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An Algorithm Says There's a Perfect Age to Get Married

Photograph by Twenty20

If you're looking for a mate between the time you're 18 and 40, there's a math theory that could help you find the right partner. Yes, seriously. And it's called the 37 percent rule.

The idea works like this: If you have a range of time that you're looking for a life partner with whom you might start a family, you'll have enough life experience and information to make an informed decision whether or not someone will be a good choice to marry once you're 37 percent into that 22-year span. That is, 37 percent into that 18-40 age range is just past your 26th birthday.

If you get married too young, you're more likely to have missed out on better options, and if you wait too long to find a partner, you're likely to have less available, suitable options that match the desired qualities for your ideal mate.

Just like if you're interviewing job candidates, researchers say, if you see only two candidates, you might not get the best person for the job. But if you see three, you can decide whether the second or third is better than the first. If not, you might need to interview an additional candidate.

But 37 percent isn't the only rule you need to know. There's also a 45 percent rule. That one says if you want to reduce your chances of avoiding divorce, you the best age range to get married is between 28 and 32. That rule comes from 2015 research from the University of Utah, which also revealed that the chances of breaking up increase by 5 percent every year after you're 32 years old.

But don't get too worried if you didn't get married at or around 26. Neither of these rules have a perfect rate of being true, especially because it borrows a page from a mathematical, rational, non-emotional book. And, researchers say, the rules don't account for the fact that the qualities you may be looking for in a potential life partner could change drastically as you age.

Think about what you were looking for in a partner when you were 22, when you were probably just graduating from college and starting a career and had different priorities. Whereas, when you're 30 or 35, you're more likely to be looking for different kinds of qualities in a partner, such as financial stability, good health, someone who shares your values and vision for the future, a desire to have children, and so on.

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