When Love is Like Economics: The Opportunity Costs of A Relationship

Kristen Pizzo
4 min readSep 10, 2019
Photo by Everton Vila

“Scarcity forces us to make choices. When we decide to do anything, we are implicitly deciding against doing something else. In other words, we are giving up an opportunity.”

I stared at the PowerPoint slide on economic basics through tears. How was it that the one thing that resonated most with what I was feeling appeared at just the right moment? Usually, it happens with a song — I’ll be listening to sad pop-punk boys crooning lyrics like “If you never break you’ll never know how to put yourself back together” and then feel like my NSA agent is watching me and messing with my YouTube recommendations.

But no, it happened with my New Venture Design PowerPoint that time, as I was being forced to contemplate a choice I had made two years ago, and the very high opportunity costs of that choice.

Almost three years ago, I fell into what I thought was love. Or stumbled into it is more like it. Before I knew it, I had my first serious relationship. I had who I thought was the elusive “One.” I was daydreaming of a proposal, something I never thought would happen to me. I was counting down the months till I’d graduate and get to see him more. I didn’t (and still don’t) know what I want to do with my life, but I had a life partner and that was (regrettably) an accomplishment to me in and of itself.

He was my cocoon as I navigated my new “adult” life in a faraway state. But I got stuck in the wrong stage of metamorphosis. I developed Stockholm syndrome in a prison I had built myself, denying my deep desire to break free and just be eighteen, nineteen, and then twenty. I overlooked a lot in life. I had no Plan B. I never studied abroad or took on anything that would prevent me from seeing him every other weekend. I turned down an apprenticeship because they were asking participants to move to some undecided destination, and I couldn’t part from the one thing that I thought I could count on in life.

I stole so much of those years from myself under the pretense that I was being safe, sensible, and mature. No parties or drinks or real friendships because those existed outside of my comfort zone and I had built a comfort fortress. I got so addicted to comfort that I stopped auditioning for plays and student films, even…

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Kristen Pizzo

mental health | LGBTQ+ | culture | food | ethical shopping