Managing Expectations for $18.98 Alex

The heart wants what the heart wants. As cliche as that sounds, its too god damn true. Everybody wants to float around on this Earth with someone they fancy more than a friend or even a lover. We all out here tryna find our partners in whatever criminal endeavors there can be. Though there’s going to be some almosts, maybes, and hell no’s, a decision has to be made on somebody eventually right? At least that’s the prevailing assumption.

Let me provide some context. I had this very discussion with a friend of mine who was having a bit of dilemma. The dilemma being one of too many options. She had a serious rotation of men (about 7 this month) and to her great fortune, they all were super into her. Good for her. Too good it turns out. So clearly some roster cutting had to be made. She had to figure out who the top draft picks were going to be and as much as it pained her to cut the dude that gave her free coffee each week at Coffee Bean, he had to go. He wasn’t alone either. She eventually gets down to the top three dudes and everything is looking great.

I ask her “Alright so which one are you going to pick to date exclusively?” She stares at me as though I said her mother just got hit by a runaway tractor. Homegirl truly believed she was going to be able to date all three of these guys with no problems. Now to be a player, you gotta have players. And from what information I gathered, maybe one of them would entertain the idea of an open relationship. Suffice to say, she had no answer as to which one she liked the most. At this point I said my peace and let her do her thing.

A classic case of failing to manage expectations, both personally and of her little harem of men. It’s not a rule nor is it mandatory, but clarity is key in the dating game. But not everyone believe in being upfront and clear because they feel you’re forced to show your hand before it’s ready. Couldn’t be farther from the truth. You don’t have to show shit until it gets to that point. Up until the nitty gritty, it’s all good and fun; y’all just friends learning about one another and seeing what’s up with the new food spot in downtown. Nothing complicated. But this the hard part: some people that know there’s no future with someone think they can just keep things ambiguous forever. Which is the most disingenuous thing one can possibly do in such a scenario. Greed and integrity do battle in the dating scene all the time.

Sadly enough, there’s a lot to be gained from being vague and leading people on. Attention and affection without commitment for one. Sometimes hanky panky happens. Sometimes there’s a material benefit for doing the dance. Whatever the case, some people keep things confusing for fear of abandonment; they’ve gotten too used to things as they were. This behavior is cyclical too. One person does it to another, then that person has that seed planted and they may resort to it based on previous experiences. Again, there’s nothing wrong with playing the field and figuring out what’s the best course of action. Denying people the appropriate level of knowledge they probably deserve isn’t kosher. I try to enter situations with no expectations of anyone’s behavior. I have no bearing or control over what they do. But having this view doesn’t mean it’s ill advised to predict behavior and respond appropriately to it.

If somebody is doing the most in regards to trying to hangout, invitations to where they’re gonna be, and willingness to foot the bill for stuff without being prompted…they’re pretty damn interested. And if the object of their affection isn’t keen on the situation, it’s only fair they level with their admirer. Unrequited love sucks, but at least it’s clear that those efforts need to be directed toward someone else. It’s weird though because it’s easy to feel guilty for not reciprocating someone’s advances. But attraction can’t be fabricated. If the vibes are there, the vibes will stay. If there’s no magic, don’t try and sprinkle desperation on it. Gotta let things be as they may.

I don’t know what prompted this random diatribe, but I think it needed to be put out there in the world. Some people are so engrossed within themselves to see their impact on the emotional state of others. Awareness is a skill. Some have natural affinity and some have to work at it. But remaining ignorant is a choice, not a condition.And with so much emotional energy being expended to even parley in the dating scene, everyone owes it to each other to be minimize wasted time. All that pussy-footing could be denying someone a chance at a true connection with someone who actual gives a shit beyond inflating their ego.

That being said, there’s nothing wrong with options. Just don’t eat the cake in front of the ice cream.