Expectations And Its Damages

“Don’t expect anything.” Living in this modern day world as a woman in her mid 20s who is still unsure of where she fits in this society, it is quite the difficult task to “not expect anything.” We as humans set expectations to all our surroundings. Sometimes, these expectations are met and we are simply happy. But most of the time, we expect more out of our already met expectations. See what I mean? Dissecting this word “expectation” would be easiest when we look at it through a favorite topic of mine; love.

When I dated men in the past, my girl friends would always tell me “don’t expect anything.” Don’t expect him to text you first, don’t expect him to buy you dinner, don’t expect him to change for you and how all of these things would just set me up for disappointment. I would also give other women this advice when they were balled up in bed with a bowl of ice cream trying to figure out what went wrong in their lost relationship.

Honestly, I don’t know the true meaning of “not expecting anything” in a man. It’s okay to set high expectations for myself but not for in a man. This is politically correct, yes? I am a 25-year-old woman, with a solid career, a brain, an individualistic spirit, and respect for herself, and I have the right to expect all those things from a man. Why not? I have the right to expect him to call me, take me out on a nice date with the possibility of being handed flowers, and especially expect him to fight for me when the ride isn’t so fun anymore. As I set the bar of expectations for this man, he should do the same. As much as I’m allowed to have these basic expectations for a relationship to function normally, this man should be allowed to have these expectations as well.

So this is where the damage comes. Expectations are made by an inner hope and reach for something even better than the current status we are in. I said “even better.” Expectations are okay as long as they don’t create an unrealistic hope of something “even better.” I’ve done this one too many times before and have ended up blaming another person for not meeting my expectations. The thing that most people fail to realize in terms of what to hope for in a relationship is that you cannot expect a person to meet your expectations if that person’s heart isn’t on the same line as yours. Sometimes, we misconstrue what we see and feel from another and start creating unrealistic expectations.

There is a guy that comes to mind when I think of my blind sight hopes. I met him at an international arts festival in the eastern part of South Korea. We met and instantly clicked and for a while he never failed to meet my smaller expectations. He texted all the time, he took me out on lunch dates and helped me understand the mannerisms of the Korean people that I was always curious about because as a Korean-American it was difficult to understand. It was absolutely perfect. But the storm eventually came and the damage had been done. I expected him to be something more. He was a university student with a packed study schedule while I was living on my own in Korea working and building a career. Despite our differences, I didn’t care. I saw him as an equal and hoped he can make more time and dedicate this time to me. This was an expectation that just wasn’t working and as long as I expected the same thing, it wasn’t going to work. That is the strange thing about expectations you just create more and to be quite frank, it’s okay. It’s okay to expect things from another person as long as you can dish out the same. In this case, I expected him to give me his time when I wasn’t even sure if my heart was even on the line.

Expectations create heartache but we can’t help but to expect certain things or gestures from another person. It seems like an unfair concept but actually it is something that we as people who obviously have all these complicated emotions should try to come to an understanding. For me, I can’t expect someone I’m in love with to not call or text me. I can’t expect someone I love to not love me back because I would like to think that I have the loving characteristics to have that special someone love me in the way I love him. But if the outcome isn’t what I had hoped for, I wouldn’t put the blame on my expectations. That would be like saying I should not have loved in the first place. People can expect and people should expect. Without expectations, there is no start to anything whether that is a beautiful love story or a heartache that needs to move on. Set the bar for that clueless lover of yours where his or her hand can reach; not above the heavens though. TC mark

featured image – Unsplash / Fré Sonneveld

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