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Thread: Relationship Expectations Thoughts

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    Relationship Expectations Thoughts

    Dear Throbbing Brain:

    This is your overly thoughtful befuddled friend asking you a question that has been rattled around in my head late last time and this morning. I'm sure you're rolling your eyes thinking.."here Budgie goes again with his reflective psycho-babble", but I'll ask anyway.

    Someone once told me that she was "prepared" to be by herself for the rest of her days. How does one prepare or does one simply give up hope? I assume that most people have in their minds eye what an ideal relationship looks, smells, tastes and feels like. Do we simply give up hope looking for it after experiencing repetitive failure? After the first failure do we start to "settle" for what looks good on the outside? Can we become so demoralized and suspicious as a result of repetitive failures, that we will reject the real thing when it comes along out of fear of further failure?

    I thank you in advance for your thoughts on these questions?

    Budgie
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

  2. #2
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
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    i don't think it is giving up hope as much as accepting yourself for who you are and being comfortable with that. after a series of less than fulfilling relationships and anxiety/depression with my place in life i decided that i was just going to focus on myself and, in an unselfish way, doing what i wanted. i came to terms with the fact that if i were to be alone for the rest of my days i would survive and try to have the best time i could, because ultimately YOU are the only person YOU are going to be with for the rest of YOUR life. you might as well like yourself and enjoy spending time with yourself. i still had hope that someday i might have a loving long term relationship but i wasn't going to sit around throwing pity parties for myself any longer. life was passing me by and i was going to have fun with or without Mr. Wonderful.

    it was a very interesting phenomena to experience. once i gave up constantly looking for Mr. Wonderful and just started to have fun and enjoy living my life, that's when the guys starting coming out of the woodwork. and because i was more comfortable with myself and knowing what i actually wanted i ended up choosing a wonderful guy. some people might not think he's Mr. Wonderful, but he's a wonderful complement to me. and i think that's an important fact to distinguish, you shouldn't look for someone to complete you but rather someone to complement you.

    as for rejecting the real thing because of fear, i don't thing it was the real thing or right for you if you reject it. if you and the other person aren't willing to work for the relationship, including identifying and overcoming fears then either one or both of you weren't in the right spot for a healthy relationship.

    /babble
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    I totally agree with a lot of what Dandy said. I think that when this person told you she was prepared to be by herself, she wasn't saying that she has given up. She was saying that she has accepted that she may end up alone, and she's gotten to a place where she is comfortable with that. She's decided to focus on herself, do what makes her happy, and what is best for her, instead of wallowing in the fact that she doesn't have a man to share it with. But, if the right guy did come along, I think she'd be open to that, as long as it didn't compromise the peace and happiness she has found within herself.

  4. #4
         
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    I agree with both above posters. I know that somedays I would like to have a relationship with someone, I know I spend a lot of time out perhaps looking for it. But the truth is I am happier (thus far) in my life when I am not in a relationship. A relationship is not the only thing I am looking for in my life. Some people don't want a "relationship", that is not a primary goal. People who do not actively look for this are not "settling" anymore than someone who wants a relationship and will "settle" with anyone.
    I watch some of my friends that want a "boyfriend" so badly that they will entertain the idea of a relationship with someone they know is not for them, just becaus ethey do not want to be alone....in my eyes, this is ridiculous...its just not that important to me...I guess I am different though, I have two boys that take up all of my time...when they get older, perhaps my tune will change....for now I do not htink I am settling, knowing full well I may never meet anyone i can settle down with and have a "normal" life....

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jaxspra View post
    I watch some of my friends that want a "boyfriend" so badly that they will entertain the idea of a relationship with someone they know is not for them, just becaus ethey do not want to be alone.......
    I bet we all know people like this! My mom told me when I was in college, don't waste your time dating someone you know is totally wrong for you. Well, we probably all make that mistake once or twice, but I eventually came to see she was right.

    I don't think you can really ever have realistic expectations. You don't know what's around the corner ("Life comes at you fast!") or where you life is leading, or who you will meet.

