There is one thing that can stand in between you and your dating goals and that’s your dating expectations. Dating can be one of two things, dating can suck or dating can be a fun way of self-exploration. It’s really up to you. Yes, I agree completely that there a lot of ass hats out there. I think I’ve pretty much dated most of them and it’s getting downright frustrating. What is the problem? Expectations.
I learned that the hard way. I focused too much on what I wanted and what I was looking for that I forget to enjoy the process. That’s why I always remind everyone that focusing on the process NOT the dating outcomes is where you need to be to manage dating expectations. When I learned that lesson dating became so much easier and I, in turn, became a much happier person.
Managing Dating Expectations
What are dating expectations? Dating expectations are what your goals are. Everyone has something they are looking for. Some people just want to enjoy someone’s company, some just want sex, some want a companion, while others are looking for a life partner, or marriage.
Whatever you are looking for, managing your dating expectations will help you get there. How so? Well, if you’re expecting a big love story overnight, then think again. Those things rarely happen. Love that’s developed over time means so much more. Many people jump into their dating life and make a big emotional investment too early on putting too much pressure on themselves and the people they go out with, disappointing themselves in the process.
So how do you manage your dating expectations? You manage your dating expectations by not sweating it. You manage your dating expectations by going with the flow. You manage your dating expectations by letting go. Simple right? Nope, not so easy. Why? Well, we like to be in control of our lives and our situations. No one wants to admit to defeat. We all have an idea about how our lives should be and how things should turn out and when they don’t we can’t really handle it and stress ourselves out trying to get it where we want when in reality we are forcing something that just isn’t meant to be.
Letting Go of Hopeless Dating Situations
Show of hands, how many times have you refused to let go of a hopeless dating situation just because you just KNOW it’s meant to be? That’s pride right there. We don’t want to admit to defeat. How many times do you try and manipulate a situation to get a someone to like you or want to be with you? Yes, you know you have. You’ve tried playing hard to get, you’ve tried giving them everything they said they want, but really where did that get you?
It got you nowhere fast because in reality, if someone wants to be with you they will be with you because you’re both naturally on the same page. Not on the same page? Want different things? You should never have to force it, it should just BE. While it’s important to be clear about your intentions and expectations, you also need to manage your dating expectations by being realistic in order to get where you want to be. If you’re not on the same page then letting go is important, otherwise you’re wasting your time and theirs and no one likes time wasters when dating.
You also need to put that list of wants and don’t wants aside when managing your dating expectations. You can’t always get what you want. You need to know what it is that’s important, such as common values and ethics, and know what’s your “nice to have”. To me, attraction and a connection with the other person is key, as well as ambition. I love seeing someone excited about what they are doing, to have goals and to achieve them. This is really important to me. Other things are relative.
Also, I think of a new prospect like a puzzle piece, I ask myself if they really truly fit into my life’s puzzle or if I would have to force it. Regardless of how hot they are or how successful or how they make me feel, I need to make sure they are the right person for me and that takes time. Besides, aren’t things so much better when they fall into place naturally? Trust in the process! It’s the only way! That, my friends, is how I manage MY dating expectations.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy
OK sounds cliche right? But it’s true! Things always fall in place where they’re supposed to. I learned that the hard way in life. After my divorce, I learned that I can’t control everything that happens to me. Although I have an idea of where I want to be, I can’t plan out my life and expect it all to fall into place in a nice neat package.
Perhaps for some people that’s their reality, but, for most of us it’s not. For most of us life is a series of ups and downs and perpetual chaos. That’s why I learned to let go. I learned to go with the flow, especially when I meet someone new. I can’t MAKE someone fall in love with me, nor can I manipulate the situation to work in my favor. I have to just be myself and if they want to board Suzie’s Magic Fun Bus then they are more than welcome! Let the cards fall where they may. I don’t play games, I don’t tell men what they want to hear in order to get them to like me. I don’t try and force the situation. I learned the hard way that those “tactics” never work in my favor.
I have gotten to a place where I am pretty confident in who I am and what I have to offer. There is never a dull moment with me. I’m smart, sexy and successful. But, it certainly took me a while to get to this place. When I meet someone, I like to take my time to get to know them and let things progress naturally. No pressure, because I don’t want anyone pressuring me either.
Trust me I certainly know it’s not easy to go with the flow when you meet someone you really like, but managing your dating expectations is absolutely necessary. Don’t kid yourself and don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself or them. It could be that you met someone who’s going to be a good friend, maybe they’re a lesson or maybe they really are your happily ever after. But, you don’t know unless you try.
Pacing yourself will help you really get to know them and identify red flags early. Don’t get swept up in a dream world because you will definitely get burned. My advice? Take it slow and date smart my friends!!
READERS: How do you manage your dating expectations? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!
Your Sister in Dating Bliss,
Single Dating Diva
Copyright Single Dating Diva
Thanks Suzie! Spot on. I was married 20+ years, divorced for two. Just started dating again and despite the means to an end being much different the rules haven’t changed much. I have noticed women are far more forward! I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been asked out. Something I am not used to. I am an old fashioned traditionalist, but I must admit the attention is flattering. I’m still waiting for the right woman to come along, and am very content for things to fall into place when they’re right!
Dave, I’m curious to know how you will know when the ‘right’ woman has come along. I can imagine how different things are after such a long time out of the market.
