Managing Expectations in the Dating World
In the song and dance of dating, managing expectations seems to be the turning point of someone continuing dating or not. Whether you're a seasoned dater or newly single, understanding and managing your expectations, as well as interpreting those of potential partners, is essential for emotional well-being and relationship success. So here are a few pointers on how to manage expectations when dating, and help you navigate these waters with confidence and clarity.
First of all, you need to be clear on what your expectations are. Understanding your own expectations will grant you a dating plan that will be easy for you to follow. Let’s start with self-reflection: When you sit down and think of all the things you are wanting are you thinking about the relationship or the person? This is where most singles make the biggest mistake. Your expectation should be put on the relationship and not the person. Why do you ask? Well in reality when we put our expectations on a person and they don’t meet those, we try to ‘make it fit’. Hence how you end up giving chances to individuals that continue to lie and hurt you. So next time that you are sitting and daydreaming of your perfect partner, why don’t you daydream of your perfect relationship. Then the partner that shows up and gives you just that will be the ‘perfect partner.’
Secondly let’s talk about realistic goals. While it's okay to have deal-breakers, understand that no one is perfect. Seek a balance between your ideals and the realities of human connections. If your dealbreakers are so extreme that no one will ever meet them, you might unintentionally limit your opportunities to connect with wonderful people. It's important to strike a balance that allows for genuine connections. Deal breakers are supposed to be healthy boundaries, not walls to keep people away. When you understand what your values are and how to live by them, then you will understand how the deal breaker is all about you and not about them. But that is a whole other topic for another day.
How many times have I heard, “well he has not texted me, he’s not interested” or “I require them to do x, y, z ". It's a common misconception that your partner should be able to “read your mind” when you start dating. However, this isn't realistic or fair to either party. Having early and honest communication from the very beginning can reveal a lot about a person's expectations and avoid major miscommunications. Don’t shy away from discussions about relationship goals and preferences. It’s better to understand these early on than to encounter surprises later. Wouldn’t you want to break off a relationship before you ‘waste’ time?
Actions will always speak louder than words. People often reveal their expectations through their actions and words. Pay attention to how they treat you and what they prioritize in your interactions. These cues can be more telling than explicit statements. This is something I learned from another dating coach that stuck with me. There are three different phases in the dating courtship: attention, intention, and investment. During the early dating phase, you get a lot of attention, they text, call, meet up a lot. Their intention is to get to know you better, get a sense of you and your energy. As the dates continue and where troubled waters start to rise is in the investment phase. At this stage you have been dating for a few weeks or even months. You are in a ‘set routine’ of some sort. This is where all those expectations you had set for the relationship in the beginning get tested. Because if this partner is not investing in you and this relationship, then they more than likely won’t be giving you that relationship you had envisioned. So, pay attention to the investment they are giving to you and the relationship.
Now that you have this information, you might find yourself with more questions than answers. I understand that tendency to overthink. Take a moment to breathe deeply and relax. Instead of overanalyzing every interaction you have with your partner, try to take things at face value. Enjoy the process of getting to know someone without making up stories about what hasn't happened yet Remember, not everyone is the same. If you find yourself attracting similar types of partners, it may be worth reflecting on your patterns in choosing and interacting with them.
With clear expectations the disappointment won’t be so bad. Remember big expectations lead to big disappointments. Not every dating experience will live up to what you are looking for, and it’s ok! Disappointments are only part of the journey, for you to grow and become clearer about what you are wanting. Learn from the experiences, reflect on those that did not work out.
Remember that managing expectations in dating isn't about compromising your standards or neglecting what you truly desire. It's about finding a balance between your aspirations and the realities of modern dating. By being clear and realistic about your expectations, you pave the way for more genuine and rewarding relationships.
So, take a moment now: reflect on what balance in dating means to you. How can you adjust your expectations to enhance your dating journey. Embark on this adventure with an open heart and an open mind, ready to learn, grow, and find joy in the journey, and remember if you need help with that, I am only a coaching call away.
Love & Light,
Certified Singles & Relationship Coach