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Risk Management for the heart

I have recently found myself with the unpleasant task of dealing with matters of Life and Death while filling in forms for life insurance and funeral policies, I kept running across a term that intrigued me – Risk Management.

When an insurance company issues a policy in your name for something like Life cover or Funeral cover, they take certain factors or “risks” into account.  Your weight, health and lifestyle and age all play an important factor in whether or not they are prepared to insure you or not, and at what monthly premium they are willing to cover you. For example, a 40-year old obese man will pay a much higher monthly premium than, for instance, a 30-year old gym instructor who has never smoked.

These factors that impact the monthly cost of your premium are known as risk factors and through a process of risk management, they are able to provide a product that is suitable to your needs, but that will minimise the damage to themselves, should you pass away and they need to pay out.

This process fascinated me to no end. It is clinical and efficient and remains wholly black or white, with no room for grey error.

Anyone who has ever gotten to know me knows that my dating track record, is at best described as abysmal. There has been ghosting, amnesias (you can’t make this up), faked deaths, and suicides and most recently, the discovery that I was the “other woman” for an extended period, “but don’t worry, he knows about you and he’s cool with it”. Tsek.

My gullible little romantic heart has been through the wringer and each time I decide I’m done with dating and need to get a goldfish, someone says Hello, and I think “I do”.

All this insurance lingo got me thinking…what if we applied the same principles to our love lives?  Can we minimise the risk to our emotional well-being by applying specific risk management criteria when deciding to date someone or not? Is it possible?

I immediately started making checklists and tick sheets of deal breakers and must-haves and started devising an algorithm for love (I am useless at Maths, so you can already guess this does not end well)…I ended up with pages of flow charts and lists covered in doodles and went into a gin-fuelled frenzy. Then I scrapped the idea because Gin…and my inability to brain numbers.

I decided I needed to hit the streets and do cold, hard research, imagining myself the Christiane Amanpour of the romantics. I started questioning all my friends on things that need to be considered and factored and how best to nail down Mr Right and finally have the wedding and husband of my dreams.

It was at this point that a wise friend looked at me over the top of her glasses and said, “Darling, are you looking for a husband or a build-a-bear workshop?”

It was at this point, that sanity prevailed. You cannot plan love. You cannot schedule love.

And while we are on the subject, are the majority of people looking for love, or have we fallen in love with the idea of love?

Alfred Adler once said, “Follow your heart, but take your brain with you”.

If you decide the time has come for you to make lists, start with what you are looking for. Think long and think hard.

And then get out behind your laptop and start meeting people. Go on a date with that person you’d normally never consider dating. Get hurt. Cry. Break up. This is how the world teaches us who we are. Are you ready to learn the lesson?

Craig Stadler is a contributing writer for the Anova Health Institute and these are his views, which may or may not reflect those of Anova and its affiliates.

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