Thursday, September 5, 2013

relationships and expectations

Ok. Let me begin with this: I'm not saying that you should have low expectations, or that you should settle for anything less than you deserve. I should also tell you that I am definitely a hopeless romantic and this post was a learning process for me.

Now that that's out of the way, let me paint you a little picture. With words though, because I'm not actually a painter.

There is a girl, who for our intents and purposes, is named Sally. (Sorry, Sallys of the world, it was the first name that popped into my head.) Sally has dreamed her whole life of the perfect man to walk into her life and sweep her off her feet in a rush of shining armor and beautiful bouquets of roses. She knows it will be wonderful, but she's still waiting, and she's starting to get impatient. Sally sometimes feels frustrated at the lack of "real gentleman" out there, and is always talking about how "chivalry is dead." What is she doing wrong? Isn't she a catch? Well, of course she is! Sally is very pretty, generally kind and well-spoken, and any knight would be lucky to have her.

But here's the problem: Sally has this list, you see. Oh, she hasn't exactly written it all out, but she has it in the back of her mind. It's her List of Things You Must Be/Say/Do in Order to be Mr. Right. It might look something like this:

-Loves music and movies
-Good dancer
-Never calls me "hot", but only "beautiful"
-Opens my car door
-Responds to my texts quickly
-*insert eye color/hair color here*
-Brings me flowers on a regular basis
-Would be a good father
-Good cook
-Worthy priesthood holder or *insert denomination here but click that link because it's a great one*
-Never has to ask what he needs to do, he'll just do it because he loves me and knows me so well.

Ok. Do you see the picture I'm writing here? Sally isn't exactly doing anything wrong. I mean, this list could belong to any number of girls out there, myself included. Doesn't every girl want someone who'll bring her flowers? Of course. And notice this: there are definitely a few things on that list that are very, very important. I'm trying to illustrate a point. There are some things that should be deal-breakers/makers, and some things that shouldn't be. In my personal opinion, you shouldn't automatically write someone off because he didn't open your door on your first date. (The horror! The outrage!)

The same goes for this whole debate about "hot" versus "beautiful". I think it's safe to assume that most girls would prefer to be called beautiful. It's the classier word, for sure. But really? Is it the end of the world if a boy calls you "hot?" (I could see the pitchforks as I typed that sentence.) I'm not saying that it should be used a lot, especially in a vulgar way that blatantly objectifies women. No, I do not support that idea. But I do think you should cut a guy some slack. I don't think anyone really appreciates hearing, "Oh man, that girl is so hot, just blankety-blank blank expletive expletive I-don't-actually-know-what-he-would-say-but-it's-crude" but that's very different from, "Wow, you're lookin' hot!" At least to me. There are, of course, plenty of other words that can be used instead. "Hot" can easily be replaced with lovely, nice, pretty, etc., but I think "beautiful" should be used sparingly. It should feel special, because it is special.

On the subject of physical appearance, sometimes it is hard for me to understand an item on the list such as, "He has to be taller than me," or my personal favorite, "He can't be the same height as me." Okay, tall girls. I'm not entirely qualified to make this statement, as I am on the shorter side of the height spectrum, but is it really the most important thing? Don't get me wrong, physical attraction is definitely an important part of a lasting relationship, but when people start putting up restrictions like, "Can't have brown eyes, only blue" I have to put my foot down. I mean, what if the love of your life is standing right there, completely in love with you, willing to change his whole life for you, and you say, "I love everything about you and I would marry you, but...your eyes aren't blue." (Okay, that might've been a bit extreme. Nevertheless, this is what I always picture. Some poor guy on one knee, his eyes being all brown and stuff.) If you're not attracted to someone physically, okay. That's fine. But stop making unimportant restrictions for yourself. Just let it be. (Once again, I will never be tall. This is just what I have observed.)

Music, art...okay, yeah, you want someone well-educated, well-read, well-rounded. But maybe steer clear of bullet-points like this: "Thou shalt love music just like I do and all of the same bands as me because OMG #musicismylyfe."First of all, stop hashtagging #musicismylyfe. Second, it is 100% okay if you and your significant other have different interests in music. It's fun if you like some of the same things, but also fun to introduce each other to new music! The same principle applies to movies. Art. Books. TV shows. You will have things in common; at least, I hope so! That's important, too. Compatibility, right? But if you just absolutely love the 6-hour movie version of Pride and Prejudice and he just doesn't, it's OKAY. Take a breath. (I know, it's hard for me to understand too.)

