Dating and FIRE – Your Love or Your Life?

Being a singleton and dating (your life partner) could potentially have severe consequences on your FIRE journey and end date. Not forgetting life beyond FIRE.

If you’re on the same page, then hunky dory, morning glory. If not, it could be a tumultuous ride.

couple in love - dating and fire

But maybe it’s not as straightforward as that. Love is a funny old thing.

Before I dive into the present and discuss dating and FIRE, I wish to provide you with a little context with my dating background. I’ve presented all my quarterly income reports up until now…but that’s about it.

I must sound like a riot.

Hence, I wish to give you more of an insight into my earlier life and give you a bit of a chuckle.

If you wish to skip my dating life and progress to the good stuff below, just click here.

I’d also like to say, the enthusiasm and energy I exude for the FIRE movement is every bit the same I exuded for the dating game back in the day. I gave it my 100%.

‘The Game’ Era

I was never Mr popular at school, hence I never had a proper girlfriend. I was a bit of a nerd. I was performing magic tricks whilst the cool kids were at the back of the bike sheds. University was better, but I still struggled with the opposite sex. Then a few years down the line (back in 2005), a friend introduced me to ‘The Game’, by Neil Strauss.

Some may say, it was about the art of seduction (I’m sure many women will disagree) but it was about building an inner confidence. This book changed my life. A bold statement. But it opened up a brave new world and introduced me to new concepts and improved my personal development.

I was based in Dublin at the time and we would all go out ‘sarging’ (in the pursuit of women) on a Saturday night. Corny one-liners didn’t cut the mustard anymore, it was all about the canned opener. My repertoire was the ‘Jealous girlfriend routine’ and the ‘Best friends test’. The reaction was surprisingly good (most of the time).

First of all, I had to overcome approach anxiety. I read anything you can think of, to overcome fear (Susan Jeffers, ‘Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway’). It was baby steps, starting off with the opening of ‘two sets’, then moving onto ‘three sets’ etc. I even broke down a ‘seven set’ (7 girls in one big group) in my prime.

This is how we rolled:

  1. Approach (come in high energy)
  2. Canned Opener (spark her interest through a short routine)
  3. Demonstrate Value (through storytelling and threading)
  4. Use Neg Theory on the Target (lower her self-esteem…but don’t insult her…half way between a compliment and an insult)
  5. Isolate the Target (naturally remove the girl you’re interested in from the set)
  6. Kino Escalation (touch her lightly on the arm, judge scenario carefully with body language)
  7. Kiss Close (move in for the kill)
  8. Number Close (always get the digits)

Did this shit actually work? It did. It got us that step closer to women and we all got girlfriends/ wives out of it eventually. Seriously.

At my peak (when I had everything internalized, and honed my confidence) I was unstoppable. There was one evening in particular, when I traveled back to my home city, to meet up with friends. It was the summer of 2006.

We walked into a bar in a popular hotspot of the city, and within a few minutes (I kid you not), this girl walked up to us. She wanted to speak to me in particular. I didn’t need to use game or anything.

As I say, it was all internalized at this stage. I may have ‘negged’ her (hey, I didn’t want to look easy). Within another 5 minutes, I had to apologize to my friends and I walked out of the bar with her.

There’s a special codename mentioned in The Game for this particular interaction. It’s known as ‘Fools mate’. I’ll say no more.

We got in early. However, there were ‘lairs’ (groups of predatory men) starting to appear all over the country due to this book. Women were starting to cotton on.

We felt we had to go bigger, to stave off the competition. We ended up studying Neuro-linguistic programming, to ‘read’ girls. We ran complex routines using, ‘The Cube’, by Annie Gottlieb. Hell, I was even reading women’s palms in pubs (I got trained up through a guide).

We would do anything to be the best in ‘our trade’ and to pursue women. And that’s the thing. It just got too weird towards the end.

It was so premeditated. I look back at all this and cringe. I’m embarrassed about it all.  But I hope I’m always embarrassed by anything I’ve done 12 years earlier.  I hope to be embarrassed by this post in twelve years from now. Because then I know I’m growing and changing.

After a couple of years, The Game waned. Women became immune to it and everything went back full circle.

“Fancy a drink love?”

It’s been years since I enrolled in ‘The Game’.  But The Game led to several years of self-development, more partners and being a better version of myself (minus all the silly routines).

Dating and FIRE

So, back to the now. Back to reality.

How do Singletons on FIRE approach the dating world?

dating and fire

As an extreme example, I validated this scenario a couple of weeks back. I invited a first date to a FIRE Meetup I was hosting. For a start, I have an introverted nature. Hence, not only was I anxious about the Meetup, I had to entertain my first date during the session.

Why? On a positive note, I was demonstrating value (not in monetary terms, but taking a lead and having a healthy interest) straight off the bat. And it killed 2 birds with the one stone.

However, it felt a bit weird. Like she entered some cult. I had to Whatsapp her (from the bar) during the Meetup to explain what was going on. To reassure her everything was ok.

Secondly, it’s not really a good idea for a prospective partner to find out about your FIRE journey (not at the casual dating stage anyway), especially the income reports.

