When Cate and Lance started dating, Cate had an idea in her head about how it would go. It’s pretty typical: (1) Great first date, (2) Great subsequent dates, (3) Feeling that there was a complete and total “connection” (4) Tons of laughs, (5) Affirmation from Lance that he felt the same way. Then something changed … (but not really) …
Let me first say that Lance really did feel strongly for Cate. HOWEVER, he violated Cate’s EXPECTATIONS of how he should behave early on in a dating relationship. You see, Lance is a very independent person who likes his space. He likes doing his own thing. But that didn’t mean that he didn’t want a relationship with Cate. He did. Actually, he absolutely adored Cate – probably more than any other girl he had ever dated. But his actions sometimes didn’t make Cate feel that way. She wanted him to want to spend all of his free time with her.
A typical scenario for them went something like this:
Cate: “Do you want to hang out this weekend?”
Cate: “Cool! When? What time? What do you want to do?”
Lance: “I’m not sure yet. I have a big project that is due next week, and so I need to see how much I can get done on that.”
Cate: “Ummm. Okay.” (Thinking…why doesn’t he want to spend time with me?)
Cate took this typical scenario as a sign that he “just wasn’t that into her.” But that wasn’t true. What was true, however, was that Lance was just a busy person. And he sometimes likes his alone time. And he also likes time to spend with his friends. But does this mean that he didn’t care very deeply for Cate? No. But that’s not how Cate felt.
You see, Cate’s EXPECTATIONS of Lance’s behavior were making her feel unloved. Lance was not trying to make her feel unloved. Lance was simply being himself. Cate wanted him to behave in a manner that was in conflict with his true self. Her EXPECTATIONS were causing her suffering.
So did Cate and Lance make it? No. But they parted ways on good terms. They finally realized that Cate’s expectations of spending a lot of time together did not match up with Lance’s needs for his space. Neither person is wrong - it’s just the way it is.
Sure, some expectations are reasonable – like expecting to be treated with respect and human dignity. But other expectations are not reasonable. The lesson here is that people do not always behave the way we want them to. In fact, it’s very rare that they do. So what should you do? Scream? Shout? Fight? Pout? Cry? You could. But what good does that do? Very little. Really, if you want to be happy, all you can do is adjust your expectations. Or go find someone else that you’re more compatible with. :)
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