A fish is not a bird: having realistic expectations

I want to focus this blog on expectations, because they were such a huge part of my issue as a love addict. In simple terms, I had the wrong expectations of people throughout my life. I had high expectations at certain times, and low expectations at other times. Expectations confused me!

Expectations can be hugely tricky. We’re supposed to have high expectations of our partners. By having high expectations it proves that we demand the best for ourselves, doesn’t it? Well, yes and no. The trick is to have high expectations from someone who can realistically meet them. And this is something I never got. So, here’s a little repetition to help you understand this concept better than I ever did:

You cannot have healthy expectations of someone who is not healthy.

You cannot expect an unhealthy person to respond to you in a healthy way.

You cannot have high expectations  from someone who doesn’t have his/her own set of high expectations. 

Just as you cannot expect to have a logical, healthy, deep, meaningful conversation with a drunk or drug addict,  you cannot expect to have a logical, healthy, deep, meaningful conversation about love with someone who has so much trouble showing it or giving it or doesn’t have any to begin with.

And you cannot expect a fish to be a bird, and that’s most important. 

When I was younger I would date guys with no job, no way of caring for themselves, still living with mom, unable to take me out any where, and then I’d get angry because they needed to get their act together. Well, who’s the fool here?

I was. I expected them to be something they were not. And those expectations grew stronger and stronger until my frustrations got the best of me.

When that happened, I then went head-first into a relationship with no expectations. This was an equally bad idea. When you have no standards, no VALUES, you’re like a bad filtering system that lets all the junk in. You play Russian roulette and hope to get a winner. That’s no way to live, let alone choose a mate.

Unsolicited advice on expectations?

Have realistic expectations from people who can actually meet them. You can reasonably expect that a man who has worked every day of his life, providing for himself and saving his money will continue to make a good living and be able to afford a girlfriend. You can reasonably expect that a woman who has a loving family and treats her friends well will also treat you well. And you can reasonably expect that someone who has had a stable, loving relationship in his or her past (whether it worked out or not) is capable of having another stable, loving relationship.

Finally….how do you know you can expect certain things from certain people? You don’t know right off the bat. But you can make educated guesses, you can use your instinct, and best and most important of all….you can get to know people BEFORE creating any kind of love or sex relationship with them. Time is your most valuable possession as a recovering LA who is getting back into the dating world. DOn’t be afraid to wait. DOn’t be afraid to make use of Time.

And likewise, here’s something else that you can apply to the expectations you have of yourself: Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid. ~Albert Einstein

Bottom line: I think it is incredibly important to have high expectations of people. But they have to be the kind of people that can live up to them. And it’s your job to know the difference!

4 thoughts on “A fish is not a bird: having realistic expectations

  1. June, I enjoyed reading this entry on expectations. I am a newly recovering sex and love addict. When I was acting out, I always placed unrealistic expectations on the various men in my life. Thank you for sharing your recovery.


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