I have often been surprised at the devastation I feel when things end with someone I have been dating for just a short period of time. I think this disappointment comes from the fact that I build up a fantasy relationship of what could be in my mind. Often, I’ve introduce the guy to my friends and family, considered in detail what a future with him would look like, and have become very emotionally attached. When I’m in the worst stages of fantasizing, I’ve even started to consider changing life plans or even moving for the guy—all before he is even my serious boyfriend! When you start dating someone new, a little bit of fantasizing is fun and completely natural. How could I possibly tell a woman to not get her hopes up when she meets someone she’s really excited about? Just don’t get carried away to the point where your fantasy blinds you from reality.
When men and women have these misunderstandings, it’s not always because either party is doing something wrong. As John Gray says in the classic relationship guide Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, men and women oen speak di?erent languages even when we are using the same words. Men and women can easily run into misunderstandings due to our di?erent communication styles. “Expect nothing and keep it moving” is one way that you can make sure you and your guy are at least speaking similar dialects while dating! e key is to keep your eyes wide open about the relationship that you are actually in—not the one you’ve created in your mind. Keeping it moving and expecting nothing is a way to maintain some balance in those early days of dating so that your feelings don’t outpace the commitment you have in reality.
By following this mantra, you stay busy enjoying your life and being your own boyfriend. is is not about pretending not to care. Of course you care! You are simply making sure that your emotional investment stays in line with the natural development of the relationship rather than racing far ahead of it. Go on and live your life. Stop fretting over every text, instant message, and emoticon he sends—or doesn’t send. Don’t we have enough to keep us occupied without checking our call history every five minutes?
Now, “keep it moving” and “expect nothing” have to go together. Doing one without the other will not serve you. If you simply keep it moving yet consistently have boyfriend expectations from men you are casually dating, you will end up bouncing from one guy to the next, continually disappointed that reality doesn’t live up to your fantasies. If you expect nothing without also keeping it moving, you will end up accepting crumbs in your dating life. You’ll spend months or years dating men that you expect nothing from, and sadly, you will get just that: nothing.
The “Expect Nothing and Keep It Moving” method is most helpful in the early stages of dating and friendship. Rather than deciding how much the guy should care or how he should act, allow his words and actions to show you the quality of his character and his intentions. When you don’t burden a relationship with expectations, you allow it to evolve naturally into what it is ultimately supposed to be.
I’m still learning how to expect nothing and keep it moving, but I get better at it every day. The guys I casually date no longer have to hear my heated, hands-on-hips “I’m a catch who deserves to be treated with respect!” lecture. My friends don’t have to listen to me whine, “Why doesn’t he just do what he says he’s going to do?!” And I have more time and energy to write, work on my business, hang out with my friends, date the guys who are most interested in me, and of course, date myself.
SELF-LOVE PRINCIPLE #20
Once you start treating yourself really well, you won’t accept anything less from others.
What is one expectation you will let go of for the early stages of dating?