In many ways, dating is like investing in the stock market.
When you invest in stocks, you commit your hard-earned money to a company with the hope that your investment will increase in value over time.
With relationships, it’s generally the same idea but instead of only committing money, you commit your time, energy, and soul… and money.
We base our investment decisions off the idea that the overall payoff will be worthwhile.
If you knew with 100% certainty that a particular company was going bankrupt soon, would you invest in that company?
If you knew with 100% certainty that a particular girl would eventually cheat on you, would you invest in that girl? If you knew she would make the majority of your life a living hell, would you invest in a relationship with her even though the courtship and honeymoon phase might be pleasant? If you could somehow know with absolute certainty that you would never sleep with her, would you still invest in taking her on a date?
Hopefully you wouldn’t.
No one knows the future
But there are certain indicators that predict future behavior. And that’s what we should base our decisions off of.
Do you witness your girl lying compulsively to other people? Chances are she’s doing it to you as well.
Has she cheated on past boyfriends? Chances are you’ll be cheated on as well.
Does she have a promiscuous past? She probably has a promiscuous future too.
With a company, high turnover in senior leadership, stagnant earnings, and a high debt to equity ratio are all red flags that you should not invest.
But many casual investors fail to do their due diligence before committing their hard-earned dollars to a stock.
Sometimes it’s easy to be short sighted and not see the indicators that predict bad news in the future — the reasons not to invest.
Emotion trumps our logic with many investments
This causes us to make poor decisions. Both in business and in dating.
I take an overall cynical view on relationships because the data is cynical. 70% of people cheat on their partners.¹
The simple truth is that if you pick any cute girl off the street, it’s almost a guarantee that the interaction will not end happily ever after if things get serious.
The world seems to have a surplus of potential mates who are good for fun but not much else. And I’m sure it can be just as bad from the girl’s perspective as a lot of men lie and cheat just the same.
The majority of people you’ll consider dating in your life will likely fall into the 70% who cheat. We’ll refer to them as common stock.
Pick any random first date you’ve been on or will go on. This is likely what the full-length interaction would look like if you saw it through to the end every single time.
But of course we don’t do that. Not every first date you’ve been on ended up being a serious relationship that fucked your world up. Most interactions fizzle out before the commitment point on the graph.
The interaction fades out before it has a chance to get serious. Or in other words, we sell off the stock before we catch feelings and pass the point of no return.
Once you develop feelings you cannot break the interaction off without some kind of negative consequence to your happiness.
That’s why it’s labeled the point of no return. Cutting your losses always involves some kind of emotional turmoil.
Since most of the people we come across in life are going to be common stock, what does this mean for our happiness? Do we just isolate ourselves and not date until that special girl falls from the sky into our lap?
Of course not. Because when you do come across a quality girl, you’re going to need the skill and experience to get her.
Common stock does offer a way to get experience and enjoyment out of life as long as you buy low and sell high.
So let’s take another look at the graph. Do you see at what point you should cash in and sell off your common stock before it plummets in value?
I put a big red circle around it in case you’re not sure.
Now if you study the chart, you may notice “Catch Feels”, “Commitment”, “Make-up Sex”, and “Honeymoon Phase” are higher up and will in fact give you more happiness than just “Bang”.
But remember these points on the graph are past the point of no return. You can’t access that level of happiness and then sell off without some consequence to your emotional well-being.
Therefore when it comes to common stock, once you get the bang you know what you need to do.
But let’s not forget there’s another type of stock on the market with its shares up for grabs. These types would be considered relationship-material.
They have principles when it comes to dating. They’ve never cheated. They have high standards and class. Their behavior and decisions are respectable. They must be earned and they don’t give themselves away freely. We’ll refer to them as preferred stock.
Here is what the typical forecast on an investment in preferred stock looks like.
There isn’t a sell off point on this graph. The more traditional buy-and-hold approach is recommended here.
So when you do come across this caliber of stock, hopefully your investment-savvy from being a world-class day trader pays off.
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¹Ansari, Aziz, and Eric Klinenberg. Modern Romance.