What To Expect From Any Relationship

Why You're Not Expecting Too Much

Many people say that "don't expect too much, or you'll be disappointed." I say, that with the right people, you won't be.

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So it's been quite a rough few weeks and I felt all over the place, out of control, and full of loss.

I long for someone who understands me on a spiritual level. I feel like that's what I lack here in college sometimes. I think so much and so deeply about everything, it's incomprehensible. My mind is just chaotic and if properly provoked, I tend to spiral very easily.

About two weeks ago, I got into a huge fight with my best friend. He's a good one; fun, spontaneous, a laugh to light up your entire soul, and he was kind. He's my whole world. But he's also a little inconsiderate. And that was the root of all of our problems. Maybe I tried to fit him into a place he wasn't meant to be in. I no longer never felt safe with him. I had considered the prospect of a romance between us many times before, as have many people with friends of the opposite sex, but with him, I never let myself get carried away. As the universe had tested us, he had failed to come through for me, time and again. I sat with the feelings of rejection, as at that moment, I wasn't able to hold on to someone that I called my best friend? It made me think, "if he can't put up with me, then why would anyone else in their right mind be able to?" I felt quite sure about myself being correct in our predicament, but as my most beloved friend slipped through my hands like grains of sand, I just couldn't shake the possibility that there might be something wrong with me, that I expected too much of him.

Romantic relationships entail expectations that you learn to have from each other, and you may not realize it, but friendships work in the same way. You don't just magically become close to someone. It's a conscious choice to enter each other's respective worlds, to let someone into your life. Think about any of your friends. There was probably a moment where you realized that you were closer than before. And with the closing of any type of gaps in a relationship, come expectations.

A daunting word, I agree. But, what are expectations, if not just wanting basic human decency?

One horrible night, I broke down in the middle of the street, as mascara stained my flushed cheeks. My friends stood there and consoled me until I was done. "If you cry, I'll cry," my friend said as she teared up. And at that moment, right in the middle of that loud and crowded street, I felt at home. Tear stricken, and tired, I walked home, hand in hand with my girls.

Every so often, I send myself into another spiral. And with my open book of a face, it's very evident when I'm in one of these moments. My friend reached for my shoulder yesterday and said "After this, you have to move on," in the most gentle, almost careful tone. She meant absolutely no harm, and it showed. And the expectation I have from her, and all of my friends, is to be there for me, but give it to me straight when I need the tough love. I was home once again.

Love can be expressed in many ways. Through gestures, words, and motions. But when someone makes you feel like a burden, when they can barely give you the time of day during your tough times, and when they make your problems, about themselves, I don't even need to say that it's a red flag. Even the craziest of narcissists can exhibit care for someone. I know it's easy to say "they just might not know how to handle those situations," but you know what? It just doesn't cut it to not know anymore. At this point in our lives, it's actually quite immature to be completely oblivious to the way that you treat others.

I am eternally grateful for all of the loves of my life, who consistently show that they care. As human beings, we are allowed to hold each other accountable in certain issues. Because without that accountability, we'd be free to do whatever we wanted all the time. So not only does this principle apply in regulatory institutions, but in our relationships and daily lives as well. If someone does not want to understand that, then you might want to consider reevaluating your relationship with them.

If you don't appreciate the way that you're being treated, then maybe you aren't being treated correctly. As easy as it is to place the blame on yourself, it's not always you. So if something rubbed you the wrong way, communicate it. No one will know that anything is wrong unless you say something. And if your grievances remain unacknowledged even after this, then at least you know that you tried.

Many people say that "don't expect too much, or you'll be disappointed." I say, that with the right people, you won't be. Expectations allow relationships to become well-oiled machines: it might start squeaking and creaking after a while, but a little communication will do the trick.

I know that my emotions are valid, despite the unfortunate reality that I may need a little self-affirmation from time to time. Although there isn't anything wrong with being unemotional, there is nothing right about living in a prolonging ignorance. I've beat myself up far too long for who I am, and don't have much patience left for a complete and utter lack of emotional intelligence. Don't let ignorance dishearten you from the prospect of being treated the way that you deserve.

Keep breathing.

Love,
T

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I'd Rather Be Single Than Settle: Here Is Why Being Picky Is Okay.

They're on their best behavior when you're dating.
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Dating nowadays described in one word: annoying. What's even more annoying? when people tell you that you're being too "picky" when it comes to dating. Yes, from an outside perspective sometimes that's exactly what it looks like; however, when looking at it from my perspective it all makes sense. I've heard it all, "He was cute, why didn't you like him?" "You didn't even give him a chance!" "You pay too much attention to the little things!"

What people don't understand is that it's OKAY to be picky when it comes to guys. For some reason, girls in college freak out and think they're supposed to have a boyfriend by now, be engaged by the time they graduate, etc. It's all a little ridiculous; however, I refuse to put myself on a time table such as this due to the fact that these girls who feel this way are left with no choice but to overlook the things in guys that they shouldn't be overlooking, they're settling and this is something that I refuse to do.

So this leaves the big question: What am I waiting for?

Well, I'm waiting for a guy who...