Good cook? Bonus point. Good dancer? Another one. He's not necessarily a natural Bobby Flay or Gene Kelly, but might be willing to learn how to be good at those things? Ding ding ding! That's a good sign. (The same does not apply to helping him learn to love The Lizzie McGuire Movie.) Brings you flowers? Well, then he's really awesome. What gets me is when girls feel entitled to those flowers. "If I am to date you, or even think about dating you, then I expect a fresh bouquet of flowers consistently." Those things get expensive, dude! Don't mandate flowers. Let them be a lovely surprise. (Plus, Bruno Mars is always singing about how he hopes he buys you flowers, so maybe more gents will catch on.)

The last bullet really gets me. Why do we girls believe that there is such a thing as mind-reading? Especially concerning guys? No offense to you boys, but I don't think you'd disagree with me when I say that you usually aren't always sure why a girl gets annoyed with you, because she just expects you to Know Somehow. Believe me, I have been there. "Why doesn't he just fix it? How can he not know? Oh my gosh, seriously, he just asked me what was wrong. Ha! As if I'm going to tell him. I'll just sit here until he figures it out." Um, okay. You go ahead and wait, and let me know how it goes. Chances are he'll forget about it, or go find someone else. As with everything else I've posted, there are different sides to every story. If your guy has actually done something to hurt you that he should definitely remember, that's different. But if it's a communication issue on your end of things, then really, who's fault is it? (Also, if you're mad because he took more than five minutes to respond to your text message, then jeez, get over it. That's a whole other bullet-point, isn't it? Let's be honest. Texting has added a whole new dimension to dating and relationships that I could spend an entire separate blog post on. But not today.)

Are you following me? Look at these two bullet-points: good father, worthy priesthood holder. I could add these, too: invested in his education, willing to support a family, someone who loves me. These are my deal-makers. In everyone's heart, they have a match they hope to find. Someone they've dreamt about, to complete them. But should this person really complete you? We hear that all the time. "He completed me. He was my missing piece." I don't want any missing pieces, and neither should you. Learn to be complete on your own. Let the person you fall in love with be an eternal compliment to who you learned to be on your own. Don't let your own list get in the way of that, because it shouldn't.
I will probably disqualify everything I've written by saying this, but I'm single. And I like it! It's such a great chance for me to learn about myself, and I don't want it to become a time for me to bitterly map out my expectations in a soul-mate. Your expectations shouldn't be low. They could be more reasonable. Stop bemoaning the lack of men who meet your standards that are probably placed a little bit too high-n'-mighty. Why not set some expectations for yourself? You're not perfect, and neither are they, so your expectations for them shouldn't revolve around something you consider "perfect." Let them revolve around strong, basic, long-lasting qualities, and I promise you will be happier, with yourself and with whoever he may be.

*steps off soapbox*


  1. I absolutely loved this! You are such a talented writer, and I wish you all the best of luck! ;)

  2. Carlie! I'm right there with ya! P.s. I love the way your writing flows....I'm a creeper. :)

  3. I love this!! Every word is true. Some of the best advice I ever got was right before I started dating Josh, and it was this: "Don't limit yourself by thinking you can only date someone taller than you, or you will be missing out on a lot of awesome dating opportunities."
    Nearly two years later, we're married and yes, I am about half an inch taller than he is... depending on the shoes we're wearing.. and life is bliss!

    *steps off soapbox*
    Really, though. Tall girls, short guys are still awesome.

  4. I hate when girls set standards for men, but don't follow them themselves. Like, "Ah, why is he so cryptic?" And I'm like, "HELLO, women are the most cryptical/complicated people out there." Or when we expect to be treated like perfect angels, but don't treat men in the same way. There can't be a double standard. This is especially true with feminists out there who are all "Equality!" and then expect to be treated like royalty. C'mon, pick a side and stick to it.

    Also, I love that you're blogging again.