Recently I’ve realized that dating is a lot like investing. You take the risk, knowing you can’t predict the future, hoping it will pay off. It could leave you broke and homeless, or it could set you up for life. I’m no financial guru, but in my humble opinion, when it comes to dating and investing, there are four different types of categories that people fall into: The ones who buy or sell after careful analysis, the ones who only trust an expert, the ones who live for the thrill and can handle the wins and loses, and then the ones who don’t even bother with it, it’s too complex, too unpredictable for their liking.
No matter what category you or I fall into, there’s really no “right” one. One day we might be feeling a little braver than usual ready to risk it all! And other days we might just want to cash out and retire. But when it comes down to it, and as my financial advisor would put it, “You have to know yourself well, in order to know what level of risks you can handle.”
So in comes the most amazing and frustrating part about dating and investing, volatility. We can’t really know how badly we’re affected by a loss, until we get burned by a volatile market. Most of us keep going for it again, and again, hoping that one day that same volatility yields gains. Also hoping that eventually we end up with our first milli. Volatility is closely related to risk and we all know you must take risks if you want to make money. On an emotional level, I equate volatility to vulnerability, which is what makes us human.
I’m especially vulnerable right now because of the great loss I have experienced. Naturally, I’m afraid because it’s a risky time to invest, the stakes are always higher after you’ve lived through an economic downturn. When I shared this with my date the other night he said: “The best thing you can do is be okay with whatever the outcome might be. When have you ever invested in something worthwhile that wasn’t risky?” The truth: NEVER.
The other scary thing about being vulnerable is that when you’re in this state, you’re more likely to believe in anything seemingly good that comes your way. Of course I understand my level of vulnerability which is why my brain is trying to make up for it by constantly thinking, soaking in every detail, every response, every action my date might take, and analyzing all the information. Separating it into the following categories: “Genuine”, “Slick”, “Yes! More of that please”, “Amazing”, and “Is this motherf… for real?”. Let me tell you, this is no way to live, it’s mentally draining and doesn’t change the fact that I still can’t predict the future or anyone’s actions. “Quiet brain! Let the man speak. Enjoy the moment!” I keep telling myself.
Ultimately, as an adult who has been dating for I think something like 15 years, I’ve learned to be selective and cautious about where I put my money- No, this is not an escort service reference. But how do you recognize the metal scrap from a penny stock or a game changer? The way I see it, you have to wait and see if the person actually puts their money where their mouth is. I don’t think it’s bad that I want to make sure it’s real before I proceed, but at the same time, if I don’t proceed, how can I ever find out if it’s real?
So I took my questions to the SEC, The Safety and Emotion Commission, AKA my male friends. I highly recommend that every single woman get a group of smart guy friends, with mostly positive dating track records, who she can trust to give her honest feedback. I’m very lucky because I have several friends who I trust with this type of advice. I trust them because I know their dating histories. So when I have a question relating to a certain topic, I go to the guy who I know will have the most experience in that specific area. NOTE: It’s best not to tell your guy friends what you consider their area of expertise to be, best that they all think they are equally Great. At. Everything. That’s pretty much who my male friends are, “A” types who excel at everything… I think the only people who love them more than they love themselves are their mothers and wives. 😉 P.S. I love that about them!
“The only way to tell if the person you’re dating is genuine, is to give them time,” one of the commission members responded. “Well okay, but how much time?” I wrote back. “That just depends on every person and every relationship,” another commission member advised. “You can’t just tell me? It would be a lot easier if you could just give me a timeline!” I energetically replied.
The bad part about getting dating advice from guys is the amazing level of ambiguity in their answers. Yes it’s true, I’m a type A control freak too. Which is why I decided it’s best to trust my money to the experts. I rarely check my balance… fuck it, if it goes up great! And if it doesn’t, then I just bought myself a really expensive piece of nothing. I wish I had the same approach to dating. But the losses feel bigger and deeper as I get older. Because the risks increase with time, and yes, it’s true, I want someone I can share the good, the bad, the wins and loses with. So what’s there to do? Learn to recognize when the reward is worth the risk and when it might not be, avoid the metal scrap, and keep saving. Hopefully by the time I retire I’ll have my million in the bank, and a great man to share it with!