Do you sometimes find yourself feeling disappointed with your man because he sometimes (or maybe often) doesn’t do or say what you wish he would?

You’ve dropped hints about what would make you feel happy. You might have even told him directly, but it seems he doesn’t hear you. You might have wondered if he’s deliberately ignoring you. Or worse he doesn’t care.

There may have been times when he has come through with a request or two, but then it seems he’s making his offerings somewhat begrudgingly, as though he’s feeling obligated, leaving you feeling maybe a little victorious, yet curiously flat, oddly dissatisfied, not feeling so good after all.

In the early days of my relationship with my then-boyfriend, now husband, I remember feeling so sad and bewildered because he never said he loved me. It seemed as though he did, yet I still longed for those words.

Sometimes he would ask me what I wanted for Christmas, and I would excitedly tell him, filled with anticipation as the day approached, yet it was as if I had never said a word. For nothing on the list which HE had asked for showed up — which left me feeling confused and hurt and yes even a little angry.

There were other times I couldn’t help imagining a fabulous gift or possibly a lovely, romantic evening out, which he would surely plan for and give to me to celebrate my birthday.

He almost always had something for me, yet it never ended up looking the same as I had envisioned. So I felt let down, a little or a lot depending on the disparity between my dream and reality.

Do you have your own similar stories?

The problem here is not with your man — the problem is with the expectations you created around him.

Does this feel surprising?

Expectations can be tricky, destructive really, for they almost always work against you, inevitably leaving you feeling disappointed and often feeling sad, upset, frustrated, or something else which just doesn’t feel nice.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t expect anything at all from your man, for respect, kindness, consideration, and love would all be reasonable expectations to have.

Yet, I would propose that these qualities are an is-ness in a relationship. These aspects are simply there, no thought or effort necessary — if this is a good man, if this is the man for you.

When it comes to things he might give you for a special occasion, though, like your birthday or Christmas or anything around which you have created an image in your head and pinned your hopes on, it’s unlikely to look like what you pictured; it will not have met your expectations. And you will feel bad, if only a little.

But had you stayed open and curious to whatever he might bring you, had you allowed the potential for surprise, you would have likely felt thrilled, delighted, touched by his thoughtfulness and care. And you might have even realized that you love the purple dress even better. He chose it for you after all.

Openness is an important key to a happy relationship.

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When you carry an agenda, you close yourself off to possibility. And you will be unable to recognize something which might be totally fabulous because it doesn’t look like what you had imagined.

On the other hand, when you’re not expecting anything at all, when you can keep your mind and heart open to whatever your man might do for you, when you can feel joy and awe in each and every moment and gift, you will instead feel pleasantly surprised with and in awe of it all.

If he does nothing, then you weren’t looking for it in the first place. Though with this mindset and heart awareness, you might recognize a present of another sort, something which you would not have noticed otherwise. Doesn’t this prospect feel wonderful?

For example, there was a five month period where my man had to commute by air, so he would fly to his job Monday morning and return Thursday evening. That year Valentine’s Day fell on a Tuesday. We had concert tickets that day for the symphony. I was either going to give the tickets away or go with a friend.

But my man flew back home that afternoon to go with me, and spend the night with me before having to go back to work again Wednesday morning. This could have been such a lovely, potentially passionate, love filled mid-week rendezvous.

Yet I held onto the expectation of a card, flowers and/or a gift. So the entire evening I felt deflated, disconnected from him, not so good at all. And I ended up missing out on what was actually such a great gift — time together spent in love, which feels SO much better than anything else.

When you are able to let go of your expectations and instead keep your heart open to anything and everything, when something does come to you, you will feel so excited and happy, even if it’s only a pretty seashell from the beach or a feather which fell from the sky.

You were thought of in those moments, and this can feel so precious.

When you can shift your perspective in this way, the daisies he picked for you will feel sweet, a special treasure chosen just for you. He was holding you fondly in his heart while he gathered them. And you will feel touched, cared for — loved.

But if you had roses from the florist held firmly in your head, other beautiful miracles, another sort of loving gesture from him will look like weeds, an afterthought, your expectations unmet, and you will feel bad.

And look what you would have missed out on — all the wonderfulness from your man which has been there along with an opportunity for a lovely connection — with him.

Your man really does want to do for and give to you, but not when he’s feeling pressured (yes he can feel even your unexpressed expectations) and not when he can’t seem to get it right.

When I really came to own this important lesson, I starting hearing the words “I love you” in my husband’s actions, in how he looks out for me, in his adoring gaze, in his loving touch, in his sweet kisses, in his tender caresses, in the special gestures reserved ONLY for me.

He had been telling me he loves me all along, but because I was caught up in how I thought it “should” look like, I was unable to see or feel it.

I was no able to recognize his innumerable gifts which were actually amazing and touched me more deeply because they were filled with his heart.

He was giving to me in his way, and when I opened myself to this, I discovered it was very special indeed.

Expectations plainly and simply set you up to NOT feel good, and they do nothing to bring you closer to your man — instead they pull you apart, little bit by little bit.

When your heart is as open as possible to life and love, flowing with each moment — whether it feels good or not, when you can let go of those expectations, your life and your relationship will feel so much easier, happier, more fun, more love-filled. And you will rarely feel disappointed in your man or your relationship again.

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