“We may see, for example, that our expectations of others have led to disappointment and resentment.”
Sex Addicts Anonymous, page 41
The first time I went on a date with my partner, I had a sense of hopeful anticipation for what the evening and the person would be. It was a brand new experience, and I was open to whatever might happen.
A few months later, however, familiarity had set in, and I had come to have expectations of that person. These expectations helped me to develop the relationship by building on what I learned—a map, of sorts, to our interactions. This was very useful in anticipating, for example, how she wanted her coffee or other small ways to be of service.
But this map also became an obstacle. As I moved from curiosity to expectations, my expectations set limits, creating disappointments when not met. What’s more, my imagination began to enhance the map, adding my own hopes and fantasies about the relationship to my list of expectations, eventually creating a yawning gulf between daydream and reality. The inevitable result was frustration, resentment, and isolation.
Living with expectations may be unavoidable, but releasing others from their obligations to meet my expectations is a step towards freedom for them and for me. Learning to live with open awareness and a little wide-eyed, hopeful wonder can dissolve barriers and unlock choices. I can pray for the willingness, then practice being a loving partner, and let the consequences be what they will.
Just for today, help me be open to the opportunities for life that await me.