Ever since we were little girls we have been bombarded with cultural messages promoting the same myth: a woman finding her prince charming. Whether we heard about it in fairy tale books, watched the obligatory Disney princess movies, read the romance novels (who remembers Harlequin Romance?), or watched romantic comedies, it was there.
You know what I’m referring to— the perpetuation of the perfect gentleman who falls madly in love with the damsel in distress and rescues her from her somehow pitiful situation and makes all her dreams comes true. Who hasn’t dreamed of finding a tall, dark and handsome fellow who will make all her dreams come true?
10 Unrealistic Expectations that Hurt Your Chances of Finding True Love
1. He will be good looking. Let’s be honest. Who doesn’t want some eye candy to look at every waking hour? This would be a real boost to your self-esteem. You landed a guy who’s the envy of all your friends. And good-looking men are a “real catch” right? Wrong! Not to dump all good looking men into the same pot, but let’s face it, the “peacock” is all about displaying his tail feathers and showing himself off. This will be someone who will probably be into himself more than he will ever be into you. Another thing, an above average man will seek an above average looking woman. And let’s face it, most of us are average to below average in looks. Additionally, good looks are, relatively speaking, subjective. Yes, we know that there are the Brad Pitts, Bradley Cooper, and David Beckhams of the world but most of us don’t even stand a chance of nabbing a super hot guy. Leave that unrealistic expectation behind and focus on the average looking Joe who is well-groomed, has good hygiene, doesn’t have dirt under his fingernails, has a job, and doesn’t have a criminal record! You will increase your chances of finding a partner if you cast a wider net.
2. He will be rich and successful. Again, this is on the superficial qualities that when we dig a little deeper into the female psyche, what we really want is someone who will take care of us and our children. Now before you go off and say that you don’t need a man to take care of you, blah, blah, blah, science has proven that women need to feel supported and know that their offspring will not lack food, clothing, and shelter. So wanting to find a man who is successful is not a bad thing. The problem comes in when you limit your choices to someone who only makes a certain pay scale or who makes more money than you. You are narrowing your chances of finding an uber-rich man because let’s face it, you probably don’t hang in the circles they do. Instead, you should focus on finding someone who is hard-working, has plans for the future, is not asking you for money, and doesn’t live in his parents’ basement.
3. He will be romantic. Oh boy, here we go. This is really where the romcoms have wreaked damage. Ladies, most men are not romantic. They wouldn’t know romance if it came up and bit them in the nose. And we are defining “romance” in women’s terms: sending flowers, writing love notes, planning special date nights. Yes, while there may be a few men out there who have the “romance” gene, most men are not inclined to do so. They may not show outward behaviors of romance but a study showed that men tend to love more deeply and strongly than women. So Instead of tossing out a guy or being miserable in a relationship because your man did not get you a thoughtful gift from the Hallmark store on your birthday, look for the positive signs that he does cherish you and love you.
4. He will love me unconditionally. If you’re looking for unconditional love, then you’re probably thinking of your parents or God. The truth is that 99% of people don’t love unconditionally. A new relationship is forged on conditional love. As a relationship progresses and the love grows deeper, a stronger bond emerges and couples become more tolerant and forgiving of each others’ faults. And yes, you will start to recognize and be irritated by the quirks that you thought were “cute” at first. Unconditional, love does not mean your partner will support you and approve of everything you do. Real love acknowledges that each of you is a unique human being and you allow for those differences to grow and evolve within a safe and supportive environment.
5. He will be supportive of everything I do. This goes back to unconditionally loving someone. A strong relationship is not a codependent relationship. You don’t want a partner who will be a “yes” man and rubber stamp everything you do. You’ll want someone with his own identity and opinions and who has a life of his own. And because he will have his own opinions he may not like some of the things you like or some of the ideas you come with and that’s okay. As long as your new man is not being dismissive, mocking, denigrating, controlling, or abusive, it is totally okay for him to disapprove or not believe or disagree with some of the things that you do.
