Warning: naughty language ahead!
Have you ever been with someone who just didn’t really live up to your expectations?
I’m guessing we all have.
When that happens, it feels like shit. It can feel surprising. It can feel confusing. It’s easy to get angry when things don’t work out the way we imagined. And that shit happens.
Moreso, when that shit happens, people constantly tell us, “That shit happens” like knowing that will somehow relieve the pain. It kinda does but mostly doesn’t.
For instance, in my dating career, I’ve come across a man or two who was interested for a little while—up until the point I started talking about spending our lives together. “You know honey, we could have a little home, maybe some kids. I would support you and you would support me. We could do this together.”
There was no together. Instead there was a steady decline in communication that turned into evasive actions that took me, let’s say, years to correctly translate as the signal, “This is not going to happen!”
The worst is when you are the one who wants more and what you get in return is, “I love you—but.” Internally my response to the “but” that comes after I love you is, “Don’t push your shitty friendship on me like some consolation prize because you know that I’ll take it and then we will sleep together. No. Just no.”
Externally I end up thanking the person for their “honesty.” Jesus Christ.
The hunt for commitment can feel like the Hunt for Red October—you’ve gotta dive deep into the abyss. It’s not a fun place to go. It’s not even a place you can really choose to go. The abyss is like a waiting room where your are treated like you are getting cable—see you between the hours of seven in the morning and never. Disappointment is the travel agent.
And if you hang out in the abyss long enough the pressure will get to be so much that the only thing you can do is kick with all your might and come up for air. The effort is instinctual.
In other words, anger can be like a floatation device at first, but can turn into an anchor if it is directed at an object or person. This heat-seeking missile will surely blow up in your face. (I’m nailing the metaphors by the way.)
In plain terms, you cannot be mad at someone for not wanting what you want.
I ended up with noncommittal men because for the whole of my twenties I was the naive girl who repeatedly said, “I will never get married or have kids. That just seems stupid.”
Now I’m in my thirties and I wish I would have picked a different mantra.
Now I want to get married and have kids because I totally believe that my heart needs to live in a home of my own—without weird roommates I found on Craigslist. Further, it has been statistically proven married people do have more sex more often, married people are healthier in the long run and stability looks a whole lot better than frivolity.
People have different loyalties at different times in their lives. Some people are more loyal to their mothers than they will ever be to their spouses. Some people are loyal to their occupation and the money it provides. Some people are loyal to their roots and their religion. We all want to belong to something. I’ve always wanted to belong devotedly to all things love.
My love relationship has taken many forms. I wish it would be with some wonderful man who was really into me (This is not a solicitation!). I can hear all the hopefuls out there saying, “It will happen. Just you wait and see.”
Here’s the deal. I must live in the life I have and not escape to the life I imagine. That is how we lose ourselves. We lose the full experience of now by wondering about later.
Lifetimes get eaten up at Home Depot because remodeling the bathroom and picking out what color the wall needs to be painted seems way more important than a real conversation about feelings. Instead it sounds like, “You don’t even care about how this remodel turns out. Seriously, just pick a tile. It matters!”
And it is so important to keep dreams alive. In order to do both, it takes knowing who you are, what your truly value, which convictions you hold. It means getting clear that expectations are just a frame work that, through action, you are attempting to shove your life into.
Adventure is great but so is predictability. Humans need both.
Balance is key. (Deep breath in. Deep breath out.)
Having a mate who loves you for who you are because you are figuring out who each other is by being in the process of discovering who you are by the ways you impact your mate is fucking amazing. When you mix that with devotion, fidelity and loyalty; I think it is the best thing ever. It can feel like standing on the top of the mountain.
And guess what? Some of us don’t even make it to Base Camp one. If we make it to the mountain top, it is because we had Sherpas along the way. Those Sherpas were the non-committal dick-weeds who left our hopes hanging out to dry because, well, we hung our hopes on dry-ass dick-weeds.
Getting what you don’t want makes what you do want abundantly clear.
Clarity is so precious because with clarity you can stake a flag in the ground and claim your plot of land. “This is my land! I put a flag on it.”
Claiming your rightful place in the world is as good as making a declaration, “This is how I am to be treated from here forward: I am to be respected and handled with care” (and whatever else would go in your manifesto for happy manifesting).
I’m beginning to disagree with Jagger. I think you can always get what you want. And in order to do so you must be willing to let go of what you wish you had to actually get what you want. Then again, I wanted roller skates like a decade ago and I never use them. I got them though.
Anyway, happy hunting you animal!
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman