This math formula predicts your Optimal Proposal Age

You’ve fallen in love. You can’t imagine life without him/her. Congratulations.

Now, before you start saving up two months’ salary, get out your calculator. We need to figure out if the numbers add up.

In what may qualify as the least romantic study on romance ever done, Australian researchers have popped out a math equation that purports to tell men, but it works for women too, the best time to propose.

The so called 'Fiancée Formula' works on the basis of how old a man is when he starts looking for a life partner – combined with the oldest he’s prepared to be when he ties the knot. Using romance by numbers, he can calculate the optimum age to propose.


1)    Choose the oldest age by which you want to get married, for example 39.

       Call this number 'N’.

2)    Decide the earliest age at which you'll start to consider women as potential wives, for        example, from 20 onwards. This is number 'P'.

3)     Subtract 'P' from 'N' (20 from 39) then multiply the result by 0.368. 

4)     This gives you 6.992, which you should add to your minimum age (20).  

5)     The result of 27 (more or less) is your Optimal Proposal Age.

Dooley and Brown suggest that if the man in the example above wants to maximize his statistical chances at a successful union, he shouldn’t propose to anyone until he’s 27. However, if he finds himself at age 27 and unmarried, he should immediately propose to the first decent prospect that wanders by.

The mathematicians call the whole exercise “tongue in cheek,” although they do claim that using this model will result in a 37 per cent chance of optimal marital success.

It lacks the poetry of Keats, but it has the advantage of being pretty concrete. In statistical circles, the “fiancée equation” has its roots in something called the “theory of optimal stopping.” That theory is most often used in clinical trials.

"Although probability isn't the most romantic basis for a marriage, the formula does seem to fit a lot of couples, whether through accident or design.  

One could argue that the current, less structured approach to picking a marriage partner hasn't been 100 per cent successful, so perhaps it's time for men to consider following a stricter set of rules when it comes to marriage planning. (...) As well as meeting the right girl, they could also find themselves developing a new love for numbers – a win-win for everyone.",

Prof. Anthony Dooley of the University of New South Wales said in a release. 

Conclusion: So, if your significant other hasn’t got round to proposing and seems more interested in his/hers calculator, don’t despair.

He or she might just be working out his/hers Optimal Proposal Age before popping the question.

Do you think a mathematical equation takes all the romance out of Valentine’ s Day?


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