The other day, scrolling through FaceBook-I came a cross an article that caught my eye. “One Man’s Take on the silent killer of failed-relationships-Unmet Expectations”. http://www.upworthy.com/one-mans-take-on-the-silent-killer-of-relationships-unmet-expectations?c=ufb2 Well, I had to go into that one. It had some good points, although it was a fairly short article. But, it got me thinking.
What are my “unmet expectations”? At first, I looked at the question in terms of my relationship and my life with my SO. Now, I have a pretty nice life-especially when I start thinking of so many who are suffering in this world. But, having said that there are some things in which I feel are unfullfilled. For example, we live in a condo. That we rent. We have been here 12 years. The unit is really nice and has a beautiful view over a canyon. We have great neighbors within the condo community and the neighborhood is really nice. I’d say upper middle class. We rent for a couple of reasons-the main reason being that my SO has two houses in London that he rents out and doesn’t want to sell. He will not buy a property with a mortgage. Where we live, while it needs upgrading after 12 years, is comfortable. and, again, better than probably most people worldwide live in. My SO is perfectly happy with this situation. I, on the other hand, want a house-or at least a duplex. I want a little yard-to garden in, hang my hammock in, let my dog play in. I want a garage for storage and an extra refrigerator. I want to own or be buying a house instead of putting money in someone elses pocket. And so, at times I get really resentful about not having all of that. I have realized that it’s an unmet expectation of mine. When I started thinking on it, I asked myself where did this expectation come from? The honest answer is that it did not come from my SO. He has never opined on having all of the above-or indicated that it’s really important to him. We never had a talk at the beginning of our relationship setting out like-minded goals and values in this area. Yes, if we had the spare cash (who the fuck has that laying around?) we’d buy a place. And again, I do know that he will not buy something unless he can pay for it all at once. So, my expectation did not come from him. It’s not like he led me on.
I suppose this unmet expectation came from my parents. From the cultural and societal way that I was raised in. Although I do know that many people-an aunt and uncle of mine-have rented all of their lives. Especially if they live in cities like New York or London.
So this then led to me questioning what other unmet expectaions do I have in my life? It also leads to the question about the difference between unmet and unrealistic expectations. The fine line between the visualization process necessary to create and obtain a goal and outright unrealistic fantasy..There’s the expectation that if you keep your head down, work hard and are honest, a person will make a decent living and have a decent retirement income. There’s also the expectation that if you lead a healthy lifestyle you won’t get sick. These things are true for some and unfortunately not for others. Of course then I also had to consider that Kharma is involved as well. (this is my own personal belief).
What I concluded-in my ongoing analysis of this-is that yes, I can see why unmet expectations can result in the breakdown of a relationship. At the same time, I also see that, at least in my case, it’s about projecting these expectations onto someone else-without them even knowing about it. Someone who may have absolutely no idea that they are expected to fulfill these expectations. It’s about assumming that someone else has the same desires and values as I do. Back to the “illusion is for disillusion” thing again.
Of course then I had to look at this whole thing in terms of alcohol and my relationship with booze. Whoa!! Talk about unmet expectations! Not that I ever particularly or consiously thought about what I actually expected from booze or that bottle of wine other than to relieve the stress or take the edge off or enhance the situation (I’m feeling great! Better have a martini to celebrate!) or whatever… Not much consciousness going on about what kind of expectations I had in that area of my life. Except when things got to the point that I knew booze wasn’t fulfilling anything in my life except for creating a huge bottomless pit of guilt and self hatred. Yes, at that point, I knew to what to expect after drinking a bottle of wine or a couple of cocktails. Did I say a couple of cocktails? As if it would only be a couple! Even so, knowing what to expect, I kept on doing it-for years. Torturuing myself on a daily/nightly basis. Until I stopped. Now, knowing what to expect is what keeps me from drinking. When I do have a thought or a passing urge-which is seldom- I can take myself through the whole process-realistic visualizing-and know that I no longer want to get caught up in the whole downward spiral that I was once in.
My objective now, in terms of unmet expectations, is to try to be conscious and aware when something comes up. To ask myself if I am in fact, being let down by another person-or if I’m being unrealistic in my expectations ofsomeone else. Am I expecting something from someone who isn’t even aware that they are supposed to be in sync with me? Expecting someone to be a mind reader in a sense as well as having the same expectations and desires as I have.
What are your unmet expectations? Are they valid or unrealistic?