    Quote Originally posted by Budgie
    Someone once told me that she was "prepared" to be by herself for the rest of her days. How does one prepare or does one simply give up hope? I assume that most people have in their minds eye what an ideal relationship looks, smells, tastes and feels like. Do we simply give up hope looking for it after experiencing repetitive failure? After the first failure do we start to "settle" for what looks good on the outside? Can we become so demoralized and suspicious as a result of repetitive failures, that we will reject the real thing when it comes along out of fear of further failure?
    I don't think anyone has to "settle"; but I do think that as we mature, we hopefully get rid of unrealistic expectations. Nobody is perfect. All you guys aren't going to get a Christie Brinkley and all of us women aren't going to get a knight in shining armor.

    But I think you're right about one thing, some people do simply give up out of fear.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    The problem with expectations is that if you have any, you'll end up being disappointed, if you have no expectations, then you'll never be disappointed!

    Now seriously, I really don't see why anyone should waste time looking for, and searching for "soulmates", have fun by yourself, enjoy being yourself and if someone else wants to join the party, well good for both, if not you should have fun by yourself anyways!

  7. #7
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    I wouldn't say that I am 'prepared' to be alone for the rest of my days, but I am certainly at peace with who I am and pursuing the things that I want to do and don't feel like I need to be with someone just to say that I am not alone.

    I think it is only human (for most people) to want to have someone to share their life with in some capacity but I don't think it should be the highest pursuit in life either. You have to love yourself for who and what you are-good and bad.

    I guess to some degree I approach it as a Mr. Right/Mr. Right Now theory. Mr. Right may be out there somewhere but that shouldn't preclude me from having a Mr. Right Now. There have been a few Mr. Right Nows that were obviously not Mr. Rights but for the most part they added something positive to my life and I am friends still with some of them and on friendly terms with the others.

    I haven't given up and will never give up, but it isn't the central mission in my life either.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kjelsadek View post
    There have been a few Mr. Right Nows that were obviously not Mr. Rights but for the most part they added something positive to my life and I am friends still with some of them and on friendly terms with the others.
    Mr. Right Now might think he's Mr. Right and you may give him no reason to think otherwise. Mr. Right Now might resent being Mr. Right Now. Is carrying on with an acknowledged Mr. Right Now an appropriate thing to do. How many Mr. Right Nows is too many? Is going from one person to the next like changing hats or getting a software upgrade?
    Last edited by Budgie; 21 Feb 2007 at 9:13 AM.
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

  9. #9
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Budgie View post
    Mr. Right Now might think he's Mr. Right and you may give him no reason to think otherwise. Mr. Right Now might resent being Mr. Right Now. Is caring on with an acknowledged Mr. Right Now an appropriate thing to do. How many Mr. Right Nows is too many? Is going from one person to the next like changing hats or getting a software upgrade?
    I can't answer for kjelsadek, but from my own perspective, the matter of a Mr. or Ms. Right Now being either 'right' or 'wrong' depends a great deal on both parties’ cultural backgrounds and expectations. Lots of potential for pain awaits those couples where one party or the other assumes that a relationship is 1) monogamous and 2) ultimately a permanent commitment (or one can reverse the burden of assumption and say 1) polygamous and 2) without expectation of permanence). In either case, assumption is the mother of f-ups here.

    At the expense of sounding overly-obvious, I guess communication in this regard is paramount.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    My 2 cents

    I got married in a manner that was much like jamming two things together without much thought towards how it all fits. Once jammed together, the parts that didn't fit couldn't be made to fit. There wasn't really enough maneuvering room to find someplace to fit them in. In stark contrast, my divorce has been a very slow and gradual process -- sort of like repotting Aloe Vera, where you have a pot full of overgrown plants with entangled roots and you don't want to break off pieces of them and damage them in the process. We have taken a long time to untangle the roots of our entwined lives. It has been a very positive experience.

