Relationships are an investment. They involve an element of risk, and you don’t recoup your investment costs — time, energy, effort and emotion (your bandwidth). Investing ourselves into our relationships and priorities is the cost of getting involved, so we need to become more discerning.

In business and decision-making, this investment is a sunk cost, a cost already incurred that can’t be undone or recovered. For instance, investing in research or advertising, or a decision-making perspective. You invest in these activities before making other decisions. A business devoting its energy to recouping the costs of money spent on research into a new product will launch despite signs that indicate otherwise. Quite simply, they’ll make the decision based on the act of investing, not on whether it’s the right thing to proceed.

Similarly, someone who believes they need to recoup the ‘costs’ of having conversed online, hoping, spending time with someone, auditioning to be ‘chosen’, trusting etc., will feel as if they have to continue trying to ‘get’ a relationship or commitment from this person. They proceed despite not feeling good about themselves or even liking the person all that much. There can be this sense that they need to justify having invested in the first place. By acting as if we’re ‘owed’ something, we become a bailiff collecting a debt.

But not everything we invest in is ‘right’ for us to continue with. We need to know when to fold.

If you’re making your life worse by continuing to do something, you’re falling victim to the sunk cost fallacy.

You don’t need to stay dating or continue in a relationship to justify anything. That’s short for living in the past. What you need are bloody good reasons to continue and love, care, trust and respect.

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