The '37% Rule' Can Help You Find The Partner Of Your Dreams

Committing to spend the rest of your life with someone is a big decision, probably one of the biggest you'll make in your life. It's important to choose the right person to join you through your lifetime; after all, we only live once. Of course, it's easier said than done.

Pew Research Center reports that a lot of people choose to live together first before getting married to get a feel of what it's like living with their partner.  It might take months for some, but for many people, it takes years to know whether they are with the right partner. There are several signs to know you're ready to get married, but how can you be sure your partner is the one?

But what if science can actually help you determine whether you're with the right person? Mathematicians suggest that the "37% rule" can help determine the best option in making major life decisions, including choosing the partner you'll spend the rest of your life with. This rule can drastically reduce the time spent on decision-making. 

The 37% rule can help save the day

The 37% rule is about maximizing probabilities to come up with the most successful option. The University of California Los Angeles published a study that breaks down the science behind the concept. The idea is simple: If you have to make a decision with several options, the study suggests that you should get rid of the first 37% percent of the options and consider the rest. You should then choose the best of the options from the remaining choices.

The 37% rule implies that you have the highest chance of picking the best potential partner if you reject the first 37% of your options. Say you expect to meet approximately 10 potential partners throughout the course of your life. Since it wouldn't really make sense to choose randomly from these 10 partners, you can easily apply the 37% rule. Reject the first three or four partners you meet, and then choose the next one who is a better match than the first few. Even if there are signs that your current partner is the one, if that person is included in the first 37% of your potential lifetime partners, the rule says you'd be better off rejecting them. 

Can this mathematical formula really help you find The One?

During an NPR Ted Radio Hour, mathematician Hannah Fry said that the odds of choosing the right partner increases to almost 40% if you apply the 37% rule, but it's not without its risk. Fry warned, "This only maximizes your chances of finding the perfect person for you, it doesn't guarantee it." Fry further discussed the downside of this rule, since your soulmate might come within the first 37% of your partners. If that happened, applying the rule would cause you to miss out on the partner of your dreams. Another risk associated with this rule is that after your rejection phase, you could end up choosing someone suboptimal just because that person is better than the ones you have rejected.

Cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths of the University of California, Berkeley and acclaimed author and computer scientist Brian Christian wrote a book about this rule. The pair claim that this rule is most helpful when you're paralyzed with indecision. They believe that the rule can minimize spending too much time choosing on a partner with whom to settle down, but the rule is likely most helpful in solving everyday human dilemmas. 

There are tons of ways this method can go wrong, and it will not have a 100% success rate. However, based on the research, it does produce better results than any other formulas out there.