As it happens, it turned out ok.  But I wouldn’t do it again.

Otherwise, how do you know if the relationship will turn out to be a transformational or transactional one? There’s a high probability for the latter…and we don’t want that.

Transactional Relationships

What do I mean about transactional relationships?

“You’re a good man Stefano” – in other words, you’ll make a great substitute father for my kid
“You have honest eyes Stefano” – in other words, you’re the next mug that will pay for everything

These were real-life scenarios I encountered in my lifetime. I’ve heard them all…and that’s without them knowing about my FIRE fund.

I’ve even had two women propose to me on the first date (not at the same time though…that would be something).  These were tri-lingual, highly intelligent women, with high caliber careers (and bloody gorgeous to boot).  But…subconsciously I was no more than a sperm donor. It took me a while to get my head around this one for obvious reasons.

This really was a ‘love or your life’ scenario. Because love can be a selfish game.  Maybe I’ll discuss more in another post…

Now that we’re on the road to FIRE (or even FIRED), we have to be careful what we tell a prospective partner in the casual dating stage.

Will they have a positive or negative effect on your journey? It sounds selfish, but we’ve spent a good chunk of our lives grafting, planning and making sacrifices to get to this stage.

As I say, it’s maybe best not to highlight too much, too soon. Otherwise, we might attract all the wrong partners, for all the wrong reasons.

Transformational Relationships

What us singletons on FIRE need, are transformational relationships. What I mean is:

  • Both parties are interested in financial security
  • Both parties have a frugal mindset
  • Both parties prioritize having time over ‘stuff’
  • Both parties lifestyle and life goals should align

Your prospective life partner doesn’t necessarily need to be making lots of money/ have lots of investments.  But they do need to have some financial intelligence.

The Ultimate Match? – FIRE Man and FIRE Woman

Perhaps those FIRE Meetups are subconsciously a way for FIRE singletons to find their prospective life partner?

Of course, an ideal scenario is a FIRE man and a FIRE woman hooking up. We can double up our resources and sing from the same hymn sheet.  Isn’t life a dream?

But you can’t hurry love, as Phil Collins used to say. And money certainly can’t buy love (well, maybe 10 minutes of love in a South Korean Kiss Bang), as the Fab 5 used to sing. You really can’t plan for this sort of thing.

On paper, it sounds like the perfect match.  Having their financial house in order is a pre-requisite, but unfortunately, it’s not everything.

the ultimate match - fire and dating

We should also be looking for:

  • GSOH
  • Empathy/ Emotional Availability
  • Warmth and Kindness
  • Shared  interests
  • Compatible personality
  • Share the same core values
  • Someone who values experiences over stuff

I think we have to be a bit more flexible with our requirements.

Your prospective life partner is more important than their bank account.

Potential FIRE Questions on a First Date

So, you want to get a feel for the person’s financial background. But feel uncomfortable asking directly.

“Excuse me Miss/ Sir, what’s your current Savings rate?” They’ll run a country mile.

Here are some potential FIRE questions to ask under the radar:

    1. “What’s a typical weekend in X (his/ her city) for Y (the name of your partner)” – This could provide an insight to their spending habits and lifestyle costs.
    2. “What’s the dream?” – A subtle way of asking what their goals are. You can gain a little insight to their future and core values in life.  Is this all whimsical though? You can align their present-day chat with their dream response i.e. is their dream a realistic one…are they on course to building up to their dream?
    3. In response to number 1. “Wonderful…what’s stopping you from reaching this dream?” – this may reveal any skeletons in the closet i.e. debt.
    4. You could make a statement such as (only as a follow up to point number 1), “My big dream is to travel the world and retire early” This wouldn’t look too out of place or arrogant, as it’s only a dream. The key thing here is to gauge their response. Instigate how far they’re on their FIRE journey (or not).
    5. “What would you do if you won the lottery?”  – The answer to this can tell you a lot about their character and whether you’re dealing with a splurger or a saver. Maybe they have a giving/ charitable side to their nature?
    6. “What is your ideal home?” – Perhaps a way of sussing out if they’re one for keeping up with the Jones…an inflated lifestyle. Or maybe they may reveal a minimalist side to their nature.

potential fire questions - fire and dating

They don’t necessarily need to have all their ducks in a row.  You’re looking for a potential partner here.

Tried and Tested

I validated these questions with another young lady recently.

One thing I would say is, you may have to spread these questions out over two dates.  Otherwise, you may put your poor date under pressure. You should be in a position to make a full assessment, after these 6 questions.  As a minimum, 3 of the questions may be enough.

I’ll also say, don’t jump to conclusions too quickly. My date proposed meeting at a posh bistro for lunch, in an affluent neck of the woods.  My FIRE shield activated straight away and I started to have all these doubts in my head.

When I arrived at the restaurant, I discovered they had a set menu (specials) for lunch.  When your one turned up, she went straight for the specials (as she had been there before).

Here’s the damage:

(2-course meal, including 1 drink) x 2 = 8.21gbp. Magic.

