I am the kind of person that likes to have a plan for every part of my day - even if that plan is to do absolutely nothing. I subconsciously predetermine my day, and can visualize and predict almost every moment. I have expectations for every moment, even if they aren't high.
For example, this past Sunday, I was very excited to do absolutely nothing. I was going to just sit, maybe watch a movie, maybe just sit. And I was so looking forward to it. I never fully communicated this to my SO, but since we are home bodies and he didn't express any real plans, I thought we were on the same page. But it became very clear as soon as he woke up that he wanted to do stuff. He wanted a project. He wanted to fix something, or make something. We've been doing quite a bit of DIY projects around our new place, and we've been really enjoying it, but I did not want to do anything, and it pissed me off that he wouldn't leave me alone, or join me in my laziness.
I mean, he wasn't asking me to run a marathon - just hang a clock, or help him frame some new prints, and I couldn't-no, wouldn't, help. Yes, I was being ridiculous, but I had a plan, expectations for that day, what I would do, how I would feel, etc. So I shuffled around, sour, tired, and down-right immature.
We all have expectations, whether good or bad, and they run our lives. They tell us when we are happy and when the world hates us...
you didn't burn your dinner or your favorite bottle of wine is half off!
(expectations exceeded = happy)
you missed that taxi so you'll be 3 minutes later than you anticipated
(expectations failed = don't talk to me)
I am desperately trying to adjust my expectations and roll with the punches when things don't go my way, but sometimes, I just can't. And unfortunately, my expectations have certainly ruined my mood, my day, and quite possibly my week! Here are 4 real honest examples of times when I have let my expectations ruin my reality, and almost ruin my marriage.
4 Times Expectations Almost Ruined My Marriage
1. The big honeymoon
I did not enjoy my honeymoon. Our wedding was stressful, exhausting, and just felt like work, so naturally we both needed a few days of rest - physical, emotional, mental, etc. But, it was our honeymoon. And although I never had crazy, fairy-tale ideas, I thought it would be at least a bit romantic. Although I wasn't expecting a tropical trip to a private island, I expected at least 2 romantic meals, public displays of affection, and loads of sex. Instead, we ended up in a podunk town, ate too much Top Ramen, didn't take any pictures, and didn't have NEARLY enough sex. I still say that it was probably some of the most difficult days of our marriage. All I had to do was adjust my expectations, communicate clearly, and then move on. But I was stuck, frustrated, and exhausted, and now I don't think I will ever get another honeymoon.
2. The ugly conversation
A few months ago, I wanted to have a positive, light-hearted discussion with the boo about having kids. I am certainly not "ready" in any sense of the word, and although we talked about the idea of kids tons when we were dating, once we got married, it became the taboo subject of the house. I was not intending to sit him down with an ultimatum of "in x years, we will have a baby." I just wanted to talk about what I was excited for when we eventually have little ones and open the subject up again. It was probably the timing, or my poor communication skills, but all of a sudden, he was angry, I was sobbing, and I actually had to leave the house for several hours. It took us weeks before we could both calmly discuss the topic, but I was tiptoeing around, moping, etc. It didn't help that I called my mom about the subject and her advice was "well, maybe he just doesn't want to talk about it because he doesn't want to have kids with YOU anymore."
3. The romantic guesture
I deeply admire those couples that still go on dates. I have these fantasies of getting "sick and sexi-fied" (thank you K$sha), taking the hubby someplace special, having great meaningful conversation, and feeling young again - maybe getting a little nasty someplace we shouldn't. Instead, when I plan dates, I get dressed up, he drives, we sit in comfortable silence, or talk about the same sh$t we do at home, get back in the car, back into our sweats and back on the couch. Although we have fun together and we never really lack conversation topics, my expectations of that movie-style candlelit adventure, generally make me feel like the entire night was a waste, and definitely not sex-ified.
We never really celebrated our first wedding anniversary. We technically went on a trip the month before, stayed on a private beach, etc. but it was to celebrate our best friend's wedding, and we ended up sharing the house with my brother and his two kids under the age of 3. So we basically celebrated someone else's wedding instead. Then, on our actual anniversary, I expected Sean to do something. Even though we were broke, I was hoping for flowers, or delivered coffee (can you tell that coffee is important to me?) or maybe a fun night home with a fort. Just something memorable. We didn't do anything that night that we wouldn't do any other night. So, a few weeks later, when I noticed that I was still a bit bitter about it, I bucked up, planned my version of a romantic date. When we got there, some of his friends happened to be there. So, while I set up the fast food picnic in the botanical gardens, he left me to chat with his buddies for a bit. Sure, we still got our meal together, but those few minutes with his friends "ruined" my night and my attitude. And now I still remember (and bring up) the fact that we didn't really do anything for our anniversary. And it bothers me! And it frustrates me. And I can't seem to let it go. (As I am writing this, let me tell you that, I understand how ridiculous this all sounds.)
4. The few and far between
I rarely get dressed up. I am either in my yoga pants or my office clothes. I hardly ever "try" to look nice or sexy, but sometimes I need to feel extra special or extra sexy. There was one night in particular, where I had something special planned for the hubby on a Sunday afternoon, but it turned out he had a pick-up basketball game that he wanted to go to instead, so I took a deep breath, tried not to take it personally, and figured that it would give me a few hours to primp and groom. So I told him not to play too hard, because I wanted certain adult things from him when he got home. I put on some lingerie from our honeymoon that I never wore (see number 1 -.-), curled my hair, and felt like a total VS model. He got home, said I looked nice, and then said...
"But, I'm just so tired."
Let's just say that it did not go well. And for a long while, I stopped initiating sex all together.
Expectations continue to ruin my life.
And no matter how hard I try to keep my expectations low, not expect to win the lottery, or get my dream house, I still end up in the same loop. I don't expect to go on dates with my husband; I don't expect him to make me dinner every time he beats me home in the evenings; don't expect him to bring flowers or coffee home.
And I've done this on purpose. I don't want to be dissapointed. I don't want to be upset at him for not anticipating every plan. My expectations (and hatred for communicating those expectations) have caused the biggest issues in our marriage. It feels like our relationship has gone through all of the big problems - infidelity, long distance, finance struggles, etc. - and yet the ones that really pull us apart come from uneven expectations.
Luckily, this is something that we have both identified, and I am actively trying to adjust my expectations, be clear, concise, with obvious action steps. I am also working on "rolling with the punches" a bit more and not letting my expectations restrict me or my emotions.