Love On Your Terms: Are Your Expectations Too High?
If you ask a woman what she expects of her man and her relationship, chances are she’ll say, “everything.” And for the most part, you should want to get the most out of love and commitment. The problem is we feel entitled to love and commitment the way we want it, not realizing that our potential partner might have his own view of what love entails. We all define commitment differently – one size doesn’t fit all and no one person’s idea of love and happiness is right or wrong. If you find that you always feel unloved because you can’t get your partner to love you on your terms, perhaps you should consider the fact that you have unrealistic expectations as it pertains to relationships. Unsure? Ask yourself these questions.
Do You Expect Him to Read Your Mind?
Women have a tendency to expect their man to know exactly what they’re thinking, what they’re feeling or what they’re angry about. How many times has your man asked you what’s wrong, only for you to reply “nothing,” when in fact you’re fuming over something he said or did? Then we get angry when he simply says, “okay” and kicks up his feet to watch Sports Center. Now we’re even more upset, because we feel that he doesn’t care about what’s bothering us. We would prefer for him to chase us until we feel he’s begged enough and we decide on our own timeline when to tell him what’s REALLY wrong. And it’s childish.
Men and women are not mind readers, yet some of us don’t express ourselves freely for fear of being misunderstood, appearing weak or being ignored completely. We think no good will come from telling him how we feel because men “simply don’t understand,” underestimating our partner’s ability to listen and empathize. So instead, we vent to our girlfriends or stew around the house instead of doing the grown-up thing and talking to our man about our feelings, likes, dislikes and concerns. If this is you, put your grown woman panties on and share your feelings rather than avoid them. Make statements, not judgments. Be vulnerable, yet direct and admit when you’re angry or hurt. And don’t attack him for not knowing what he did to upset you. Sometimes men simply don’t know. You’d be surprised at just how willing he is to listen.
Do You Think You Can Change or Train Him?
All human beings have strengths and weaknesses, and it’s up to us to improve our own lives every day. But for some of us, we set our sights on “fixing” our mates rather than taking a look at ourselves in the mirror and identifying areas of improvement we can make at home.
While there is nothing wrong with encouraging your man to be the best he can be and pushing him to his full potential, realize that who he is now is also who you must accept – flaws and all. And just as you want your partner to be everything in your eyes, you should also want to be everything in his. This requires that you both work at being your best selves at all times, not just you trying to mold him into your ideal man. Having realistic expectations means realizing that no one is perfect, and you must accept your partner for who he is at this very moment rather than trying to change him into an impossible image of who you think he SHOULD be. You won’t be settling for less, you’ll be settling for better.
Do You Say “If You Loved Me, You’d…”?
Most times, we use this statement to gain control of our partner sending the message that your idea of love and commitment is right, while theirs is wrong. So we say to him, “If you loved me, you’d marry me today” or “If you loved me, you’d send me roses on Valentine’s Day.” Most men show love in ways that women don’t deem as romantic, like taking our cars to get detailed. Instead, we want him to get his cues from something we saw in a movie once. Maybe he does loves you, but he just doesn’t show you in ways that make you feel all tingly inside. That doesn’t mean he loves you any less. He may feel that if you loved HIM, you’d accept that he sometimes forgets to make dinner reservations for the anniversary of the first time you said “I love you” or that he thought you’d enjoy the new set of tires he put on your ride. If you can’t accept your mate’s version of love, then set him free to be with a person who appreciates a man who shows her that he appreciates her in his own way. If you’re not compatible, that’s fine…but realize that just because he doesn’t love you on your terms doesn’t mean that he doesn’t truly love you.
Do You Base Your Idea of Love on Chick Flicks?
Some women have an idea of love and relationships that are based on fantasy, not real life. They feel their level of passion should match the intensity of Love Jones’ Nina and Darius or Sex and The City’s Carrie and Big – and if it falls short, it must not be true love. So we hold out for that deep, romantic love where our hero chases us through a train station or flies to Paris to sweep us off our feet, not realizing that such nonsense is strictly for the movies. We blow off the nice guy who doesn’t make our heart stop, but is caring and reliable. We decide that it would be “settling” if we forego the intense fireworks of a kiss in the rain for the stable companionship of a man who would make a great husband and father one day. It’s not until we’re 45 years old with 6 cats that we realize long-term love isn’t a passion-fest – it’s a commitment. Love is what you make it, and who you make it with.
Do You Think “The One” Comes in a Specific Package?
You are attracted to tall men who can make you laugh, so you ignore the guy at the party who has everyone in stitches because he stands at a staggering 5 feet, 6 inches. You stalk the self-absorbed jerk at the gym because he has amazing biceps, but turn your nose up at the bald guy with the little gut who puts fresh flowers on your desk in the morning. Many women feel the love of their lives must be a 6 feet tall Adonis who graduated at the top of his class from Harvard and has the comedic timing of Kevin Hart. He’s also never been married, has no children and has a perfect credit score and all of his teeth. But guess what? Your perfect man probably won’t look like that at all. Not even a little bit.
Of course it’s important to be attracted to your partner, but you have to be attracted to more than just his face or his body. Make sure your partner is also someone you respect intellectually, emotionally and spiritually who appreciates you. Looks fade, muscles atrophy and sex diminishes, so make sure the person you’re left with is still someone you want to talk to and be near who will remain in the trenches with you in a true partnership. Open your eyes to what is really important in a mate and accept the gift of love…even if it’s wrapped a little differently.
Do You Expect Your Soulmate to Complete You?
If you’re convinced that there is only one soulmate out there who can fulfill all your needs, then you may find yourself alone for a long time. No one man will have all the requirements necessary to make you a whole person, no matter how kind, intelligent or emotionally stable he is. It doesn’t matter how compatible you are or if you have a strong physical connection, you will never feel completely in harmony if you look to others to make you happy. Don’t look to your man to meet your needs, take responsibility for your own life and happiness and then find someone who compliments you. Relationships are work, and the work starts with you. Place some expectations on yourself and see how reasonable they are before you place them someone else. If you want a happy and rewarding relationship, it can only develop from two whole people working to build something unique and special. Managing expectations doesn’t mean settling, it means setting reasonable expectations so that you give yourself a chance to be comfortable in a healthy relationship that has a chance to grow.