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Love and Risk Aversion

There’s only a few things that I am certain of in life – and one of them is that I do NOT like uncertainty.
Unknown gifts freak me the hell out and if you ever think of throwing me a surprise party: rethink that strategy! Yer killing me!

I still think back in horror to that one time a couple of friends threw me and my ex a housewarming party (IN OUR NEW HOUSE) the night we got back from a vacation to the Dominican republic.
Aka – we’d just spent over 16 hours travelling, were tired, sweaty AND to top it all off I had had a…slight…bloody…inconvenience (imagine – gushing blood drenching pants) on the drive home from the airport.
We walk into our house (we’d barely moved into) and instead of peace and quiet find 15+ friends cheering, hollering and preparing three different kinds of soups – while I’m standing there in blood-soaked pants and jaw on the floor. (You can imagine me fleeing up the stairs right after).
 I HATE surprises. But that one definitely tops the list of OMG. People being in my house uninvited, no matter the great intentions: NOPE. God. I hated that.

So yeah. I do not like uncertainty.
Which, especially in the lockdown we’re currently having – makes ‘simple’ things like dating a hell of a lot harder. The past few days I’ve found myself thinking about the risks of online dating more and more. Especially since – with a curfew and nothing being open – a lot of ‘first’ dates will end up taking place in or around my (or their) homes. And where, in the past, I’ve never had any issues inviting random dating-app strangers to my house (instead of safely meeting them in public places) – I find myself becoming more and more weary these days.

The first years after becoming single (stepping out of a solid 8 year relationship) I went a bit mad. Risk calculations were not made or discarded and pretty much anything was fine, dating-wise. My whole attitude was one of ‘even if it’s bad – it’s still an experience, and I’ll totally learn something about myself and the world’ and I was open to pretty much discovering anything. Fun times.

Now, as a recovering heartbreak-patient-of-doom – my dating approach has become almost entirely Risk Averse, I’m realizing more and more.
Risk aversion is choosing the safe options, even though they yield a lower outcome so that you gain the maximum amounts of certainty. Which also means not opting for the more risky, uncertain options that might have a way better reward. In finance and economics, that can be a solid approach. In dating – that tends to slide straight into ‘settling’. Which sucks. Obviously.

I had a friend who used Tinder as a candy store. Picking whatever she felt like, whenever she felt like it. She’d have no problem swiping right on those ‘guys’ with an interesting profile, but no pictures (or irrelevant/body shots ones). She’d swipe right on ‘guys’ with the fake names, or the obvious aliases or the ‘this can’t be real’ catfish shots. She’d take a chance on the ‘too good to be true’ doctors and lawyers and would meet up with total red-flag storytellers. And she had a fucking blast (didn’t find love, obviously, but totally had a blast).
And I’d always be chatting to her, wide-eyed and with looks of utter surprise at the risks she was willing to take (and the pay-off she got from doing so). Eventually mustering up the courage to even up my game a bit as well in my swiping endeavors. I had the best time, after that. All of the fun, all of the experiences and all of the (horror)stories to tell. Nothing traumatic, but just – enriching.

These days?
Not so much anymore.
Profiles that aren’t complete, don’t look real or seem too good to be true – I don’t even bother with.
Guys who can’t bother to use their real name, look like they’re taken or have even the slightest red flag in their pics or bio? – Not a chance.
Matches that say something out of the ordinary (and the invisible lines) during a chat? – Poof.

It’s almost a miracle that there’s even dates to plan at all with this approach. And the more I think about it – the sadder that makes me.

I miss the part of me that was adventurous and casual enough to just think ‘Let’s do this and just see how it goes’. The part that wasn’t concerned with checking all of the imaginary boxes for the perfect partner and maximum safety in an attempt to not let her heart be at risk.

I would love to find my way back to that view of unbridled curiosity and bravery. To the person who’d just plan a date in a zoo with a dude from Tinder, only to end up climbing the fences to a closed outdoors pool to go swimming with a guy she just met, without needing him to be instant forever-material. But instead I find myself swiping right on guys that look ‘comfortable’. ‘Kind’. ‘Safe’. Only to still end up getting ghosted even by those douchebags.

At least in the old style I’d still have gone swimming, dammit.

I think at some point, risk aversion becomes a greater force for possible life-ruining-capacity, than actually just going out there, take some chances and really living. But that’s easier said than done, right?

37 thoughts on “Love and Risk Aversion

  1. Try something simple to break out of the extreme risk aversion, something not terribly risky.

    I hear men with beards can sometimes be easy to get to know. Some of them aren’t douchebags, even.

    [LOL, running away before a frying pan comes sailing at my head].

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Do you have any idea what frying pans cost these days?
      They’re definitely not throwable. You’re at much more risk from something along the lines of a banana peel or summin’ 😉
      (But there’s a core of sense to your comment, none the less!)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As someone who did their dating in the 80’s and 90’s its hard to relate to the online tribulations of my younger friends, a curse of Gen X I suppose. As I recall the best times I had were taking risks, or what do you say now? YOLO. I suppose the risks are different and the ideal mix is to find something in between. If I were to become single in the future (which I dont plan too), Id be YOLO again. Easy for me to say though… Good luck out there Zoe we are all rooting for you, lol.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I follow some interesting ‘cougar’ blogs of women who date. They are all 50+. I have a friend who is in his late 50s who is also doing the online dating thing. (Tinder is for the younger crowd or those who want to get laid immediately, I assume, because the older crowd is using different apps). Anyway…the scenarios they describe in their blogs reminds me of highschool. So. Much. Drama. 😛 lol

      I went to highschool in the 80s when there was no internet/smartphones/dating apps. I can’t even imagine what it’s like now…

      Makes for entertaining reading though. 😛

      Liked by 4 people

  3. This is so interesting to me. I found that once the kids came, I wanted, needed, as much routine and planning ahead as possible. I was in constant preservation mode to sleep or snack schedules, to maintain the mess without causing me distress yada yada then midlife happened and hormonal issues…I almost developed OCD. (Maybe I still have it a little, I do like order… )

    But a time came a few years ago when suddenly, I started craving this unplanned, casual, go with the flow adventure. I’m so ready for that now except… covid lockdown. So…gotta wait a little more.

    The coming home from airport scenario had me so tense on your behalf – omg I would not have appreciated that either. People with good intentions sometimes mean so well they forget the reality of a situation…the first thing I used to do when I came home from travel, including when I was a flight attendant, was shower. Immediately, before doing anything else. It was the most blissful thing even if I was exhausted. Imagining coming into my home where there is a party after a trip? SMH.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. You are breaking my heart.
    Dating during this apocalypse, I can’t even imagine. I don’t know what the weather is like where you live but could you meet someone for an outdoor coffee? Hang in there, one day there he will be.

    As far as surprises, I am like you. I hate unannounced company, I get so anxious and No to surprise parties also. I need planning and organization, not random, free for all’s. My husband is spur of the moment, unplanned trips etc. I get so wound up, I can’t enjoy myself. I guess everyone is different and that’s a good thing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The weather is pretty much around freezing and constant rain right about now. Plus – there’s nowhere to actually GET coffee (everything is lockdown-closed) so outside of venturing into a park and byob…options suck (hence, the opting to meet at the house straight away).

      No heartbreak necessary though, there’s no rush. I’ll get there, eventually ;).

      Liked by 1 person

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    Liked by 2 people


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    Liked by 2 people

  7. I feel you. I spent a year on some of the apps before letting my memberships expire. I am in the over 50 crowd. I did meet a few nice men, got stood up and was ghosted more times than I care to admit. I have quit and I’m not sure I’ll try online again.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I love reading these posts from you. It’s always cool to see a different side of things. I am totally opposite of you. I absolutely LOOOOVE surprises! Not sure that I would’ve been okay with the housewarming/blood-drenched pants situation tho. Sorry that happened to you! However, my husband surprises me EVERY birthday, anniversary, and sometimes just for plain ol’ date night. Pre-covid, I’d be told to pack a bag the night before our trip, with no clue where we would end up. He would very poorly explain what type of attire I needed, for fear of giving me too many clues. And the dating scene…sheesh. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that everything works out for you. I met my hubby at 16, and we’ve been together ever since. So, as you guessed it, I’m definitely risk averse when it comes to love and relationships. LOL!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’m with you: The LAST thing I would want afte a long ass day of travelling and an unexpected visit from someone who shall remain nameless is to come home to a house full of people. I probably would have been so cranky that I would have told them all to get the fuck out.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Yes, easier said than done. It’s good to know that we can take risks and even enjoy the occasional surprises as serendipities. At the same time, being careful is smart. The risk should resonate with our sense of care as well as the feeling of excitement. And I’m not sure how to gauge interests in surprises. They involve the interests and agendas of other people. I would not have enjoyed the party waiting for you after so much time and effort spent in traveling and feeling literally bloody. Maybe if you got to adjust and relax–and then maybe get a call later on about getting together in a couple of days or so. Something that might come across as a treat as well as a comfort.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I guess there’s (at least) one underlying question: if you were to settle with someone in the ‘near’ future, what profile would fit and suit you? If it’s one that ‘climbs fences and goes swimming’, swipe the types that hold this ‘promise’ to the right. If you’re prepared to settle for less adventurous types, because that’s the kind of stability your yearning for, accept it. And in the process, accept that the funny and special memories you’ve experienced in the more ‘wild’ moments are no longer the ones that fit the future you’re heading for. Don’t live in the past, it will haunt you. Look ahead (but be adventurous and wild, regardless if that’s what you truly want).


  12. That’s why I’m happy I’m in long lasting relationship (living together). It’s also nice that you don’t have to be coping alone with this crazy situation. I don’t know how I would manage with this all alone!

    Liked by 1 person

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