“Like the stock market. You commit yourself to your investment with no real way of ensuring the performance of the stocks”


I want something on the record, something to hold me accountable. Because I may have just made a huge mistake, and when I look back at this, I cannot blame anyone but myself. 

Frenchie has held up the red flag. You know the one. A flag screaming STOP, saying run far and run fast. Yet here I still bloody stand, head turning between the safety of singledom and the risk of seeing-how-things-go, like an observer at Wimbledon. 

This is not my first time. With Frenchie – yes, it is. But in failing to put up boundaries with a romantic partner, it is practically pathological.

It has come in a variety of forms. I have had partners who controlled what I wore, who my friends were, who hated my parents without reason, who could never decide how they felt about me, and who didn’t respect my right to say no to sex. Every time I walked away too slowly, and I always looked back. Why?  

The obvious answer is that maybe I do not value myself highly enough. The whole, we accept the love we think we deserve argument. But I am not sure that this is necessarily true. I value myself very highly. When it comes to friends, toxic behaviour is never tolerated. But in love? The red flag is always cut from a different cloth, and it is not always easy to recognise its importance on the first wave. Sometimes it can only be seen in hindsight; always it is an important learning curve. 

I have had my heart broken in a thousand different ways, and I have broken other’s hearts in just as many. I grieve the pain I caused others, but I don’t regret a single decision. Because every time I learnt a little more about what I want, and a little more of what I don’t. I learnt more about myself. 

But this is different. There is no ambiguity in this. I know I am taking a risk. Frenchie has shown himself to be un peu dangereux, and my heart is up for ransom. 

If I were to speculate as to why I have allowed myself to get into this position, at least this time around, I would say that it is because I still have a semblance of control. I am not madly in love. I am increasingly in like, and for the time being I am completely safe. I can walk away whenever I want to, and my knowledge of that demonstrates the strength of my self-respect. I am consciously making a decision and I am not scared of the prospect of changing it. The slight anxiety weighs on the imperative word “increasingly”.   

A lot of dating is emotional, but it is also rational. A cost-benefit analysis of decisions. Like the stock market. You commit yourself to your investment with no real way of ensuring the performance of the stocks. Sure, there are some stocks which seem to be more reliable, a higher chance of success. But, as anyone who invested in Barclays during 2007 will tell you, life gives you no guarantees. 

I have done my cost-benefit analysis. For the time being, Frenchie isn’t draining my resources. I am actually glad that he laid his red flag on the table in front of me, because it was honest and it was open.

Don’t worry, I will be scheduling regular check-ins with my accountant. But I am not going to be liquidating my shares just yet, because there is still a reasonable chance that the pay-out could be huge. 

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