Why Do We Have Expectations? (Part 2)

expectations_2Why expectations kill everything.

What are expectations and why do we have them?

When we move out and begin college and a career on our own, these childhood experiences begin to shape our budding worldview. In the first example (from the previous post), a woman may feel a strong distrust of men. She may secretly desire a man because she never had a good father figure. However, while she throws herself into many relationships, she may find herself expecting failure and more significantly expecting men to break her trust.

In other words, while we often desperately search for what we do not have, we simultaneously expect to never find it. We want love, but if we’ve had failed relationships, we expect rejection.

A guy in that situation may react totally different. His ideals for relationships may express themselves in the strong desire never to be like his rather. He may also find himself valuing strong independent women who he can’t control because he saw the devastating effects of his mother’s apathy on his family. He may ultimately view women as weak and in some ways may end up emulating his father in that he will approach relationships with a dominant attitude (despite hating the way his father treated his mother).

In other words, we often become what we hate. We run away from it but in running away from it are forced to adapt some of its attributes.

Thus we create our ideals for each level of the relationship. At the dating level we may develop certain expectations that will vary widely from one person to another. A few examples:

  • no flirting with other girls
  • sexually excusive
  • no sex because we aren’t married
  • call me at least once a day
  • flowers on valentine’s day
  • no more lunch dates with guy friends
  • tell me what you are doing before you do it
  • yes we’re dating but I’m still open to a better option

I’m sure you can already see the challenge. If my mindset has been shaped to think that when you are dating me you are not allowed to flirt with anyone else and your belief system states that flirting is ok as long as you don’t get physical…we’re going to disagree and have a bit of conflict.

Now some people suggest that communication can solve this problem. Just communicate what you expect so that the other person knows how to act. However that is presuming that your expectations are valid and are the way the relationships should be run. Who’s right? Who has to sacrifice? Who gets the right of way when two ideals are in a collision course?…. [to be continued]


Author: Jesse Leake

Questions? Need advice or want to share your story? thelovemanifesto@gmail.com

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14 thoughts on “Why Do We Have Expectations? (Part 2)

  1. Having never made it past the starting point of a serious relationship, I always expect rejection. I strive to make my desires match up with my expectations, but it isn’t always easy.

  2. I believe relationships are 60/40… Sometimes you’re the giver, sometimes the taker. Communicate what you expect. If your partner isn’t willing/able to give it, you have to make a choice… Is this something you’re willing to compromise on? If not, don’t invest anymore energy in the relationship. If you are willing, move ahead. It’s all about give and take.

    1. I agree with you. And that is where your personal boundaries come into play. You have to have boundaries. Certain behaviors you do not accept. Others behavior is negotiable. And as you said communication is key.

  3. Expectations are dangerous. Too high or demanding, they guarantee failure because few people are willing to live up to them. Negative expectations usually come true. No matter which direction you look, expectations have no silver lining. Unfortunately a lot of assumptions are ingrained in us from a young age.

    My challenge is to remove the need for give and take. True love after all is not based on conditions. I feel such satisfaction from giving love so I do. I don’t expect returns because I don’t need any. But it is still essential to find someone who doesn’t take you for granted. Give love and eventually you’ll find someone who loves you back without even waiting for you to ask.

    1. I don’t think we are capable of loving forever without receiving love in return. That is why even without expectations you may find it necessary to leave a relationship because all you do is give. The human soul is not capable of giving constantly without being refilled and replenished.

      1. I definitely see where you’re coming from. Practically, who wants to be in a relationship that’s one-sided? That’s not a relationship at all. I see relationships as reflections – you recognize yourself in the other who reflects you like a mirror. And if it the reflection is reciprocal, LOVE!! Miraculously, this removes the defining words “give” and “take”. You just… ARE.

        I guess I’m arguing spiritual semantics but from my perspective, the belief that the human soul will eventually “run out” of love is negative and puts earthly limitations on it. I believe wholeheartedly that the EGO believes it cannot give forever, because the nature of the ego is selfish. If we were to strip down the human soul, remove boundaries and all identifications, I think we would be amazed at what the soul is capable of.

        Plus, the human soul can always replenish itself, for it already holds the love within… Just my thoughts 😉

        1. Interesting thoughts for sure. Maybe a bit deeper than I was getting at. I do really like what you said about simply being who you are rather than a give and take approach. I had not thought of it that way but I like your perspective. I think finding someone who let you just be you is what we all truly want. However we don’t want to be ourselves the way we not actually fall but the best self we can be if that makes sense. You want somebody who helps you be your best self.

  4. “That is presuming that your expectations are valid and are the way the relationships should be run.” – Where we all hit the wall. And it’s in realizing that the other person doesn’t always think like I do, and that maybe I need to change…the beginning of freedom, whether the relationship lasts or not. I will always have to adjust and communicate and be accepting. That is life together. And for me, it is better together, than alone. Thanks for this one!

  5. you’re just so on target with all of this. no one ever likes to be wrong – hence why in society in many ways people don’t accept responsibility for themselves ever (or so it feels like anymore). as for expectations – it, like most things, is about that balance but it’s so hard to find it within yourself, let alone with another person. i totally agree with the other commenter about it being give and take. you can’t just give and you can’t just take all the time – nothing will last that way let alone a relationship. i think when single and looking for love – it’s about having appropriate expectations such as not being willing to accept lying or an abusive nature. having a laundry list of expectations such as – he must be tall, have the perfect job, etc., is not realistic. i think you said it to someone else also about negotiation is also important – what’s negotiable and what isn’t. great posts! can’t wait for what else you have to say.

    1. One reason why I advocate being friends first before dating. So you can find out those non negotiable aspects about someone before you even get into the committed dating world. So many people rush in to dating someone who they would never be compatible with if they would just take the time to realize they’re fundamental differences. However aspects such as sex and insecurity cause us to rush into relationships without thinking.

  6. I’m trying to link my page to yours and vice versa as this is totally in line with what I talk about in my chapter Start With You. The scary thing is that sometimes our expectations or belief systems are so subconscious we do not even know we are attracting or emanating what we have experienced before. I think there is a huge difference between expectation and boundaries though. Boundaries are imperative as they enable us to know ourselves: what we will and won’t stand for, who we are as people and how we would like to be treated. I look forward to reading more.


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