I Am Afraid To Have Any Expectations While Dating. But I Hope This Will Change.
It’s not difficult to survive a breakup; by now you know the drill. You know that you’ll feel terribly sad for a while, listen to Adele’s Someone Like You on loop and cry into a pillow for a few nights. Then things will begin to get better and you will realise, you can live without them after all. You transition to listening to Taylor Swift’s We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together and feel the pieces of your heart binding again. We’ve all been through it and now, it doesn’t even hurt so much anymore because we’ve known the temporary nature of things way too well.
But do you know what’s really difficult to survive? It’s the phase you are in the relationship, while it slowly rips off your faith in love, one disappointment at a time. I say it’s difficult to survive because while you can obviously breakup and get done with it but you can’t do it unharmed, unscathed.
I have been dating since I was 16 but that time heartbreak only meant feeling like you won’t ever love again, and being proved wrong by the next cutie. But then you grow up and realise that relationships are more complicated than that. It was the last two breakups that really managed to alter my belief in love as much as in my ability to make sound choices. I mean, I picked one narcissist after the other. At this point, I can’t even trust myself to pick the right starter when I go out.
My exes were so self-centered that if I compare our relationship to sex, they’d be masturbation. And over the course of the precious years of my youth that I unproductively spent dating them, I cumulated emotional damage that fucked up my ability to have expectations from a romantic interest. That and a few jarring and scarring casual romances (how else do we intoxicate ourselves ironically to fill the void?)
Let me tell you, I am not high-maintenance at all. In fact, if cheap thrills had a face, it would be me. Yet, they made me feel like I expected too much or if my expectations weren’t justified. Yeah, expecting my boyfriend (who lived 10 mins away from me) to see me at midnight on my birthday was a bit much. Point is, I realised I am carrying this emotional baggage with me and I am afraid to expect anything from my romantic interests. If you’ve been let down too, then you’ll probably relate to the reasons I listed down after careful introspection. Why are we so afraid to expect? I am no expert, but this is what I think…
1) Because I told myself if I don’t expect, it won’t hurt
I think I used it as a shield to protect myself from the hurt and now even though I am no longer in that relationship, I still find it difficult to expect. But honestly, is it really possible to not expect in the long run? I hope not and I hope that the next time I do, it won’t break my heart.
2) I don’t know where I stand
I’d like to blame it on the millennial way of dating because at this point, do we really know where we stand with someone? You may be hanging out every weekend, whispering sweet nothings, and he’d be looking at you with the most meaningful eyes. And yet, when it comes to defining things…it simmers down to “I am not ready for a relationship”, “I do like you but…” and other equivalents. So how do you even know how much and what can you actually expect?
3) I want someone to do things anyway…
As depressing as this story is, I am actually quite an optimistic and hopelessly hopeful person. I want someone (and I believe he exists somewhere) who will do things anyway, without me having to lay down my expectations. I want someone who will be willing to put every effort and I’d happily do the same for him. Ah, look, I am expecting again!
4) I don’t want to lose my faith in love to disappointment
We thrive on love. It brings a little magic in our otherwise mundane world. Which is why, I want to hold on to my faith. And if I expect from an unworthy candidate and face disappointment again, I am afraid I’d give up trying. It shouldn’t be that way and we must love like we’ve never been hurt. But then again, it’s easier said than done.
5) Because I don’t want the other person to feel rushed and scare them off
I understand that it’s not just me carrying around my emotional baggage like it’s a Vuitton! Almost all of us come with luggage! We are protective of our hearts and nobody likes to rush in. What if I expect too much too soon and it just scares them off? Life was good when the only calculations you had to do was in your math exam!