We all have them.  We expect that we’ll get our education, find a job, find a partner, settle down, start a family (even if it is only a pet) and grow old.  Or at least some sense of that pattern.  We also expect that we’ll like our job, our partner will do certain things and we’ll do this that or the other.  I learned very early on that most of those things don’t happen in the way we expect them to.

For instance:

If things had gone according to my expectations, I would never have broken up with my first serious boyfriend in high school.  We would’ve stayed together while I was in college, he would’ve sent me flowers at least once a month and would surprise me with visits and love notes.  We would’ve had a 300+ guest list wedding, my best friend in high school would’ve been in my wedding party and we’d be living down the road from my parents.  While he was at work, I’d be at home with probably 3 kids by now and he’d still look at me the way he did when we were kids.  But did that happen?  No.  Am I sad about that?  Definitely not.

So what actually happened?

He and I broke up because we were so young when we were dating, and we grew apart.  Yes, it was hard, and he was the person I secretly compared every other boyfriend to (until I met S, of course).  I went through numerous boyfriends, expecting them to be like he was, and they never lived up.  I expected big romantic gestures and signs of affection, and they never came, and I wondered where my happy ending was.  I went through undergrad and never met Prince Charming (although I met my share of evil villians) – oh wait, that’s a lie, because I did meet him, but didn’t realize he was Prince Charming until about a year and 8 months later.  Some where in the transition between undergrad and grad school I grew up and dropped my expectations.

When S and I started dating, he had just gotten out of the relationship he thought “was it”.  Even though I’d had a crush on him for months and months (cursed ex-boyfriend and everyone else around me for seeing it before I did!!), I still wasn’t expecting to ever be given the chance to date him.  So once we did start dating, I just went with the flow.  And I struggled, and cried, but never let him see it.  I wanted grand gestures, but never expected to get them, so the littlest things (like a fresh cut rose on my car) meant the world to me.  If I had expected things from him… if I had expected him to say he loved me after two weeks because “that’s how it happens in the movies”, we would’ve failed miserably.  But we didn’t, and we have been happily married for 354 days. 

How I did this, the girl who loves to plan, who loves to have a map of how things are going to go, I’ll never know.  Maybe it’s because S was just right for me.  Maybe it’s because I finally realized that the expectations I had from high school were unrealistic for most.  Or, maybe I realized that expectations and desires are two completely different things.  Do I still want flowers often, even if it is a flower he picked on the way home?  Yes, of course.  But I never expect them.

I guess the reason I’m talking about this is to encourage you to reevaluate your expectations… and allow things to take their natural course.  If you don’t, you’ll be constantly disappointed and frustrated.  Not all jobs are as amazing as they seem, house purchases and renovations won’t go as easily as they do on HGTV and your partner will not do the things Noah did for Allie in The Notebook (Warning: link contains the movie synopsis if you haven’t seen it).  But I guarantee, if you drop your expectations of your partner, he/she will end up even more amazing than Noah and you’ll live a much happier life!


  1. So very, very true. I am currently working on dropping those hidden expectations I didn’t know I had in order to make myself a happier life.

    Very well put. 😀

  2. Thank You! I love my husband more now that the day I married him, but I need to stop thinking of my life as a chick flick movie. I too need to work on just enjoying life as it is rather than expecting things 🙂

  3. thanks, Jessica! I think we all need this reminder.

  4. Can I also add that I kinda saw it, too? I even said to myself one day, “If J & S were both single they would be perfect for each other.” Ha! I called it. =)

  5. Great post, Jess! One thing I learned over the past few years – especially the past 6 months – is not to drop expectations too low though. It’s a constant battle of give and take and finding what you can live with and what you can’t live without 🙂 At 28, I feel like I’m about 40 with all that I’ve been through!!

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