Communicating Expectations

The beginning of a relationship is fun and exciting. It should be the time when you feel the sweet flutters of butterflies in your stomach. A girlfriend of mine once referred to men as caterpillars; After much forming and changing, they emerge from their pupa into a beautiful butterfly. Her theory is not far off, if you think about it. But the butterfly cannot emerge without a little nurturing.

While the start of a new relationship can be mostly carefree, we must remember that good communication is key to a long-lasting, meaningful relationship (if that is what you are looking for). Dating ‘experts’ usually advise us not to reveal too much too soon, and not to appear too needy.

While revealing emotions in a relationship is the best practice, there’s nothing out there that says that you shouldn’t communicate your expectations for the relationship; rather, you should feel free to be honest with the person you are dating to let them know if you like, or don’t like, something that they are doing. Let’s be honest, if that person cannot meet those expectations, then why continue seeing them?

Lately, it seems as though my girlfriends are all going through the same thing, asking themselves – or me for that matter -what they should do with the guy they are supposedly seeing.  Recently, one in particular asked me what I thought, and after very little consideration, I asked her… “Have you communicated your relationship expectations to him?”

Her response: “I’m not even sure I know what I want!”

My initial instinct was to shake her; “if you don’t know what you want from him, then why are you getting upset that he’s not fulfilling your needs”?

Before we are able to communicate our needs to our men, we must first discover ourselves. This, of course, is a whole other topic, so I will take it back. By simply determining what we want from the man we are dating, we can feel those needs and wants being fulfilled.  Of course we must communicate these wants and needs to him, otherwise he’ll never know how (or ifhe is going to fulfill them.

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List your ‘Don’t Wants’

Sometimes, when trying to figure out what you want, you first have to know what you don’t want. By knowing what you’re not into, you may be better equipped to decide what you do want.

Be a serial dater

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to play the field.  Men do it, so why can’t women?  Before you do though, let him know, be honest with him. It’s only socially acceptable to date multiple people at once if you are honest with the people you are dating.

Put him in the friend-zone

No man likes being in the friend zone, but if he’s there, tell him. If he wants to continue to be friends, then great! Just respect the boundaries.  Keep in mind that he may not want to hear about your latest Friday night fling.  Don’t tell him – that is what your girlfriends are for. If he wants to be in your life as a friend, he will respect the boundaries as well - if you communicate them to him.

More than just a friend

If you are incapable of being honest with him, or yourself for that matter, then you have no business getting upset that he’s not paying enough attention to you. If you don’t tell him that you want to be more than friends, he won’t know what you want, and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself. It is a hard lesson to learn, but one that you will take with you in every experience.

Friend with benefits

This is a perfectly acceptable zone that you have chosen, as long as you are being honest with yourself that this is all you want. He’ll know if you two are just friends with benefits, because you will already have told him, and he’s not going to turn that down. In this case, you have to be completely and truly honest with yourself. Can you handle it? If he were to date other women while you two are having sexual relations, would it bother you? If you answered yes to the last question, you are not capable of having a friend with benefits relationship with a man.

If you communicate your expectations to him, and he is unreceptive, take it like a grain of salt. You’re weeding out the bad from the good, it’s a process.

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I'm not a dating expert, and I am certainly NOT claiming to be a relationship expert - I am however, very observant and attentive to things that matter to the heart. I'm a single mother, in my thirties, I have a very demanding yet rewarding career in Marketing and Public Relations; and oftentimes, dating and relationships take a back seat, so I'm still searching for my prince charming. In the meantime, I'm happy being me, with or without a man.

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