In today’s video, I’m going to talk about relationship trade-offs.

Read or watch below to learn more about relationship trade-offs.

Zachary Stockill: As you have probably discovered, the best relationship advice often comes from unlikely sources.

Despite my initial surprise, I discovered that some of the best relationship advice I’ve ever encountered came from an unexpected source: an American economist specializing in economics with no background in dating or psychology.

But this insight is so profound that I think anyone in a relationship will find it very helpful. Today, I’m going to detail exactly what that is.

My name is Zachary Stockill, and since 2013, I’ve been helping men and women from all over the world overcome retroactive jealousy and save relationships.

If you’d like more information about my work or you’d like to work with me one-on-one, please visit this link.

Recently, I stumbled upon a quote that I felt compelled to share. It’s from Thomas Sowell, a well-known American economist.

However, most of the topics he explores are unrelated to relationships. They pertain to governmental policy and economics. So, if those subjects don’t interest you, you might not enjoy them.

But anyway, this quote pertains to economics, the functioning of the state and the government, and basic economics principles. Yet, it’s incredibly applicable to relationships.

So, I’ll read the quote from Thomas Sowell:

“There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs, and you try to get the best trade-off you can get. That’s all you can hope for.”


Trade-offs are a topic I often talk about on this blog and elsewhere. I stress the importance of recognizing the trade-offs in your life because I think many people miss them.

In my opinion, this oversight limits their peace of mind and happiness in their relationships and life.

In other words, many people are searching for perfection, wanting to find the perfect partner, relationship, home, or city to live in.

They want to raise perfect kids, and they’re after the perfect job. You get my drift. Many people are constantly looking for something unattainable, which is perfection. And I endlessly say this on this channel because I feel strongly about it.

Perfection does not exist. If you look for it, you will drive yourself and others crazy.

The perfect man doesn’t exist. Likewise, the perfect woman isn’t out there. The perfect relationship doesn’t exist, nor does the perfect city to live in or the perfect home to buy.

In everything in life, there are always some trade-offs involved; or, some element of that person or place or thing that is slightly undesirable. That is slightly unsatisfying.

But that’s life. And anytime we try to deny that or pretend that perfection actually does exist, it holds us back from peace of mind and true and sustainable happiness.

Let’s discuss this quote on trade-offs, especially regarding relationships, which is why I wanted to talk about it today and create this video.

When you’re in a relationship, it’s beneficial to remember that there will likely be a challenging trade-off or a difficult flip side to almost every characteristic you appreciate in your partner.

And in any relationship, there will be certain things that you love about your partner, but there might be something you don’t love associated with that thing you love.

So let me give you a classic example…

Imagine you’re a man looking to date a beautiful woman—who wouldn’t think of that? It’s clear that men are highly visual beings; we are drawn to beautiful women.

Many guys desire a pretty girlfriend or wife, emphasizing the importance of physical attraction. Indeed, physical beauty holds significant value for many men.

Well, guess what? What’s the trade-off involved there? If you date a beautiful woman and you stay with her for the rest of your life, and for the rest of her life, she is going to attract attention from other men.

You’ll find men circling, trying to slide into her direct messages…

She will have guys flirting with her at the gym or the grocery store. She’ll encounter men who can’t help but call out to her as she walks down the street.

She will have men paying attention to her and proclaiming their interest in her for the rest of her life simply because she’s beautiful.

And that’s just how the world operates. To be clear, I am not condoning catcalling, creepy male behavior, or anything similar. I’m merely pointing out the reality of the world we live in.

Many men proclaim their interest in women, even when they know that woman is attached to someone else who doesn’t hold them back from, you know, trying to slide into their DMS or whatever.

That’s the way the world works. So you want beauty, but if you do want beauty, you need to make peace with the relationship trade-off involved…

You need to make peace with the trade-off involved because there will be somewhat of a downside associated with that trade-off.

Now, speaking for myself, I want to date a beautiful woman, and that trade-off doesn’t concern me much. It doesn’t really matter to me because I trust my partner.

But anyway, I understand that many guys struggle with making that trade-off.

For another example, let’s say you’re more introverted and dating someone who is very extroverted and likes to talk a lot.

So, you might look at that situation and think, “Geez, I just want a bit more quiet sometimes. Why is this person talking constantly? I would just like a little more peace and quiet.”

However, a positive trade-off might be associated with that slight downside of them always talking.

Maybe they help you get out of your shell a bit more; maybe they encourage you to be a little more self-reflective because you’re engaged in conversation regularly, and you’re an introvert.

And if you didn’t have this person, maybe you’d stay in your shell a little bit more, maybe you wouldn’t be social, maybe you wouldn’t be talking to other people at parties. Or maybe you wouldn’t have the friends that you now have, because your partner is more extroverted, bringing more people into your world around you.

Let’s use a retroactive jealousy example because I know many viewers of my channel are struggling with retroactive jealousy.

Let’s say you have a strong sexual appetite, which is common among many guys. And many women also desire a lot of sex.

If you’re looking for a relationship where you want frequent, adventurous sex and want to try new, fun, and kinky things, remember: there might be a trade-off involved, depending on how you see it.

So if you want to bring someone like that in your life, there’s a high likelihood that they’re going to have a history of having some sex, maybe a lot of sex, maybe more sex than you feel comfortable with.

But that’s life. And that kind of a situation is somewhat difficult to avoid if you want to bring in someone in your life who’s highly sexually adventurous, who’s sexually open, and all the rest.

This kind of trade-off exercise can be an interesting thought experiment for anyone in a relationship.

So, sit down and think of three things that you find challenging about your partner. These can be personality, traits, characteristics, etc., and then try to think of three positive things that are associated with those negative things.

Think of the trade-offs involved that you could be overlooking that could actually benefit your life.

Similarly, think of three things you love about your partner, and then try to think of three trade-offs involved in that as well.

a happy couple

Consider the negative flip side of the things you enjoy or appreciate. The key point is to understand that there’s a trade-off involved in nearly every aspect of life.

There will be trade-offs, no matter who you bring into your life on a long-term basis, who you love, or what kind of relationship you’re in.

But that’s life. Perfection doesn’t exist. There will always be some trade-off involved, and the more you can make peace with that fact, the better your life will be.

Click here to sign up for a free four-part mini-course that will help you get started beating retroactive jealousy.

Or, if you need more help, then you can consider signing up for one-on-one coaching with me. [Subject to availability]

Zachary Stockill
Zachary Stockill

Hi! I'm a Canadian author and educator whose work has been featured in BBC News, BBC Radio 4, The Huffington Post, and many other publications. I'm the founder of, the author of Overcoming Retroactive Jealousy and The Overcoming Jealousy Workbook, and the host of Humans in Love podcast.