at earlier stages in their relationships than females.

How do you know when 7 goes into a number? ›

To determine whether a number is divisible by 7, you have to remove the last digit of the number, double it, and then subtract it from the remaining number. If the remainder is zero or a multiple of 7, then the number is divisible by 7.

Is 0 is divisible by 11? ›

0 is divisible by 11, so yes, 10,032 is also divisible by 11. +1 - 4 + 2 = -1. -1 is not divisible by 11, so no, 142 is not divisible by 11. 22 is divisible by 11, since 11 * 2 = 22.

Why is the rule of 7 important? ›

The rule of seven in marketing states that brands that engage with a customer seven times are more likely to earn the trust and business of that customer. Frequent communications allow the brand to build a relationship with customers, which is important for making sales and strengthening the brand.

How do you tell if he is into you? ›

22 Subtle Signs A Guy Likes You, From Dating Experts
  1. He leans toward you during conversation. ...
  2. He angles his body toward you in the room. ...
  3. He finds small ways to compliment you. ...
  4. He makes eye contact. ...
  5. He steals a glance at you. ...
  6. He singles you out in a group. ...
  7. He seems drawn to you in the room.
Nov 26, 2021

How long is the average dating? ›

Most couples date for two or more years before getting engaged, with many dating anywhere from two to five years. Once the question is popped, the average length of engagement is between 12 and 18 months.

What is Breadcrumbing in dating? ›

Breadcrumbing is the act of sending out flirtatious, but non-committal social signals (i.e. "breadcrumbs") in order to lure a romantic partner in without expending much effort. In other words, it's leading someone on.

How many exes do people have on average? ›

It should be noted that although the ideal number of previous partners was two to three, most participants in this study actually had far more. There was a fairly significant gender difference, with women claiming around six ex-partners and men around eight.

At what age do guys start wanting to settle down? ›

At what age should you start settling down? As young adults enter the culminating phase of early adulthood (ages 33–45), they enter the settling down (ages 33–40) stage. By this time, their careers (at least the first one) has been established and a spouse found.

How soon should you sleep with a guy? ›

In a new survey, the average person said eight dates is the "acceptable" time to wait to have sex. People also said that they don't "always" kiss on the first date, even if it's going well. Millenials also wait 48 hours to ask about a second date, while older people wait three days, on average.

Can an 18 date a 17? ›

California does not set a minimum age for someone to date within the state legally. However, if an adult has sexual relations with a minor, the adult can be charged with statutory rape.

What is the youngest age to date? ›

Consider their emotional maturity and sense of responsibility. For many kids, 16 seems to be an appropriate age, but it may be entirely suitable for a mature 15-year-old to go on a date, or to make your immature 16-year-old wait a year or two. You can also consider what other parents are doing.

Can an 18 date a 16? ›

Generally speaking, an 18-year-old can date a 16-year-old provided that the relationship is not sexual. But if the relationship becomes sexual, then it could be illegal depending on the state.

What is the 24 hour rule in dating? ›

The 24 Hour Rule is a simple and effective method for saving relationships, particularly when you are tempted to act out of high emotion: When emotion is high, don't let words fly. Stop! Give it 24 Hours before you act.

What are the 4 C's in dating? ›

You need the 4 C's: Communication, Collaboration, Consideration, and Compatibility. Yet as with many things that are simple, they're not always easy! Let's look at how they work to help build a relationship.

What is the 60 40 rule in relationships? ›

What Is The 60/40 Rule In Relationships? You see, most people think a good relationship is a 50/50 proposition. If, however, both partners instead focus on giving 60% and taking just 40%, the relationship has an overwhelming chance of being successful. Think of this as the “golden rule” of relationships.

What are the 3 P's of dating? ›

A “date” must pass the test of three p's: (1) planned ahead, (2) paid for, and (3) paired off.

What are the 3 C's of dating? ›

Relationship dynamics will go up and down based on communication, compromise and commitment, the 3C's.

What is the 37 rule in relationships? ›

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. (If you're into math, it's actually 1/e, which comes out to 0.368, or 36.8 percent.)

How many people should you date before settling down 37%? ›

The 37% rule tells us you ought to enjoy yourself on the first three — have a laugh and a drink or two — but do not arrange a second date with any of them. You can do better. What the 37% rule tells us is that the next best date you have is the keeper. They are the ones you should try to settle down with.

What is the age gap limit to date? ›

"Half-your-age-plus-seven" rule

An often-asserted rule of thumb to determine whether an age difference is socially acceptable holds that a person should never date someone whose age is less than half their own plus seven years.

How many dates do you have to go on to be considered dating? ›

According to a 2015 dating survey conducted by Time out of 11,000 people worldwide, most couples go on 5 to 6 dates before discussing a relationship, and some take even longer. On average, people need 5-6 dates to make it official. Don't worry if this number seems meager or excessive- the value significantly varies.

How far apart can you be to date? ›

Think of 10 years as a general guideline, but be open to other ages as well—and don't limit yourself to dating only someone older. "'Cast a wide net' is what I tell all my clients,” Sussman says. “Men should date older, and women should be OK experimenting with dating younger.

How do you tell if a guy is stringing you along? ›

15 alarming signs he's stringing you along
  1. He doesn't give you what you want. ...
  2. He starts spending less time with you. ...
  3. He makes promises but hardly keeps any. ...
  4. He only shows up when it is time for sex. ...
  5. He becomes more irritable. ...
  6. He has exciting opinions about relationships. ...
  7. He never calls you his partner.
Jul 28, 2022

What is the average age you meet your wife? ›

It's 27. That's right. The average age people meet their lifelong partner is 27 years old, according to a new survey from

What is the best age difference between man and woman? ›

Couples with an age gap of 1 to 3 years (with the man older than the woman) were the most common and had the greatest levels of satisfaction. Relationship satisfaction decreased slightly for couples with age gaps of 4 to 6 years and continued to decrease for couples with an age gap of 7 or more years.

What is the rule of 7 in dating? ›

The rule suggests the younger person in a relationship should be older than half the older person's age plus seven years in order for the relationship to be socially acceptable. For example, the youngest a 26-year-old person should date is 20. The beginnings of the rule are murky.

How long after dating should you say I love you? ›

While men tended to consider confessions of love acceptable after about a month or so, women tended to say it was better to wait 2 to 3 months or so. Confessions of love generally inspired feelings of happiness, but men felt more positive about confessions that happened before the relationship became sexual.

How long should you date before calling someone your boyfriend? ›

As a rough rule, two months in should be a safe amount of time to broach the subject, Stott said. But every relationship is different, so if it feels right earlier, go for it. If it doesn't feel right at that stage, there are a few steps you can take to build yourself up for the conversation.

What are red flags in dating? ›

A dating red flag is a warning sign that appears during a date that could indicate a problem, miscommunication, or challenge in the future. Examples of dating red flags are: Talking only about themselves, avoiding difficult conversations, gossiping about their ex, and withholding affection..

What is the 2 year rule in dating? ›

Benson's central recommendation is that dating and cohabiting couples should have a serious discussion about the future of their relationship and where it is going within two years, and if the relationship is not headed toward marriage by then, it is time to end it.


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