Be open-minded.  Give your potential partner a chance.

Disadvantages of being on the FIRE journey And Dating

I haven’t FIRED yet. But sometimes my day to day living appears to be that of someone who has FIRED.

  • I’m a contractor, so sometimes I have a little downtime. Unfortunately, some women pick this up as being on the dole.  Now I tell any prospective partner I’m working from home (even if I’m not).
  • Because you’re not working, and having no future plan for your career as such, it may come off as looking unambitious.  Of course, it couldn’t be further from the truth.  However, sometimes it’s difficult to portray this.

Hence, the FIRE thing can backfire for you if you don’t play your cards right.

FIRE Calculations And Paying for A Prospective Partner

After a play around with some FIRE figures, I calculate it’ll cost me an extra 10k per annum to look after a lady. If I keep up my traditional ways i.e. paying for more things than her.  I’ve accounted for that.

fire costs with partner - fire and dating

And there’s not even a Louis Vuitton handbag in that calculation.

I’m a traditionalist, I’ve always paid (mostly) for a woman. Even when she insists on paying. Or am I a soft touch?

I read that some guys just double their magic number to take women into account.

Should it be 50/50 in this day and age though? 

I vividly remember during ‘The Game’ days, my friend deliberately not paying for his date’s cinema ticket. This was a guy who had honed ‘neg theory’. Well, it backfired that night. What I’m saying is, there’s a thin line between paying and not paying for a partner.

I know another contractor who’s going out with a woman, because of her pension. He more or less brags about it. The ‘deal’ is, she gets to be a ‘kept woman’ and he gets to enjoy her pension when she retires in 8 years time. Hmmm. Each to their own.

I would err on the side of caution i.e. pay for more things. But not for everything.  I certainly wouldn’t put my life on hold for something, that may or may not happen.

Finances Are The Number One Cause of  Most Break-Ups

Asking the right questions (as seen earlier) in advance is mandatory if you wish a potentially stress-free relationship.

Divorce lawyers have nicknamed 8th January ‘Divorce Day’ as they expect to see a spike in inquiries of couples looking to break up.

The first working Monday of the year after Christmas is “a busy day,” according to Slater and Gordon, a law firm based in the UK. The legal firm says it often sees an increase in couples feeling unhappy in their relationships at this time of year when spending more time together over the festive period can cause underlying marital troubles to surface.

Financial pressures are the main reason for relationships to fall apart, a survey by the company found.

In the study of 2,093 people:

  • over a third (37 percent) of respondents said money worries are the biggest challenge to their marriage
  • with one in five (21 percent) blaming financial pressures on their partner.
  • around 16 percent had argued with their husband or wife about money in the last week
  • more than a quarter (26 percent) said it was the root of most of their rows.

finance and break ups - dating and fire

“Although it is a happy time for many, relationships which are already showing cracks are likely to buckle under the added pressure and expense that Christmas brings,” Slater and Gordon lawyer Lorraine Harvey explained.

“Money is always a common issue and if one person feels that their partner is not pulling their weight financially or at least trying to then it can very quickly cause resentment to grow.”

FIRE Dating Website

With an ever-growing FIRE scene with continuous growth, is there a demand for a niche app or a website for FIRE lovers?

You could possibly hire a developer to set up an API to extract their brokerage metrics, along with their Facebook and LinkedIn data.  However, sometimes one plus one doesn’t equal two.

Maybe there’s another way. I got talking with a young lady from Florida last week, after a meditation session. It was actually a first date with another young lady (I know, I’m a bloody nightmare), but somehow my one on one coffee date turned into a Chakra healing camp (don’t ask). Where we sat in the middle of a public park, chanting until the wee hours.

Anyhoo, this young lady from Florida was actually the matchmaker for a new start-up in the US and Canada – Tawkify (arriving in Europe in the near future).  They’ve done away with algorithms that cost $$$ to tweak and raise questions whether they actually work. These algorithms are now being replaced with real human beings. Personal data concierges to be exact.

So, maybe there’s room for something like this in the FIRE community….human FIRE matchmakers. Maybe when the volume picks up?

Takeaway

There’s no magic formula. Women and Men are complex creatures.  Personally, I don’t think any algorithm can figure out.

Everyone is becoming desensitized with this ‘swipe’ culture.  I don’t think much good can come from it, certainly not a steady, long-term relationship.

Although it helps, there’s much more to a prospective life partner than their contribution towards their annual ISA/ SIPP allowance.  We must look deeper, beyond their finances. But…they must have some financial savvy.

Hence, having quality communication, not long after the casual dating stage about personal finances can help alleviate unneeded stress further down the line.

Perhaps we need to build in a buffer to our FIRE fund, to account for a prospective life partner?

And love cannot be forced. As Neil Strauss (or was it David D’Angelo) put it – ‘Attraction is not a choice’.

Now I would like to hear from you in the comments:

How is the FIRE and dating scene working out for you?

Should we ‘go dutch’ with our partner, with regards to payments?

Have you come across any other challenges in this area?

Thanks for reading.

 

 

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