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No Expectations in Relationships?”

After reading my fre**e ebook about the biggest mistake 90% of women make in relationships – and by the way, the mistake happens in all relationships such as with money, career, family, friends, as well as a new love interest – one of my precious subscribers asked me “What else do you mean when you write “no expectations”?

I reminded her that, it is important to note, for your own personal mental health, there are “no expectations” for what your relationship (with money, with a loved one, with your friends and family) should look like.

“Yeah but”, she said, “Don’t you need some expectations about what your new love should be like and do?”

Good question.

For the purposes of answering the specific, I will use a new love interest. But you can also apply which ever relationship you are currently in flux with.  You can plunk in money or career or your health, or someone else’s health into the mix here. It works in all relationship.

Let’s begin.

Before you decided you wanted to build a deeper, richer relationship with this guy, you two had separate and for the most part, established ideas about what should and could happen in the future between a woman and a man. You each had your own understanding (implied or obvious) of the relationship and responsibility that each brings to the relationship – very different or some similarity, to be sure.

However, at the point in time when you wanted to take the relationship into a next level, there was a change in the role and responsibility for both of you. It may be subtle or sudden, depending on the desired outcome.

While there are similarities and commonalities that most women and men share about building relationship, your journey is as unique as your fingerprints.  Since this journey is not cut and dry, the picture of the empty frame of expectations is largely empty to fill with your journey’s image.

Your journey could be one of ups and downs, or drifting along, or slowly climbing up, or sharp drop down. It’s your journey and it will unfold based on your emotions, power and desires.

For example, if you do not have a confident outlook on developing a loving relationship, or taking care of yourself first, you will begin to make demands and increase expectations that will ultimately ruin your chances of having a successful experience.

Before I go into detail, let me ask you these:

“How would you feel if your new love interest gave you a long list of his expectations based on his beliefs, his upbringing, his education and his life goals?”

“What if in that list of expectations, you suddenly felt afraid you couldn’t meet them?”

“What if as a result of his expectations, you knew in your heart you would not bend to breaking some of your ways just to please him?”

See what I mean? How then, could you go into any relationship with expectations of your own? Would they meet yours?

How do we construct expectations in the first place?

Who are your most reliable sources? Advertisers? Your girlfriends? Your parents? Can you tell the truth from a lie?

Some of your so called reliable resources might mention something about whether or not you should develop a career of your own. Your parents want you to be educated. Or your parents can’t afford to send you to school, so you have to work for it yourself. Or you just want someone to take care of you.

Advertisers portray a skinny body, spiked hair and designer clothes attract better. But what if you’re not naturally thin, or your feet don’t feel good in stilettos, or worse, your hair is soft, wavy and won’t hold a spike no matter what you glue it with!

Sadly, too many of your friends are in their own wishful thinking and have short lists of expectations for themselves.

Here’s the thing to remember – their list is not your list!

The question is: why is everyone putting up a front? Why is it so difficult to make the right decisions?

Well, there are three things at play here:

1.  Far too many women received no relationship building guidance at all growing up. The majority learned how to be in relationship to a lover, money, career, health or body, based on watching the examples set by their parents or primary caregivers. Add peer pressures and you have a mix of lies shrouding your true essence which doesn’t stand a chance of being recognized.

And then maybe you were too embarrassed to ask anyone where to even start.  So you’re juggling emotions the best you can. But that’s not exactly conducive to feeling confident and centered while keeping your power in relationships.

2.  The second is that you’ve confused hopeful expectation with realistic experience. You figure if you don’t have a relationship like your mother did, or a relationship like you think your friends have, you’re a failure. That’s how hopeful expectation takes over. The shame of it is that your friends are almost all playing the same game of “Hide the Real Crap.” So it’s a pitiful game of losing your sense of self.

3.  The third is maintaining the trappings of having a successful relationship. This premise iss so critical that in the media-driven, materialistic society we’ve become obsessed instead of loving. Everyone’s afraid of what the others might say. As if “they” would jump in and make sure your love interest isn’t lying or cheating on you! What if ‘they” could pay off your credit card for all that extra stuff you bought to look good! Yeah right. When push comes to shove, it’s every woman for herself. Hoping and praying this guy will stay in the steel gated fenced boundary of expectations you set up for him! And telling no one, of course, hiding your real fears – the fear of having a successful relationship with a lover, with money, with your career, with your body, with your health! Fear you’ll lose out! Fear of failure and worse, fear of success!

Some of you have made the effort to buy a few self-help books. And how many have you actually read about confidence, learning as much as you can about keeping a realistic view of your potential situation? (Or you figure you can get a handle on things without anyone knowing.) But the books gather dust on the table, under the pile of clothes strewn over the floor. If you can’t see them, they can’t screech out to you, “read me, read me!”

Don’t you know you would benefit from actually reading about taking care of yourself?

