Love and Share Values: Despair and Happyness count differently

For their personal wealth-management people have a quite different perception of a failed investmemnt, depending on whether they lossed some money by investing into a falling fund or they missed the opportunity to invest their money into a growing fund. In the first instance, they count it once was their own money which was lost by putting it into the “wrong” company. In contrast to that, if they failed or forgot to invest into a company whos shares increased over time, this missed opportunities causes them much less regret. This is difficult to understand from a pure economic point of view, since it does not make a real difference on the long run if you either lost money that you possesed before, or if you missed the opportunity to gain the same sum of money. In mathematical terms: a double negation (avoiding a loss) is the same as positive gain.
Professional wealth manager know this, and to improve the performance it is equally efficient to avoid losses at single positions or to go into positions which are gain provit. The failure to invest into a growing fund (like W.Buffets Berkshire-Hathaway Inc) is as stupid as putting money into a loss-making fund (like Dell Computers Inc), the first of which doubled its share value over the last 5 years, wheres the latter lost half of its value during the same period.

You might say that, first of all, this is pure economic theory, and it is far away from the emotions we are suffering when we see our hardly earned money being burnt down by a badly advised investment. But at least it wont cause us a heartache. Both arguments are somehow right, but only if one leaves the pure economic reasoning and starts arguing on the psychological level.

Now we came to point where economic reason interferes with emotions, with sorrow, feeling of pleasure and happiness and the like. And on this stage, we can go another step and compare the losses/missed opportunities on the stock market with another area of life where we also hope that investments will also give us lots of rewards and happiness over a long time: I am talking now about partnership, romance and love.
Here again, you hope that a loving relationship into which you have invested your feelings, many years of your life, last but not least some precious parts of your body, that this investment does not suddenly fail. If it does, it is usually associated with unpleasant emotions, hate, and a long term decline in self-esteem. People talking of their broken relationships are not really a source of very poetic ideas. They see themself as being betrayed, and – like in the case of a wrong investment – they deeply regret to have actively made a wrong decision. They would like to turn back time thinking “I wished I would have never meet you, becaused you have taken away the best 5/10/20 years of my life”. People are usually not very enthusiastic writing blogs about their broken relationships, and if you find them they are not very touching somehow.
Another reaction you can find in people who suffer from an unresponded love. Objectively, their net ballance is the same as in case of a broken relationship. But in contrast to them, they suffer from the feeling that they don’t manage to start a relationship (investment) that would be so beneficial for them. So in contrast to people who face the ruins of a failed relationship, the second category of people feel unlucky to start the relationship they want so heavily. (Rolling Stones: “Love in Vain”)

The great song “Love in Vain” (original Blues by Robert Johnsson) shows very clearly that the feeling of not achieving the love we want might not be much easier to live with, but in contrast to the mental state after a broken relationship, at least it can be the source of great artistic expression. Garcia Marquez’ great novel “Love in the times of Cholera” describes this, as did Charlotte Bronte in “Jane Eyre”. The different self perception after a soul-destructing end of a relationship, and in contrast during the patient, tolerable time in a waiting room of a romantic love must have to do with peculiarities of our emotional reward system. It is easier to hope (endlessly) for the opportunity to get a reward, than to see that a reward has been refused for something we invested in.

2 Responses to Love and Share Values: Despair and Happyness count differently

  1. ghazal says:

    interesting view, but i would not generalize it. i know from several cases when the termination of a long relationship (i mean divorce) has been the relief from a period of mental suffering. usually woman too often tolerate a normally intolerable partnership, cause of their fear to lose security when they end it. but in fact they pay for this apparent security with chronic suffering from neglectance and giving up their own dreams. only if they find out that the price they pay for this cheap comfort is much too high, and they realize that their situation is unacceptable, sometimes they find the courage to end it. and in this case, they see the end of a relationship as the chance for a new beginning and a personal gain, not as a failure you described above.
    take care, regards

    Sent from my Nokia Lumia 521

  2. radius says:

    Dear Ghazal, The situation you describe here is not really what I had in mind. I would say that there was not love involved from the very beginning.

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