    I have concluded that doing that in reverse -- coming together slowly and finding ways to get closely entertwined with someone else's life without doing damage in the process -- is how I would like to approach "Mr. Right". I have found that when there is really strong chemistry up front, saying so tends to make it difficult to have a deep, meaningful relationship. Either they think I am some fruitcake who doesn't know them well enough to think so highly of them and, thus, Desperate (and they start to back away, making the sign of the cross ), or they don't want to lose all that adoration and they become selective about what they reveal in hopes of presenting an image I can continue to adore, thereby making it impossible for real intimacy to develop because it becomes impossible to really get to know them.

    I think this is one of the issues with dating: two people who (usually) barely know each other are trying to assess the potential of the other person as a "mate" while both of them simultaneously try to present some facade they hope will be attractive. So I believe that the very act of "stating up front" (ie. dating) that you are in that assessment stage makes it harder to get to know someone honestly. Since I am looking for deep intimacy, those types of games are antithetical to the goal. I don't want to spend my time and energy second-guessing what he will or won't like/approve of/find attractive. And I don't want some man editing how he presents himself to me because he is also second-guessing what I will or won't like about him. I think that, if you actually succeed in presenting an attractive facade, it leads to the other person later feeling lied to, tricked and betrayed when the truth comes out. If someone is going to be disappointed with the real me, so be it. But sometimes they are surprisingly delighted by the real me and that always does more real good for my self esteem than successfully presenting a pleasing facade.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Budgie View post
    Mr. Right Now might think he's Mr. Right and you may give him no reason to think otherwise. Mr. Right Now might resent being Mr. Right Now. Is carrying on with an acknowledged Mr. Right Now an appropriate thing to do. How many Mr. Right Nows is too many? Is going from one person to the next like changing hats or getting a software upgrade?
    Communication is paramount here! I'm up front about not looking for a ring or a mad dash up to the altar. As far as how many Mr. Right Nows is too many, I really can't answer that for anyone but myself because it is really is a matter of personal opinion. I don't think that moving from one person to another is like changing hats or upgrading software because people are so incredibly different.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  12. #12
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I have been in my share of relationships… and I found that two people will not accept each other, until both of them accept them selves. Who we are is a foundational element that we can build on to ‘improve’ ourselves, but realistically, we all have physical, psychological, and even emotional limitations, and those are what we need to accept. Being alone, is not a limitation, but ultimately a choice. A person can be single their whole lives, and find the person of their dreams as an elderly person.

    I think of it this way, live life as you see fit, keep open communication with others open, enjoy everything life has to give you, but don’t turn your back on possibilities of new people, opportunities, or directions. None of us will even know what our lives are going to be like until we have finished living them.

    It was not until my 26th birthday sitting at a bar with family, drunk, did I realize that I should just live my life to the fullest and stop “searching” but I was not going to just stop meeting people or going out. Instead, I went out more, spent more time with friends, and enjoyed being me. A month after my 26th birthday, I met the girl who is now my Fiancée.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    I have been in my share of relationships… and I found that two people will not accept each other, until both of them accept them selves. Who we are is a foundational element that we can build on to ‘improve’ ourselves, but realistically, we all have physical, psychological, and even emotional limitations, and those are what we need to accept. Being alone, is not a limitation, but ultimately a choice. A person can be single their whole lives, and find the person of their dreams as an elderly person.

    I think of it this way, live life as you see fit, keep open communication with others open, enjoy everything life has to give you, but don’t turn your back on possibilities of new people, opportunities, or directions. None of us will even know what our lives are going to be like until we have finished living them.

    It was not until my 26th birthday sitting at a bar with family, drunk, did I realize that I should just live my life to the fullest and stop “searching” but I was not going to just stop meeting people or going out. Instead, I went out more, spent more time with friends, and enjoyed being me. A month after my 26th birthday, I met the girl who is now my Fiancée.
    The word limitation doesn't allow me to just say "AMEN"
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  14. #14
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    Well being one of the babies on this thread i thought i would post my opinions- being i am yet to go through what everything else has here.

