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Riding The Dating Expectation Rollercoaster? By Alpa Saujani

Expectation defined: A strong belief that something will happen or be the case.

In life we all have general expectations, we expect day to follow night, our car to take us from A to B and water to flow when we run the tap. But when it comes to dating and expectations, it’s often a completely different ball game, which if you’re not mindful can leave you on a bumpy emotional rollercoaster. When we impose expectations on others, which are not met, we feel disappointed, disheartened and can even adopt the role of a victim. However, if we take a step back and reflect, we often only have ourselves to blame and here are some real life examples, which may resonate with you...

Last night I had an interesting conversation with a male friend of mine. He’s really into a woman, who blows hot and cold. When she suggests meeting up, he clears his busy diary and gives her priority. However, when he suggests meeting up, she recites her busy schedule and he feels that she does not make the same effort as him. I quickly reminded him that he was still in the early stages of dating and asked him why he was feeling unhinged by it all? His response "I really like her and we have so much in common. I’m making a concerted effort and I guess I expect her to reciprocate. I am not really sure what to do, it’s driving me nuts..." Essentially, he was feeling frustrated based on an expectation that he had formed, which was not being met by this woman. But who’s at fault? The woman had not asked him to make her a priority, she did not tell him to put his social life on hold and keep a free schedule in case she got in touch, and nor were they in an exclusive committed relationship. I told him to stop mulling, if she’s not into him, in the way he is, then he needs to either move on, or start dating other women and just let this take it’s natural course.

Tina recently went on a date with Balraj, they had a great evening and he followed up by text on the same night, asking if she would like to meet him again. She replied with 'yes' and was riding the highs of cloud nine. Two weeks passed but Balraj did not got back in touch with her. With each passing day, she began feeling lower and lower, fighting the urge to contact him. On the third week, he sent her a casual text message, her mood lifted back onto a high. By the fourth week, he had not got back in touch again and her mood gradually declined. Whilst she’s right to be disappointed that he did not follow through on a second date , her expectations were far greater than the reality of the situation. Although she is keen to meet someone and settle down, this was simply a first date, not a promise of a long-term committed relationship, or a marriage proposal. By letting her expectations get the better off her, she started causing herself misery. If she really thought about it, why would she want to entertain the idea of being in a relationship with someone who cannot keep his word on a simple thing?

When Kavita met Suresh at a party, the chemistry was off the hook! On their first date, Suresh made it abundantly clear that he was not looking for a relationship but was happy to date casually. Smitten by Suresh, Kavita convinced herself that he only felt like this because he had not met the right woman and if she dated him, surely he would change his mind. They continued dating for a few months and she really fell for him. One night over dinner, she asked him to be her plus one at a friend’s wedding. He reminded her that this was a casual relationship and that he had no interest in meeting her friends, or being part of her wider world. The harsh reality hit Kavita, who at this point had already mentally planned their wedding! Despite Suresh telling her upfront what she can expect from him, Kavita chose to ignore it and believed that her expectations would triumph Suresh’s, leaving her heartbroken and disappointed.

When you're eager to meet someone and settle down, often it can be challenging to keep your expectations in check. After you've been dating for a while, each time you meet someone that you actually like, the hope that this is the one can kick-in and your expectations may start to inflate. At this point, one can risk losing sight of reality. But the thing about expectations is that they are built on something that does not actually exist, so when they are not met frequently you’re disappointed over 'what was not' rather than 'what actually is'...

The key thing to remember about expectations, is that they are personal to you, you created them and there is no law that they have to be abided by another. To stay off the emotional rollercoaster, you have to be grounded and mindful of your expectations by keeping them realistic to the context of the situation. Just because you’re prepared to go the extra mile, you can’t expect the other person to reciprocate. When you really like someone, you may behave in a certain way but it does not mean that they will, or have to mirror this. If someone tells you that they're not looking for a serious relationship, accept it at face value rather than believe that you can change their mind. If you’re not getting what you need from someone, don’t waste your time and emotions, move on and get out there to meet other new people!

I will leave you with a final quote:

"Expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you held them, the more likely they were to crack"...
― Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings

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That's a great article

Lots of daters, including myself , have great expectations. The problem is, with the years of dating and heartbreak and rejection, we are constantly told by non-single people to keep positive. So sometimes having great expectations is a way of being positive - when has it ever been good to be negative? Surely negativity pushes people away?

We are also often told to keep an open mind and wait for things to happen which is why we give people a chance and wait and see, like Kavita did. I have been in the same situation as Kavita, thinking you can change someone but the truth is you can't and especially with men, if they say they are not looking for a relationship, they're NOT. Believe it and move on!

When my friends have gone on dates and complained that 'ohhh I'm not sure if I like him' or 'I can't tell if he fancies me' I always use the phrase "it's a curry, not a stirfry - let it simmer!" Of course this isn't always true and sometimes he's just not into you.

You can't make someone love you or control their thoughts etc, the puzzle will either fit or won't.

Someone once told me 'expectations ruin potential' , how true that is!



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