Setting expectations in dating and relationships

Setting expectations  can be the cause of and solution to all of your dating and relationship problems.  It’s that important.  And it’s just as important in any relationships, including those with your children and your coworkers or clients.

This is even more important if you are stuck in the texting trap.  See the post regarding texting.

Expectations in dating

From the very moment of first contact, when the two parties have decided that they’d like to eventually meet, expectations are created.  Those expectations can vary quite a bit depending on the experiences and personality of the person.

Subjectively, take me for example.  My expectations are that I’d like to talk on the phone and meet as soon as possible.  I’m happy with texting, for a bit, since real life is going on and it’s easier to get in a few conversations between the needs of your kids, and so forth, than just waiting for a phone call.  Others may just have the expectation that we will text up until the actual date.  Well, others are wrong.  🙂

See?  That’s how expectations work – they are usually silent, and when they are not met, the most horrible of things happens: disappointment.

Haven’t you ever heard a kid or a teenager tell you the worst thing that their parents can do?  It’s not them being mad, or angry, or over reacting.  It’s sincere disappointment.

People experience it all the time in their relationships.  And they don’t generally speak up about it, until it’s too late.

And if you are just starting out, you want to put your best foot forward and not mess things up, so you put up with things that your normally wouldn’t because, hey, maybe you’re over reacting?

You aren’t.  You’re right.  And you find that out soon enough.

So what do you do?  Here’s what.

Get your default expectations in sync

Everyone has default expectations for everything.  I mean everything.  It’s part of our Reality Engine.  It’s part of the thing that says, “Hey, gravity makes things fall, that shouldn’t float up!” or “There’s no way that handsome man is looking at me, I must have spaghetti sauce on my face.” or “This is a fancy restaurant so I expect really good service.”

Most people’s expectations about non-relationship things will be in sync, it’s the relationship stuff that won’t be, and the cause of the invisible issues that create the most horrible of emotions.

Some people (me) may expect to talk on the phone before meeting.  Some people (most women) may not want to exchange phone numbers because You Are Probably An Axe Murderer.  That can cause an issue.

Some people may think nothing about texting endlessly (women new to dating) before meeting.  Others may want to text a little and then meet right away, as they know what an incredible waste of time it is if you don’t click.  Plus it takes away a lot of the potential conversation, and creates a false sense of closeness.

So, in the beginning, before you go too far, explain what your simple expectations are, and at the same time offer your flexibility:

  • I hope we can meet right away, and don’t have to endlessly text – here’s my schedule for the next few days
  • I have young children so it’s not easy to talk as I don’t want to talk in front of them – I’ll call you on the way to/from work tomorrow
  • I’m busy most of this week – I’ll make time for you on Friday or Saturday
  • I’m trying to eat healthy recently – I don’t mind what you eat, let’s just not meet where there are no healthy options
  • It’s hard to use my phone at work, as an International Spy – I’m happy to text/talk at night any time though, but will eventually have to kill you, probably during Ravel’s Bolero.

Follow those rules, be aware that both of you have expectations, and ask questions to make sure you are in sync.  The bonus is that not only will things go much smoother, you will potentially find out about incompatibilities much earlier.

As always, tweet your questions @onlyaglance