    I have always been a person that believed that i didnt need but when i found someone i would want them rather than need them. Until then i knew that i felt i needed to get to know myself better and learn to love myself first than someone else.

    I am someone that doesnt hold extremely high expectations of relationships- i see people for how they are, there good points and bad ones and thats where i come undone, because i have been hurt that way- perhaps my relationship expectations are not high enough. Its kinda like you want to give things a try, but sometimes its best not too, but you never know when that is going to happen.

    I have been trying to focus on myself lately, but its a bit lonely when all your friends have partners and no one wants to do anything with you and you start to question why you dont have a partner- but all the way know i still have to go through the process of learning about myself.

    So i guess the point is.... i am going on my european trip in order to help me learn about myself and find me and not be influenced by ****hole guys or people constantly questioning my personality and attitude because i dont have a partner.
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    I appreciate all of the comments, but I urge everyone to go back and read the original questions. Perhaps the title of the thread is not what I was really trying to get at.
    "And all this terrible change had come about because he had ceased to believe himself and had taken to believing others. " - Leo Tolstoy

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Budgie View post
    Someone once told me that she was "prepared" to be by herself for the rest of her days. How does one prepare or does one simply give up hope?
    I am prepared to be alone. I don't really expect to be but I can accept it. As long as my fantasy of leaving my marriage was that Mr. Right was waiting out there somewhere to rescue me from my misery, I knew I wanted out for the wrong reasons and chose to stay. I felt "better the devil you know" and I felt that leaving with the fantasy that there was a better man out there for me would be jumping from the frying pan to the fire. So when I made the decision to divorce, it was from the mindset that "I would rather be alone than continue to live like this" and not from the mindset of "I am going to go find someone else".

    I can't say I intentionally "prepared" myself for accepting that I could be alone. That wasn't The Goal. But I did work at becoming more realistic and more emotionally healthy. Reality is A) I can't MAKE anyone love me and B) attempts to control another person are antithetical to the kind of relationship I want. Love cannot be held tight with a grasping fist. An open palm holds more water than a closed fist. Some things can be received but cannot be taken. I endeavor to be receptive but not grasping.

    Quote Originally posted by Budgie View post
    I assume that most people have in their minds eye what an ideal relationship looks, smells, tastes and feels like.
    Perhaps most people have some very clear picture in their head of an ideal relationship. I don't. I used to conjure up such things but they were not realistic. Currently, I have sets of parameters in my head. Some of those parameters are things that generally work and some are things that generally don't work. I know when someone completely misses the mark. I know when someone has a lot of qualities I am looking for but some "flaws" (ie things that are a problem for me to put up with). I expect any good candidates to fall in the latter category and I wonder a lot about how those things might be worked out as well as if they can be worked out. But I also leave some room in my mental models for life to Surprise me.
    Quote Originally posted by Budgie View post
    Do we simply give up hope looking for it after experiencing repetitive failure? After the first failure do we start to "settle" for what looks good on the outside? Can we become so demoralized and suspicious as a result of repetitive failures, that we will reject the real thing when it comes along out of fear of further failure?
    One can become demoralized. One can just give up hope. It happens to people. But one can also make other choices.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Big Owl's avatar
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    I think i am addressing the initial question...

    I think that often when we make decision on relationships or pursue relationships that we have way to much optimism on the outcomes. Society pressures us into this way of thinking when our friends and family ask is he/she the “one”. There is too much pressure on single people to couple up. So I believe that one may feel the pressure to give up hope on pursuing society’s goals of coupling up… because society’s goals of everyone living happily ever after is not for everyone. The reality is that there is not that “one person made just for you”. There are 6 billion people and you have to find the person that best fits your expectations and hope their expectation is satisfied by you. If your goal is to be in a relationship then by being in relationships that don’t work isn’t failure, it just that you haven’t complete the journey to meeting your goal. I think that some folks lower their expectations in order to complete the journey in short period of time. If you are true to yourself then its okay because often our expectations are so heavily influenced by society….

    Well I have to go to work so I may add more later

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