Great Expectations

The Tale of… Grape Expectations

  • scoop vanilla ice cream
  • ounces grape soda
  • ounces grape vodka
  • Pinch exploding candy, such as Pop Rocks


I learnt a long time ago that the less you expect, the less you will feel disappointment. The trick is to always keep your expectations at a low and you will find yourself feeling pleasantly surpirised far more often. The problem with this, is that woman was built to be hopeful and demanding. So our biological form was doomed from the very beginning.

The endurance of love is determined by proximity and a relationship is certainly reduced by proximity.

In other words- the more time you spend with someone, the more you will grow to loathe them. So as we get older and we start spending more time in one another’s company for extended periods of time and even moving on to the idea of living together, how are we supposed to survive it? 

I was on the train the other day and heard a man on the phone to his partner and he must have said “love you” before they hung up 6 times. In spite of the obvious nausea that followed for me, there was something rather fascinating about it. This guy must have been in his 60s, they were discussing whether she would wait for him to pick him up or if he should just walk home. They were going to see each other in about 15 minutes and they were on the phone for at least 5, and said “love you” six times. It’s not the sort of marriage everyone wants by any means, but, it proves that it is possible. Some people do grow old together, live long, hard lives together and still want to tell that person they love them multiple times on a quick phone call. So where are we all going wrong?

We see glimpses of relationships that seemed to have functioned properly and so we assume that we are all capable of having such relationships. So when yours goes utterly to pieces, you wonder what the problem is. And well, this is it- expectations. One person’s expectation of having dinner cooked for them may be equivalent to having the door held open somewhere else.

“It will work when he’s the one”  said everyone, always. 

“You’ll be able to live with someone when you are meant to live with that person”  said Mum.

…But if the screwed up wet towel on the floor makes me want to throw my straightners at him now, how is this ever going to change? Love isn’t about finding the right person, it’s about settling. It’s about learning to live with another person, and accepting them for all their faults.

So all this has led me to the cruel realisation that my expectations are set just too high.

Let me tell you a story about Claire. Claire is a fairly organised girl, she likes things neat and tidy and always knows where everything is. So one day at work, she realises her credit card is missing. She panics for a while, and then remembers taking it out her purse over the weekend and putting it in another bag. So she texts her boyfriend at home to check in her bag where she thinks she has left it and he says it’s not there. She asks him to make sure as she is going to have to cancel her card and he confirms it is not there. So she cancels her card and that is that. Later that night she gets home and finds the card exactly where she said it was.

She told me everyone’s response had been “typical male” or to laugh. She admitted she herself had laughed at the time. But she knew how much this would nibble away at her. The idea that she had to accept his incompetence just because he was a man just didn’t sit well with her. But let’s face it, there’s thousands of guys out there that do a hell of a lot worse than have poor searching skills, it’s hardly cause for throwing him out. But, when she puts that on the pile of other little things telling her he just can’t be bothered, why should she stick around to feel like he just can’t be bothered with her? Where does, can’t be bothered to make her a cup of tea, turn into, can’t be bothered to spend any time with her unless it involves 6 inches of latex.

When should we learn to not take it personally? Being the stubborn sort I have grown to be, what makes it so hard for me is the risk of giving in. Why should I back down and say it’s okay? In a time when cheating makes good television, and there’s 1000 ways we can communicate with strangers, it seems relationships often fall into a pit of doubt and we’re all scrambling to be able to say we’re content and to not question how the other person feels.

Stubborn ones are programmed to think that giving in means giving away the power. And so no, leaving my freshly washed clothes on the floor won’t kill me, but it does matter to me. And so if it matters to me, shouldn’t it matter to him? And once you give in, what else does he think you’ll give in on?

You might have guessed, there will be no resolution at the end of this post. Luckily in order to preserve my sanity I have come up with a notion of reasoning. Please feel free to borrow it for your own. I will never let it go unsaid, that’s far too easy. However, I justify my 90% takeover of his room with all of my things with the fact that “I’m a girl”, so maybe, one the very rare and odd occasion, I will let it slide just because he’s a boy.

But he will still do all of the cooking.

Image by siraphat: