Heartbreaks due to breakup and unrequited love are never poetic. No matter how much you try and romanticize them, how many ballads you write about it, they’re never a pleasant experience. They always hurt. And I learnt this the hard way, twice. In my observation, today’s generation has more broken hearts than sane souls. As early as our teens, we tend to delve too deep into complex matters like love and relationships and often forget that there is a life beyond our love interests.
Having experienced this excruciating pain not once but twice, I embarked on a quest to build a wall around my skin. I wanted to guard my vulnerable heart with a substance as strong as battle-grade tin, which a hundred locks or a thousand men cannot breach. I wanted to make sure that I don’t get caught up in this emotional business and get trampled and hurt, over and over. This is where the knowledge of Economics came handy to me. This article is not about the supply and demand theory or Lorentz’s curve. It’s merely an attempt to demystify ‘love’ using ‘economic’ tools.
In my economics class, I’d learnt that cost is nothing but sacrifice made. In every transaction or situation we make, we sacrifice something in order to get something in return. Generally, the greater the sacrifice, the greater the cost and greater is the value of the thing we get in return for our sacrifice. But what happens when there is an imbalance between the sacrifice made and the benefit we get in its return?
This is exactly where economics comes handy to battle the situation better. In love, we go all the way to please our partners without even caring about our own lives. I remember, when I fell in love for the first time, I left a job that paid me hefty sum just to bag another one in a company where my girlfriend worked. I knew it would affect my career in the long run, but I still chose to do it so as to not jeopardize our relationship and more importantly because that made her happy. In this case, my sacrifice is far greater than the reward I got in return.
In the second scenario when our sacrifice is meager, but returns are extra ordinary, we tend to devalue the returns. As they say, we don’t value the things we get free of cost. This is because our sacrifice for that particular thing is practically zero and hence we don’t we value it. The same happens with our partners.
When we get things done easily, we tend to take them for granted. I was with a girl who claimed to really love me and was ready to do anything just to be with me. I won’t say I took her very lightly but I hurt her frequently which deep down in my heart, I knew I wouldn’t have done otherwise. But, ego is a hell of a drug. I only realized her worth when she chose to opt out of this relationship. At that time, even my tears didn’t have any value.
Simply put, just like economics life is all about balance. If we could realize the true value of our sacrifices and returns, we could make things less hurtful. Life can be simpler if we give things the importance they deserve; Not more, not less. So now whenever you hurt yourself in love, try reflecting if your sacrifice was more than your return.