In today’s video, I’m going to talk about having the right perspective on risk-management in dating and relationships.

Read or watch below to learn more about risk-management in relationships.

Zachary Stockill: Risk-management in relationships… This is something I’ve been interested in for a long time. This is something that I’ve created a lot of content about. And the reason I’m so interested in risk-management in relationships is that I think it’s important and not enough people talk about it. Not enough people take this into consideration before they enter into a long-term relationship or marriage. 

If you’re interested in risk management in your relationship, it’s important to not miss the forest for the trees, so to speak. It’s important to have the right perspective on risk management and not go overboard with it. 

So what is risk-management in relationships? This phrase refers to taking your time; being careful, selective, choosy, and aware when you’re dating someone, before you enter into a long-term relationship or marriage with them. Keeping your eyes and ears open, taking things slow, letting things naturally progress, letting things naturally take their course, and giving the person you’re dating time to show you who they really are. 

Because as I often say: if you give someone enough time to show you who they are through their actions, not their words, eventually, they will. 

risk-management in relationships

Because after almost 10 years of being a full-time coach, I’ve witnessed the consequences when people don’t take risk management in relationships seriously. And, when people overlook an entire parade of red flags when they’re dating someone; when people make crucial life decisions based on sheer impulse.

I’ve seen the consequences of what happens when you don’t take risk management into consideration. And when you jump into something too quickly, and when you don’t listen to what your friends and family are telling you about your partner. All these things…

It can totally destroy your life if you invite the wrong person into your life on a long-term basis. 

I’ve been on some really tough coaching calls with a lot of people who are experiencing the consequences of not taking risk management seriously, such as a nightmare breakup, such as a nightmare divorce. Or perhaps months, or sometimes even years of cheating and lying and deception. It can totally destroy your life if you invite the wrong person into it.

So all that throat clearing out of the way, risk management is extremely important. However, if you’re interested in risk-management in relationships, don’t go overboard. And remember that every relationship is a risk. Every single one.

Because a lot of people, when they talk about this issue, or when they think about risk management, there’s this subconscious assumption that they’ll meet someone where there will be zero risk; they’ll meet the “pure,” virgin girl or something like that, “where I’ll find this woman and there’ll never be any risk…

“She’ll be 100% loyal to me, there’ll be no uncertainty, and there will be zero risk involved in being with this person…”

Or sometimes, women will choose to marry the “safe bet;” you know, the safe guy with a good job. And, you know, very passive and he’s never going to be a risk to cheat, he’s never going to be a risk to stray, “we’re gonna love each other forever, there’s no risk…”

But it doesn’t exist. There is no relationship without some element of uncertainty. Every relationship is a risk. And it’s crucial to keep that in mind. Because if you focus too much on risk, you’re gonna miss analyzing the potential rewards of any relationship. This brings me to my next point:

Relationships are risk and reward. There’s a chance of risk, but there’s also the chance of incredible reward. 

risk-management in relationships

Marriage, in some ways, is the highest risk, highest reward choice that you’ll ever make. The potential benefits of a long-term relationship or marriage are voluminous. 

There are so many benefits to a good long-term relationship and a good long-term marriage. I’m sure you realize that, but I wanted to mention it because you may not be thinking about it enough. Many people seem to be solely concerned with looking for risks, and not thinking about the rewards. 

On a similar note, a friend of mine named Jordan did a video recently, which I thought was really good, on remembering to look for green flags, and not just red flags in your relationship. 

Focus on looking for green flags, and not just red flags in your relationship. 

It is important to be cognizant and to be aware of potential red flags. In other words, warning signs that a person you’re dating may not be the best choice for a long-term committed relationship.

However, also remember to think about your own green flags. Think about the things you want in a potential partner; signs or characteristics or gestures or qualities or traits that you see in someone else that could be a potential green flag, that could be a potential indicator of positive future behavior. 

… and any indication that this person is actually a great choice for a long-term relationship. Focus on the green flags, and not just the red flags. I’ll also remind you:

Look for patterns over perfection.

So as we’ve already covered, perfection does not exist. It doesn’t exist in relationships, doesn’t exist in other people. So don’t tell yourself, “Oh, she’s perfect,” “He’s perfect.” Perfection doesn’t exist. But you can and should look for patterns

In other words, if your partner is having a bad day, and she has some reaction that you don’t really like and she really takes it out on you. And there’s some kind of conflict there. 

Obviously, that’s not a great sign. That’s unpleasant, that’s not a great thing to be dealing with. However, if she has been incredible for months, and she’s having a bad day or even a bad week, obviously, the pattern is that she’s generally a kind, loving, supportive partner. The event where you had some kind of conflict is an exception. So focus on looking for patterns over perfection because perfection doesn’t exist. 

And if you go looking for perfection, in someone’s present, or past, you won’t find it because human beings aren’t perfect. 

Finally, I’d also remind you of something that one of my mentors, Caleb Jones, calls “the 10% rule.”

risk-management in relationships

The “10% rule” stipulates that there’s going to be 10% of anything that you love that isn’t going to be your favorite thing in the world. 

Maybe 10% that isn’t your favorite thing to deal with. Whether it’s your job, whether it’s your partner, whether it’s your kids. Now, you may love all of these things tremendously… 

But there’s going to be 10% involved that isn’t your favorite thing to deal with. Remember this when you’re engaged in risk-management in relationships.

You could have the most amazing date in the world. And she could be absolutely incredible, or he could be absolutely incredible. Still, there’s going to be 10% of their personality, maybe 10% of your interactions with them, or maybe even 10% of their past that isn’t your favorite thing in the world.

But again, we all have those moments. I don’t know about you, but there are a few nights in my 20s that I wish I could “take back.” Maybe 10% of Zach’s past that isn’t the best thing in the world, that my girlfriend doesn’t love thinking about. 

But guess what? That only makes up around 10%. And the person you’re dating is likely the exact same.

Now, obviously, the more this number rises, if it gets 15, 20, 25, 50 percent, then we’ve got serious problems.

But again, don’t look for perfection, look for patterns.

Finally, one more time, just to really emphasize this point: looking for red flags is important. But think about the green flags as well. Think about all the wonderful signs that they’re showing you. Think about that feeling in your gut that they give you when they walk into the room. 

Think about all the green flags and trust your intuition when it comes to that stuff. If the red flags outnumber the green flags, obviously we’ve got problems. But as you’re engaged in risk-management in your dating life, in your relationships, think about the green flags as well.

If you’re struggling with red flags, and you’re struggling with your partner’s past, then you can click here to sign up for a free four-part mini-course. Or, if you’re ready to put retroactive jealousy behind you for good, be sure to check out my flagship online course “Get Over Your Partner’s Past Fast”.

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.