Lynn Gold (figmo) wrote,
Lynn Gold

Response to a friend's post

A friend posted a friends-locked entry with some questions about love and expectations. Since my reply exceeded LJ's maximum comment size, it's here....

  1. What do you expect from someone who loves you? Please break this down into:
    1. Communication
    2. Affection
    3. Support of all kinds
    4. Responsiveness
    5. Consideration
    6. Any category you think I've left out. If a category doesn't seem relevant to you, tell me.

    Breaking it down into your categories:
    1. Communication -- I expect communication. Period. Let me know how you're feeling, even if it's negative.
    2. Affection -- Gauge it to the right amount at the right time and place. What's proper in front of co-workers is not the same as what's proper in front of parental units or in front of friends.
    3. Support of all kinds -- I expect absolute emotional support. Have faith in me, dammit! As for other kinds, whether it be monetary, taking care of me when I'm sick, or whatever, you give what you can; you don't give what you can't. The one you love and who loves you is a friend first, and friends are a team.
    4. Responsiveness -- I expect my partner to respond to any obvious need I voice. Even if it's "I'm not up to it" (whatever "it" is), at least I expect to not be ignored.
    5. Consideration -- I expect consideration for my feelings. If it would upset me if my partner were to get romantically involved with another person and I've made this clear to my partner, I'd expect my partner to not get romantically involved with another person.
    6. Respect -- This is my addition. You have to respect your partner. If they have opposite-sex friends, you have to trust your SO around them. If your SO sucks at a particular task, you can't expect them to ever be good at it. For example, Warren's cooking is the stuff you use to scare small children. There are times the dog won't even eat it. My housecleaning sucks doody. Warren always complains at how I "leave the [fill-in-the-blank] dirty" even after I've cleaned it thoroughly and "recleans" it himself. We therefore agree if we're doing dinner at [my] home, I cook and he cleans.

  2. How do you tell someone you have expectations of them without sounding pathetic, demanding, or like a beggar?

    You state those expectations clearly and succinctly, preferably with as little emotion in them as possible. Usually they come out in conversation when people are trying to feel each other out. If you expect something and your SO doesn't know you expect it, how the heck can they know to deliver it?

  3. What do you do when someone you love, who tells you they love you, isn't meeting your expectations?

    You discuss things. You have to tell them what you expect. If they know it and don't care and it's massively important to you, then it might be time to consider breaking up. Some examples:
    • You expect monogamy, your partner knows this, yet keeps insisting on being involved with other partners.
    • You expect the relationship to be open, yet this partner has a major hissyfit when you do anything with anyone else.
    • Your partner abuses you physically and/or emotionally.

  4. In light of phrases like, "If you really loved me, you wouldn't put conditions on our love," and "If you loved me, you'd let me manipulate you!"-- is it appropriate to have expectations of people who love you at all? Why or why not? Is there a better way to say you expect things of the people who are in your life than to use the word, 'expectation'?

    Yes, it's appropriate to have expectations of SOs or even friends. They're a different set of expectations, but they're there. The term "paradigms" might be more appropriate. You need to determine early-on how open or closed your relationship is going to be, how far you do or don't want to go sexually, and how much overall devotion you expect at any given phase in a relationship. For example, people who have just started dating are more likely to have fewer demands of each other than folks who've been involved for months or years.

    Part of your expectations, paradigms, demands, or whatever you want to call them have to do with each of your personalities and orientations. As extreme examples, there are some folks who expect sex on the first date, and there are others who can be involved for years without having sex. Whatever is right for you and your partner together is what's right to expect. If you have children, you have every right to expect your SO to treat your offspring with respect.

  5. What expectations do you assume your lover(s) has/have of you? Please break this down into:
    1. Communication
    2. Affection
    3. Support of all kinds
    4. Responsiveness
    5. Consideration
    6. Any category you think I've left out. If a category doesn't seem relevant to you, tell me.

    Again, breaking it down into your categories:
    1. Communication -- presumably my SO expects me to communicate with them. Communication keeps relationships going. Even if the "sizzle" goes out, you've got a friendship there if you can keep honestly communicating.
    2. Affection -- Mine expects me to gauge it to the right amount at the right time and place. What's proper in front of co-workers is not the same as what's proper in front of parental units or in front of friends.
    3. Support of all kinds -- That can vary from SO to SO. I had one boyfriend who expected me to do nearly everything with little to no help from him. Warren, OTOH, feels it's his "duty" to support me in every way.
    4. Responsiveness -- He has needs. If he lets me know what he needs and it's something I can reasonably do, he can expect me to meet his needs.
    5. Consideration -- It's only fair that I respecting his wishes. Warren has a running half-joke with me. He says, "You can go out with anyone else you want, but if you do, I'll beat the snot out of them." I then pause. He says, "Why are you so quiet?" I reply, "I'm trying to figure out who I'd like you to beat the snot out of." This is clearly a joke, as he'd never beat the snot out of any of my male friends. OTOH, he'd get very upset if I took on another SO. I'm also monogamous by nature, so I consider this a very reasonable demand.
    6. Respect -- You have to respect each other. In what he can demand till he's blue in the face, he can hope I change ingrained behaviors or that I competently do tasks at which I suck, but it isn't going to happen. For example, I suck at cleaning. I always have sucked at it. He keeps demanding I clean things, but deep down he knows no matter how hard I try, it's not gonna happen. (I'll clean things and he'll "reclean" them.)

  6. If you aren't sure what those expectations are, how do you find out what their expectations are? (I know, the simple answer is "ask them," but....)

    I don't know else how to find stuff out without asking. One of the most frustrating relationships I ever had was with a guy who let everyone he could think of who knew us in common know what his expectations were but me. That is no way to have a relationship.

    Sometimes the way you phrase a question will affect the answer. You can kind of hint how you feel about something by merely changing how you accent a sentence. For example, take the question, "Do you like chocolate?" Repeat the question, each time emphasizing the next word:
    • Do you like chocolate? -- Do you like or dislike chocolate?
    • Do you like chocolate? -- I have a strong opinion on this and want to know what yours is.
    • Do you like chocolate? -- We've established you have at least a passing fondness for chocolate. How strong is this fondness?
    • Do you like chocolate? -- I'm trying to determine what flavors you like. Is chocolate on that list? [Note: If you're dark-skinned, this of course has a much more fun alternative meaning. ;-)]

  7. Is it unhealthy to assume that what other people do for you is what they'd want done for themselves, or just stupid? Corrollary: How stupid is it to presume or hope for the converse-- that other people will do for you what you do for them?

    This soooo depends on the person. Most folks do for you what they'd want done for themselves. It's rare for a person to do for you somethng you and they both know they wouldn't want. That requires an extra level of consideration or thoughtfulness. For example, Warren will ask me to buy him food items I can't stand. I'll happily do so. Likewise, he'll buy me food items he can't stand.

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