1. Wants to know my friends.

Blessed doesn't even begin to describe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do. I want a guy who can hang out with my friends. If a guy makes an effort to impress your friends then that says a lot about him and how he feels about you. This not only shows that he cares about you but he cares about the people in your life as well. Someone should be happy to see you happy and your friends contribute to that happiness, therefore, they should be nothing more than supportive and caring towards you and your friendships.

2. Actually, cares to get to know me.

Although this is a very broad statement, this is the most important one. A guy should want to know all about you. He should want to know your favorite movie, favorite ice cream flavor, favorite Netflix series, etc. Often, (the guys I get stuck on dates with) love to talk about themselves: they would rather tell you about what workout they did yesterday, what their job is, and what they like to do rather than get to know you.

This is something easy to spot on the first date, so although they may be "cute," you should probably drop them if you leave your date and can recite everything about their life since the day they were born, yet they didn't catch what your last name was.

3. How they talk about other women.

THIS IS CRUCIAL FOR FINDING A NICE GUY. It does not matter who they're talking about, if they call their ex-girlfriend crazy we all know she probably isn't and if she is it's probably their fault. If they talk bad about their mom, let's be honest, if they're disrespecting their mother they're not going to respect you either. If they mention girl's physical appearances when describing them. For example, "yeah, I think our waitress is that blonde chick with the big boobs." Well if that doesn't hint they're a complete f* boy then I don't know what else to tell you. And most importantly calling other women "bitches" that's just disrespectful.

Needless to say, if his conversations are similar to ones you'd hear in a frat house, ditch him.

4. Phone etiquette.

If he can't put his phone down long enough to take you to dinner then he doesn't deserve for you to be sitting across from him. If a guy is serious about you he's going to give you his undivided attention and he's going to do whatever it takes to impress you and checking snapchat on a date is not impressive. Also, notice if his phone is facedown, then there's most likely a reason for it. He doesn't trust who or what could pop up on there and he clearly doesn't want you seeing. Although I'm not particularly interested in what's popping up on their phones, putting them face down says more about the guy than you think it does.

To reiterate, it's okay to be picky ladies, you're young, there's no rush. Remember these tips next time you're on a date or seeing someone, and keep in mind: they're on their best behavior when you're dating. Then ask yourself, what will they be like when they're comfortable? Years down the road? Is this what I really want? If you ask yourself these questions you might be down the same road I have stumbled upon, being too picky.. and that's better than settling. :)

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Four Ways Jess & Gabriel Conte Taught Me About Relationships

Jess and Gabe, thank you for teaching me much more about love than any romance novel or television program ever could.

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1. You Don't Have To Do Anything Physical on the First Date

Honestly, with how television and films shape your knowledge on how dating in high school and college is, I am surprised there are boys in this world that know that "hooking up" and having sex isn't a requirement of the first date. Having Tinder and Bumble at the swipe of your fingertip isn't of any assistance with preventing that idea, however, you would like to think that more than two percent of the male population understandings that the physicality of a relationship isn't the entire relationship. Gabe, however, is a perfect example that there are men in the world that accept and respect that you may not want to even kiss on the first date! Coming from a girl with very little experience in the dating and romance area, I really respect and have a lot of gratitude for boys, men, like that, because I feel much more comfortable going out and building a real connection with them. I think more boys should be learning this idea.

2. Dating is Something You Do Forever

We have this idea that you "talk" to someone, you "date", and then you're official with the person and you have your titles or relationship status and move forward from there. One aspect of relationships that Jess and Gabe taught me is so important is that you date forever. We see on television shows and romance movies that two people will go on dates until they become an "official" couple, and then the date nights are rare and made for special occasions or if there is a rift in the relationship. Going out on dates and having date nights with your significant other will only build your relationship and your friendship (which is so important) and allows you to learn more about your partner to better love and understand them. I think that if you are only saving a date night for an anniversary or if there is an argument, you are going to set your relationship up to fall apart because then you are settling into behaviors that aren't going to bring you closer to your partner - you're going to stick yourself into a plateau and that is where problems arise.

3. Have Faith and Remember That God Has a Plan

Jess and Gabe have taught me a lot about my faith. College hasn't always brought me closer to my faith and my belief in God (understanding His plan for me and why things went amuck sometimes made me question my faith altogether - What was I believing in if what I tried to do and what I really wanted never happened?). It's hard to see the bigger picture when relationships and dating and sex are all around you, and your morals and desires in life don't include half of what most (or how it appears to be) boys our age want. Add your family into the mixture asking why you haven't had a boyfriend or why you don't like anyone at school, and the pressure to have a relationship now - whether the boy is a respectable one or not - is overwhelming.

Understanding all of that and every other pressure influencing my ideas on a relationship, I started searching and searching, coming up empty handed every time, and I felt really discouraged. I couldn't understand how everyone was having relationships or seeming to find a person that was the perfect fit for them, and I couldn't find a boy that would talk to me for more than a week because he learned that I wouldn't have sex with him after knowing him for all of five minutes.

Jess and Gabe taught me that God has a bigger plan for me and my life. All of these boys that I have come across, all of the ones that have been rude, or disrespectful, or not cared for me, are all one more closer to the person that will respect me and my beliefs and my wants to have in a relationship.

4. Good Men Exist, Even If They Are Few and Far Between

Peace Out,

From Caitlin (and the Conteam).

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