Drop the Checklist: Dating Without Expectations, Here’s How To Nail It!

You know the saying: expectation leads to disappointment? I’m certain your elders warned you not to expect anything from anyone because you’d get let-down. We may not have quite understood that logic when we first heard it but as we grew, our experiences led us to comprehending the reason why. Older and wiser, we know better than to build up our expectations, so why is it so hard to eradicate them from our dating lives or relationships?

Sometimes our expectations are so heavy they cause us to sink.

How does one get their needs met without presuming their partner will or should fulfill them? And why shouldn’t we expect certain things from the people we date?

Here’s the thing. It’s not wrong to have desires, needs and requirements, and there’s definitely nothing wrong with wanting your love interest or partner to fulfill those needs, however when it becomes a demand, the vibe gets killed, especially when it’s too early on in your relationship.

How do we get what we want without creating pressure? How do we stay true to ourselves and our goals without expecting the people we are with to show up in the ways we want them to immediately?

Here’s where it gets tricky. There’s a fine line between expectations and standards. When you date, adhering to your standards and needs is essential, creating expectations, however, is not. If you’re in a relationship you hold one another accountable for certain roles, which is understandable but instead of losing it when your partner doesn’t do something you expect them to do (dishes from the night before), remember they aren’t perfect. Handle the situation by reminding them instead of getting bent out of shape. If something becomes a pattern and you feel you are being taken advantage of, clearly a more serious conversation is in your cards.

When dating someone with a goal of securing a relationship, it’s hard not to have expectations. You start to make a checklist of items: they should initiate messaging, they should make plans in advance, check in with you, put in consistent effort, maybe hold doors open, tell you they like you, show you affection. If they are serious about you or a relationship, they should fill all the items on the list, but it’s not as simple as that. These are expectations that you’ve created and are ones that you should also be willing to adjust should they be great in one department but perhaps need a little experience in another. You’re assuming if they aren’t doing all of these things or saying, they don’t like you enough or can’t give you what you want. What if you tried removing or adjusting your assumption? Just stopped thinking about what will happen, how it’s happening, what they will say or do, what you’ll say or do…instead you just enjoyed the moment.

Photo by Ana Francisconi on Unsplash

Imagine not wondering what will come and simply allow things to unfold naturally. Creating a completely free and uninhibited flow of energy between yourself and the person you’re with, all while sticking to your moral compass. It may seem like a complete contradiction, but it’s possible. It’s not easy to release your expectations and figure out how to create this balance but once you do, your love life and relationship might just take a turn, getting you where you want to be, without having to ask for it.

Remember when you were younger and you didn’t have a care in the world. Marriage and babies and a “real job” weren’t of much concern and you weren’t bombarded by so much pressure. You met people you liked and just hung out with them because you felt like it. You wanted to be around each other. As you got to know one another things progressed, and suddenly, you were in a relationship. What if we were to approach dating as adults with that same mindset? Just go with it, do whatever you feel like with no rules or over thinking. Sleep with someone when you are comfortable enough. When it feels right and you believe your intentions are aligned. Find things out about them as you go along, as they come out organically in conversation. Build a connection with them instead of forcing it or planning your actions or decisions based on a timeline. Place no limitations on the growth of your relationship or what may happen according to your eagerness. Keep your expectations at bay by tranquilizing your anticipation and replacing hope with joy.

Mind blown? Imagine you are twenty again, but you’re tougher, smarter and confident. You know who you are and what you want. You will enjoy your time with someone and be willing to see where it goes until you feel it’s not going anywhere or you reach a point where you’re no longer comfortable or enjoying it.

This is where your standards come in. You see, we can rid ourselves of expectations and a rulebook, but what we should never do is sacrifice or compromise our self respect, needs, or values.

If a relationship is one sided with effort, if after spending a significant amount of time with someone they aren’t showing up for you or bringing to the table what you can’t be without, and they’re unwilling to change, that’s when you know it’s over. On to the next, without hesitation.

For more advice from Julia Bekker, check out www.huntingmaven.com

Julia Bekker

Posted by Julia Bekker

Julia Bekker, aka Hunting Maven is a love hunter, dating expert, coach and advice columnist who introduces successful, selective, clientele to quality men and women by finding their ideal options out of millions. Julia creates a direct path for her clients to meet and fall in love with the right person, and advises them along the way. She believes no one is perfect but someone is right, and settling is not in her vocabulary.

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