“Maybe you need to lower your expectations – no one is perfect”.
“If you just stop trying so hard and forget about it, the right person will come along”.
I’d hear it all so many times during my single life and it all boiled down to the same old “You’re asking for too much”.
Here are some tips to help you shift your mindset and manage your expectations of dating.
1. Allow yourself to be pleasantly surprised
When you’re dating without a critical eye you’ll be amazed at how wonderful someone can seem. This doesn’t mean that you’re going to end up with someone ‘less than’ it simply means that when you look for the positives in someone you’ll find them.
Put your checklist in your back pocket for a moment so that you can get to appreciate the good qualities in someone else. You’ll be surprised to find that lots of the stuff you have on your list will eventually get ticked off – it just won’t be in exactly the way that you thought it might.
And sometimes the really good things take a little bit of time to reveal themselves, so be patient and take it a little further than the first date.
2. Be flexible about your requirements
So how long is that list of expectations exactly? You’ve probably prioritized the list. This is a good thing.
If your date is making the cut for most of your list, especially the big stuff, then consider taking the pressure off the relationship by finding girlfriends that are happy to do some of the smaller stuff with, like going to the art museum or having monthly picnics.
In this modern day, we expect one person to fill all the spaces in our lives. In reality, it takes a tribe to keep us happy, so expand your social circle, spend time with family and get some of your needs met by someone other than this one person.
3. Embrace change
Being intelligent and having a curious mind outweighs not reading three books per week. If the guy you’ve been on two dates with doesn’t have the same books on his bookshelf as you don’t stress. Don’t let the book thing bug you. Yes, reading magazines, blogs and newspapers do count as reading.
Plus, at the end of the day, people change as they get older. Think about you five years ago. Yep! Exactly…
4. Look for someone who is Imperfectly human
We’re all a work-in-progress. Life itself is a work-in-progress. This is called the growth mentality. Get into it and life will be one great adventure of doing stuff and having fun. We’re here to learn and grow together. Not to get it exactly right all the time.
It’s more important that the person you’re thinking of spending time with also has a growth mentality. This means that as a couple you have the space to move and change together. You’re in it for the adventure, not to get it perfect.
5. Think about the short-term as well as the long-term
It’s all about balance…. Are you both heading in the same general direction in life? For example, do you both want to stay in the city you are in or move away? How flexible are you with this?
Just remember that your partner isn’t your clone so you shouldn’t expect him to share all of the same interests as you. That said, how do you intend to spend time together? What do you like doing? Netflix and chill? Eating out? Cooking together? Finding a few things that you can do as a couple and this quality time together will bring you closer together.
6. Future plans
If your life goal is to live in a big house by the sea it means you both need to be committed enough to put in the hard work required for it to happen.
Simple goals such as happiness and companionship are powerful when it’s a joint enterprise. Don’t be scared about communicating what you’d like your future to look like. This is likely to bring up what you both value: time over money for example or vice versa. And we all know that shared values equal healthy relationships.
And no, this is not a conversation you have on your first date.
7. Be fully and wholeheartedly yourself with him
Be honest and open and speak your truth with clarity and integrity and sensitivity. Let him know how you feel and what you want because after all, men are not mind readers. And if he is into you he’ll really want to get it right. So, help him get there!
8. Try not be too demanding
Men love to succeed in all aspects of life. They like to know that they can be successful in a relationship with an amazing woman. And they want to know that they have what it takes.
When you make demands, like telling him he must reserve that restaurant or buy you that thing, you are not allowing him to do it out of his own love for you.
So, step back. If you want that thing, buy it for yourself. You know you can. And let him show you how he cares in his own way.
Yes, you can ask for what you want when it comes from your heart. But expecting that he serves you like the Queen of Sheeba makes him a servant and not a King.
If I went through my checklist and attempted to neatly tick off all the strange and unusual things on it (and there were many), then the incredible man that I’m with now would not be here.
The stuff that I did tick off right from the beginning were the big things like core values and plans for the future.
Luckily, I was smart enough to have the patience to wait so that I could see all the other little things about my current partner shine through.
Definitely don’t throw away your expectations. Get to know someone and let them surprise you. Life and dating are so much more fun that way.