Valerie, I must say I am approaching this all very cautiously, I don’t want to jump into the wrong relationship (again). My approach now is take things slow, unlike when you’re 20 yrs old and forever is a long time, at 44 you really don’t want to make another mistake. I don’t believe there is only one “right” woman, there’s some that are more right than others. Dating is the grist that separates them, soon if done correctly should leave you with the most right one!
Thanks Dave & Valerie! When someone is worth pursuing you will just know. You will naturally want to spend more time with them. Just listen to your instincts and enjoy the process along the way 🙂
“Don’t Worry. Be Happy.” VERY.WISE.WORDS. I always tell sad, mopey singles who are looking and waiting for love that the BEST way to attract the woman/man of their dreams it to GET HAPPY as they are now. Find a way to LOVE their life as a single. It is infectious.
Thanks Ms. Cheevious! Nothing worse than a dating pity party!! Being happy attracts positive people and events into your life. Single ISN’T a bad word so no need to be mopey about it!
Wise, wise words of advice! We type-A’s have a very hard time letting go and going with the flow, especially when dating after divorce. But it really is the best policy when dating. I tell my single friends all the time to put down the “Must Have” lists, and stop expecting people to behave the way they think or want them to, just relax and enjoy the ride and you’ll be much happier.
Thanks BSG! We do need to be in control of what happens to us and always know where things are going. You and I are a lot alike in that regard. But, when I learned to just let go and let things happen naturally I became a MUCH happier person. On the most part you can’t control how things move along, just be your best self and enjoy the process.
Really great points, SDV! It is hard to remember the “everything happens for a reason” attitude when dating is so full of ups and downs, but it is essential to keep that in mind. Great post!
Thanks Meena! Dating can be a roller coaster ride, that’s for sure, but why not just enjoy the ride!? Live and learn and keep moving.
I think its really down to being clear what you are looking for with the person right from the word go.
I’m not too sure I agree with this “You manage your dating expectations by not sweating it. You manage your dating expectations by going with the flow.”
I’ve been in situations like this and having not been clear in the beginning and going with the flow. It usually ends up having to have the awkward conversation 5 dates in saying “Well where is this going? Are we seeing other people?” That is always hard to handle and seems like a confrontation in some cases. I was dating a girl who was great but when this question was raised it ended as she couldn’t make her mind up about what she was looking for.
Going with the flow without addressing where you both stand could mean you are spending time with someone assuming you are both looking for the same thing but actually you are not.
I agree that you need to know what your values are, I’ve written about this a lot in my articles. If you are upfront with your date with what you are looking for, ie a relationship or something more casual, then you can stop wasting a lot of time and if you are both looking for the same thing then get on and enjoy spending some time with each other knowing that you are both on the same page.
Your values you can either keep to yourself or make known also. Everyone has some basic ideals they look for in a person, keep them in mind and if you don’t think they fit your basics then move on. It’s amazing how many people I hear who are dating men or women that are causing them anguish and when I ask them why, they simply say well other than that they are ok or maybe they will grow on me….. Some people are just too scared to move on.
Communication and values are key, know what you want and don’t be afraid to act on it.
Thanks James! I think you need to seek out people who are looking for the same thing, I agree, but, you need to let things flow naturally and enjoy the process once you meet them. No need to rush anything, don’t sweat it. Often times people get so caught up in where things are going that they forget to enjoy the ride. All I’m saying is try and re-focus because the less stressed you are, the more aware you are.
Great at advice to pace yourself. Too many people jump into love. As a therapist that’s a big red flag for me. It usually means you’re not investing your whole self in the relationship and you’re just going off your impulses – which is always bad if you want a long-term relationship. I did what you did, Diva, I got to know myself and what I had to offer and waited patiently for someone to come around that liked the real me.
Thanks Aaron! I used to be guilty of being too impulsive and after being burned over and over again (including my marriage/divorce) I learned to take things slower. Going with the flow and enjoying the process always ensures a positive outcome, whatever the outcome is.
I always believe you should have expectations when dating and the person should be just as interested in settling down as you are. The while go with the flow is too mis-leading to me. If he’s interested in having a life long mate, he has to act the part! Nice post!
Thanks Tinzley! Yes, I agree you need to seek out people who are looking for similar things, but once you meet them you need to go with the flow and not rush things. Letting things move naturally and managing your expectations allows you to see things more objectively. So maybe a balance?
Great post! I believe that you should not shy away from communicating what you want. If that person doesn’t fit the mold, then bounce. Some people are too afraid to communicate. They think that if they ask for something that the person isn’t looking for then that person will leave. Well, that’s exactly what you want! You don’t need someone who isn’t consistent with your expectations for the sake of not being lonely. Stick to your guns and find someone on your level.
Thanks Q! I agree always state your expectations and intentions clearly, move on if you’re not on the same page BUT you need to take it slow at that point and get to know each other.
Simplicity is my watch word and being myself, in this case i cant play games just to get someone into liking me or fall in love with me. I find it difficult to convience people to like me,in this sense i let things work naturally. If i meet somone new and in the process am not attracted to you no option than to let them go.
Thanks Johnson! You’re right, you can’t AND shouldn’t try to convince people to like you. They either do or they don’t. If they don’t then keep moving until you find someone who does want to get to know you. No need for playing games.
I usually have problems managing my expectations and all the things you mentioned are pretty spot on and relevant. This is part of growing up and becoming more mature in dating/relationship. Thank you very much :).
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