The thing about dating expectations is that sometimes, even when you don’t really have any, they can reach right around and bite you right in the butt.
It can be hard to keep expectations at a realistic level and that’s not even the half of it.
Why? Because there’s another person involved with expectations all their own.
Even at its simplest level, dating is full of expectations. From expecting the phone to ring to expecting an email to having high (or low) expectations for a date, they seem to invade our thoughts at every turn.
Even when we try to keep them at a realistic level, we have no control over the other party’s expectations. And that can be difficult especially if you don’t know what those expectations are.
Motives for dating
People date for all kinds of reasons. Some date to find a lifetime partner; others because they’re bored. Some people see it as a sort of social skills practice; others figure that by dating so many people they’ll eventually find the one they’re looking for. Some are dating to get laid. Still others are too polite to say NO even if they really aren’t feeling it.
Setting ourselves up with unrealistic expectations
This can easily set us up to have unrealistic expectations in dating. For example, if you are dating to find a lifetime partner and the great guy you’ve gone out with 3 or 4 times is into dating as a numbers game, you may very well have your expectations of the relationship set way too high.
Or what about the girl who keeps accepting a date with a guy she really has no interest in because she doesn’t know how to tell him NO? Is he in for a surprise or what? Sure, he is. He thinks she likes him when the reality is she’s probably only interested in him as a friend. His expectations are sure to be shattered.
How to avoid unrealistic expectations
There are a couple of ways to keep your dating expectations realistic and keep yourself grounded in reality.
Know what you want
The first thing you have to do is know what you want. Why are you dating? You have to know what you’re looking for.
If you are dating to find a lifetime partner, you’re going to want to date people who are looking for the same thing. If you’re dating several people hoping to find the right one, you darn sure don’t want to keep going out with someone looking for a lifetime partner. That’s how things get awkward and people get hurt.
Communication is the key
Never assume anything! If you think that great guy is dating several women and doesn’t think you have forever potential, you need to know that. And there’s no better way than to ask. Unless you have that dreaded exclusivity talk, all bets are off as far as he’s concerned.
Think he’s sleeping with just you? If he’s into dating casually, he may very well being sleeping with other women as well. You’d better talk to him and make sure if that’s not okay with you.
Like attracts like
Here’s the thing. It will be much easier to keep your dating expectations in line if you are dating people who are dating for the same reason you are. It’s that simple. If you’re both dating casually, there’s little room for error. Likewise, if you are both dating to find a lifetime partner.
That doesn’t mean it’s all gravy though. You still have to communicate your expectations and encourage the people you are dating to do the same. It’s much easier for everyone if you’re both on the same page.