6. He will never hurt my feelings. Guess what. Humans make mistakes. And yes, your new love will hurt your feelings. They say love hurts. And that hurt comes from our elevated expectations. We often set ourselves up for self-inflicted pain. In a new relationship, you are both getting to know each other and one may be oblivious to the other’s feelings on a particular issue. Feelings will get hurt and feathers ruffled. The important thing is to be honest and transparent in your communication. If he is hurting your feelings on purpose because he wants to put you down, then leave!. This is not a person you want to ever be around. But if it’s something that can genuinely be worked out through dialogue and conversation, then relationships are worth saving and you shouldn’t throw out your man because he may be an insensitive cad. If you want sensitivity, go hang with your girlfriends. That’s why all women need a strong squad of friends who will be there for her too when her man is being a bit of a jerk.
7. He will change. Nope, nope, nope. People really don’t change unless they’re making a concerted effort to evolve and grow. This requires a certain degree of self-reflection and awareness that most people don’t have. If you are seeing certain red flags at the beginning stages of the relationship, then you must end it. This dude’s just not for you. Little things become big things once the relationship progresses and he gets comfortable. You are not anyone’s savior (last I checked that title belongs to Jesus Christ) and it is not your responsibility or task to change this man you love, or to believe that love conquers all. Altruistic love may conquer all (Mother Teresa) but your love for this man is neither altruistic nor platonic. You want him to be someone he clearly is not.
UNREASONABLE EXPECTATIONS IN A RELATIONSHIP
8. I will be completely happy and fulfilled. Only you can make yourself happy and fulfilled. Happiness and fulfillment come from within. If you are looking for external factors or people who will fill the void in your life, then you are on a path of disappointment and frustration. Happiness is a choice. You choose to be happy by overlooking your circumstances when circumstances are trivial and petty and making a decision that you will not let outside factors affect your outlook. And the truth is that no one is completely happy 100% of the time. That is a myth. Human beings are conditioned to experience a gamut of emotions, and unless you’re a simpleton, you should not expect to be on a high 24/7. Expecting another person to provide that happiness and fulfillment for you is unfair and unrealistic.
9. I will never be lonely again. There’s an old adage that says, “where ever you go, there you are.” Truer words have never been spoken. External forces, circumstances, people, crowds, will never fill the void that people have in their spirit. We all feel lonely at some point in time and we must realize that it’s normal. (What is not normal is to feel lonely and despondent most of the time or to feel that you are alone in your relationship. If this is the case then you must seek professional help.) Feeling lonely is a feeling not a fact. Acknowledge that you are feeling this way and know that it is not permanent. Looking to a partner to fulfill your emotional needs is not a sound thing to do nor is it fair to place the burden of your happiness and emotional well-being on another person. It’s a form of emotional manipulation that will ultimately end up causing your partner to resent you and creating further isolation from each other. Look to find a higher purpose in your life: volunteer at a pet shelter, at a senior home, at a school. Reconnect with friends, not on social media which is a cause of depression and loneliness, but in person. And know that once in awhile, it is normal to feel like you are alone in the world.
10. I will never crave affection. You may see a common thread here in all these unrealistic expectations. These expectations say more about you than the partner you are trying to seek. You may feel at times that your partner doesn’t care about you. You may feel that he should show you how he feels. If this is the case, you should express to him what are the little details that would show you that he cares. But the reality is that you may feel that you are not getting the affection you need: physically and emotionally. If this is just occasionally, then it’s a normal thing within a relationship. If you feel isolated and unloved then this is not the person for you. What I do want you to realize is that being in love or being in a loving relationship doesn’t exclude the fact that at some point in time you may feel unloved, or that you wished that he’d be more affectionate. These are conversations that you must have with your partner, but remember that men don’t often show emotions the way that women do. Men are wired differently than women, so if you have this idealized picture of what a “loving” relationship should look like, it’s probable that you’re using the “The Notebook” or “Titanic” as your relationship playbook.
REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS IN A RELATIONSHIP
So what should you look for in a man? The basic tenets of a solid relationship rest on kindness, respect, and compassion. You need to look for a man who exhibits these qualities and overlook the superficial and needy aspects that are sabotaging your chances of finding an ideal mate. The myth that all the good men are taken is that, a myth. The problem is that a lot of women are looking for that elusive “unicorn man” The one created by Hollywood and romance novels. But most men can never live up to these unrealistic expectations. Don’t be duped, ladies. Open your eyes and your heart and look around. Your true love may be sitting across from your cubicle or he may be your mother’s neighbor’s sister’s cousin. Don’t delude yourself into believing a fantasy that doesn’t exist.