When I overheard a friend advising a business associate to stop solely focusing on the initial money spent on a business venture and to address the real issues and decisions at hand first, I thought of the many stories readers share with me. One of the reasons that can keep you holding on tight to someone, a relationship, an idea, or situation that you really need to either let go of or to reconsider your course of action based on how things are, is this idea that you have to recoup your investment or even make it pay. Like the initial investment in a business ( ‘sunk cost’) is the cost of participation, so is your perceived ‘investment’. The cost has been and done.
I can assure you that if you keep chasing down people for what you think you’re ‘owed’ like a bailiff trying to collect goods to the amount of the debt, it will cost you far more than anything you’ve put in so far, including your dignity. The Justifying Zone isn’t a good place to be.
Expending some time, energy and yes, a little emotion (or possibly a lot), is the cost of getting involved. It comes with the territory. We have to be vulnerable and we can’t wave an invoice at people when we’re disappointed. I hear from so many people who are very stressed by online dating. It’s the chatting with someone on the phone or via text/email and feeling as if there was the beginnings of something even though they hadn’t met this person yet. They feel robbed because their hopes and expectations had begun to build and then, shazam!, the person is never to be heard of again or claiming that they’ve suddenly realised that they’re not over their ex on the eve of meeting up. Some people are so devastated, it’s as if they played the lottery, they thought that their numbers were definitely going to come up and had begun mentally spending the winnings without checking the numbers. Unfortunately, the cost of participating in online dating is that you will spend some time talking to strangers and building up a picture in your mind without meeting and interacting with them. Some you’ll meet and some will vanish to fish from the pool again or after you’ve declined to flash your bits to them. It’s understandable to find it a tad exhausting at times.
Of course you can shrink the ‘cost’ greatly by keeping your feet in reality (keep your picture building to a minimum) and limiting the amount of time spent chatting before meeting up for the first time. Also keep up your real life.
You also can’t have a relationship without having the relationship and putting yourself in it. There are no guarantees or warranties. You can’t know whether a relationship is going to work if you don’t give it a shot. That said, you can save yourself a lot of headache if in the period of time when you’re getting to know one another, you forge the relationship in reality and don’t ignore code amber and red behaviour because you might ignore it now but it will dominate the relationship before you know it. It’s like shoving bills under the carpet. It also helps if you don’t lose your identity and self-respect because at least then you’ll know that you’re there for healthy reasons. In order to truly be in a relationship with someone, you also have to let go of your safety net come ‘fallback option’. If it doesn’t work out, you can’t exactly turn around and say, ‘Damn you! I should have been free to cheat or keep my options open. You owe me my time and the chance to be with my ex! Give me back my time!’ If you’ve been the Other Woman/Man, you likely already know that the cost of an affair is hefty. You have to live on the fringes, marginalise your own needs, expectations and wishes, and do a hell of a lot of pretending while struggling to decipher fact from fiction. But that (and the rest including the tears and torment never mind the effect on the person they’re cheating on) is the cost of getting involved with someone who is already in a relationship. It’s unrealistic to think that there wouldn’t be this cost – millions have gone before you and felt the pain, me included! You can’t justify continuing the affair based on that cost because it’s been and done. Hanging around to justify that you had the affair in the first place and to make it all worthwhile is trying to make sense out of nonsense or trying to turn a chicken back into an egg. We can stay in a situation long past its sell-by-date due to being blinded by our perceived investment. We want to get our ‘capital’ back but we can start over and rebuild. Money can be worked out down to the last penny but emotions and energy are tricky to be quantify. Depleted, dejected, demoralised and being in denial, are normally signs of overspend… When you spend too much time living in the past, it never bodes well. It doesn’t make sense to focus on this cost if you’re not addressing the real and far more pertinent issues or if those costs are no longer relevant to the present and are in fact serving as a distraction from having to face current responsibilities and decisions. If you focus too much on that cost, you’ll make a decision that serves a past that’s already over but that ignores the truth of the present or costs that are going to continue to accrue in the future due to your lack of prudence and mindfulness. Of course it may have ‘cost’ you this time round but if you learn from the insights that you gain from each experience and use it to empower and grow you, you can only save and gain in the future. Your thoughts?