Of course you do, or you wouldn’t have bought them. But what triggered the purchase was your logical, conscious mind. What’s creating the resistance is something in your subconscious mind.

Besides, watching the other friends or taking advice from a divorced buddy, now that seems easier, doesn’t it?

And soon you may realize that reading the books might result in some sort of change – and the subconscious is not about to allow for change – change is evil!

So where is this fear of relationship success come from?

It’s coming entirely from head-trash that keeps the chatter going in your mind, night and day, 24/7.

And it’s coming from bad behaviors and unrealistic expectations that can be traced back to childhood messages that were embedded before our brains could decipher between truth and non-truth, or what was “about us” and what wasn’t.

Here’s an example of a seemingly innocent situation that proved to be a negative wedge in building healthy relationships.

My own expectations of friendship were tested early in my life.

I finally discovered why my relationships sucked!

I wish I had learned this sooner because honestly, I couldn’t figure out why I was distrusting, only participated 50% into relationships, and ultimately why my relationships sucked. I learned how childhood situations could and did affect my life for decades!

When I was 6, my bestest friend in the whole world and I were practicing putting the days of the week in the right order as a grade one assignment.  I don’t know if she would have remembered that experience as I did – but that’s her story.

I really wanted validation and confirmation that my order was correct. So I asked her to show me her list. Long story short, we presented the same order – in exactly the same wrong way. So our gracious teacher asked us to stand in front of the class and admit who cheated.

Now you have to realize that I honestly didn’t view my asking to check with her as cheating – it was just an opportunity to see if I had the days in the right order! And friends help each other, don’t they? And friends don’t tell on each other, do they?

So there we were, standing, side by side, heads bowed, getting hot and uncomfortable. I knew I wasn’t going to say anything. I was a good friend. Then, she poked me with her elbow and whispered, “You better tell that you looked at my paper.”

That was it. Her whisper screeched at me the denial that she was a part of our plan. It screeched in my little brain I was the very, very bad person because my friend was giving up on me. I literally closed up, blackness enveloped me and I stopped loving not only my best friend in the whole world, but I didn’t trust myself of ever having a friendship with anyone ever again.

Remember, this is a little girl’s life altering decision!

You may not believe me when I say, that incident overlaid all my relationships in the future. I literally only participated half in half out of any relationship.  I didn’t trust someone saying they were my friend and that they loved me. It even affected my home relationships from that moment on. I didn’t trust my siblings, my mom, and nor my dad to love me. I quit being any one else’s friend. My relationship with my bestest friend in the whole world changed.

That’s how powerful an incident can be in the immature mind of a child!

I mistook everything. I took on the blame. I was foolish and couldn’t laugh if off. I was so afraid, I stopped loving.

You’re still saying, “Yeah but!”

Let me ask you this. You’re in a new relationship. This could be your chance to love and be loved and still make a habit of taking care of yourself in the process.

You want to keep up with family and friends, enjoy your hobbies and interests, pursue your career goals, and take trips you have always dreamed of.

But sometimes you don’t understand why things don’t work.

The key is to be totally and completely aware of your feelings, concerns and the potential actions you may take. More importantly, you want to dig from where some of the shitty ones came from!

If you create a list of expectations instead, you will miss the moment to moment situations that come up in relationships and how to handle them. Instead you will likely become concerned that your lover expects more and more of your time. You may become concerned because of your lover’s past and present habits. You might become afraid that if he doesn’t change, you might have to. Or worse, that he will change and then what?

See what I mean about expectations? They come from old wounds just as easily as new misguided information. They come from the weirdest stuff!

So what can be done to stop the mind chatter and keep a cool head and warm heart?

All that it takes is getting honest with yourself.

You want to prepare yourself by:

  • Taking proactive steps in the direction of being aware – especially of your mind chatter.
  • Keeping a realistic view of your love’s situation (does he travel, work, play, love to drink, enjoys sports more than you?).
  • Become aware of your own option. Are you free to come and go as you please, spend your own money on whatever you wish, expect to contribute, have similar goals?
  • Understanding what the best and worst outcomes could be – that includes holiday rituals with each other, without each other.
  • Determining what options are available for each of these outcomes.
  • Providing honest and safe space to share your and his feelings and values. What are his expectations?
  • Do all the above in advance of getting hurt!

In a nutshell, the definition of “no expectations” really means, be soft bordered and willing to change as the needs arise. Have “no expectations” according to your friends and parents because you and your situation and relationship needs are as different as the color and thickness of your hair!

You’re too important to just create a list of expectations and believe someone will fit it. You’re too important to fit into someone else’s expectations!

Join me on my Facebook page right now. Comment and share the link, especially with your girlfriends! Let’s figure out what’s tripping you up and not letting you feel confident and comfortable about succeeding in relationships whether it’s a beau, money, health, your body. What expectations get in your way?

and by the way….  great job today!

Patricia

 

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