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.

One problem is the suitors arrive in a random order, and you don’t know how your current suitor compares to those who will arrive in the future. (If you're into math, it’s actually 1/e, which comes out to 0.368, or 36.8 percent.) Then you follow a simple rule: You pick the next person who is better than anyone you’ve ever dated before.

This can be a serious dilemma, especially for people with perfectionist tendencies.

But one is that you never really know how the object of your current affections would compare to all the other people you might meet in the future.

Settle down early, and you might forgo the chance of a more perfect match later on.

We opened our Instagram DMs for dating questions from our readers, and they came back Hey there — I have a question for Wendy. They’re perfectly happy, they spend a lot of time together, the sex is still good. You know the only person who sends me a Valentine’s Day card? I’ve always said the same thing, even when I was a little big-mouth girl, and I say it to my father, I ask him, Get out of here with that! Valentine’s Day is not about mother-and-children relationships. I don’t give my kid a Valentine’s Day card, and I don’t want him to give me one.

So I met this guy on OKCupid and we hit it off, went on a date, had an amazing night the next day (sex), but he had to go back to work to another country. I know he’s into me, but am I stupid for thinking this might work? You don’t even have a reason to put effort into the relationship because you’re young (I’m assuming), you don’t have children with him, and it would just drive you crazy. But you’re looking for something to do for Valentine’s Day? We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day — okay, okay, I’m out of the closet with it. People put a lot of pressure on themselves for Valentine’s Day.

If you follow the rule, you’ll reject that person anyway.

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.

By the third month, if you’re not feeling butterflies yet, then you never will. I have a crush on one of my friends, but I am afraid of letting them know in fear of ruining our friendship. What can I do to see if he’s on the same boat as me without telling him? You left out a lot of really pertinent information. Because if you’ve been good friends with somebody for three years and they flirt with you, but they flirt with everyone else, but he hasn’t singled you out, then he’s not into you like that. You’ve got to know how to read the signals of people around you. As for time alone, we get lots of playtime — both adult children are grown and live on their own — so time alone isn’t a problem.

There are some people who are in love by the third month, or can say “I love you” by the third month — I’m not necessarily pushing that, but what I’m saying is, you’ve only been together two months and he’s stonewalling you? A key piece of information is that you said he flirts with everybody, so you’re just another girl. I just have no clue what will be good to surprise him with at this point.

You know our eggs are fried and scrambled at 50, so we can’t give that. If I were a single woman right now, I’ve got to tell you something, I’d be prepared with lip gloss every time I leave the house, not because I have a full face of makeup on but because you want to give a reasonable presentation to let the world know you care about yourself and you are available. Don’t wear wedding rings on your fingers unless you’re actually married — a lot of people do that, girls specifically. I don’t know whether you’re into dating outside your race or not, and I don’t know whether you’re into dating short guys if you’re really tall, but I would at 50 something. It’s because you’re looking for a good time at 50, you’re looking for great conversation at 50, you’re looking for somebody who can take you for a decent meal at 50 years old — somebody who can at least split the tab for a vacation to Hawaii or something.