It’s Not Him, It’s Your Unrealistic Expectations

Niki Marinis

Simple tweaks to save your sanity

Photo Art by Katie Dutch

You think he’s an idiot, he thinks you’re a nut case. You insist he doesn’t understand you, he insists you’re a nut case. You get angry and cry. He shrugs his shoulders, assumes it’s a personal problem that has nothing to do with him and chalks it up to you being an overly emotional irrational nut case.

Sound familiar?

I’ve been let down in the dating world. A lot. But after much reflection and soul searching, I realized it comes down to expectations. It’s not that he’s failing to live up to them, it’s that NO ONE CAN because they’re unreasonable.

I guarantee if you relax and stop holding people to ridiculous standards everyone will be happier.

Stop trying to “decode” his behavior

Women try to interpret what guys do as if it means something more. They’re simple creatures. When they do or say something you don’t really like you go one of two ways.

If you barely know them you give them the benefit of the doubt and then some. If you’ve been with them for years any little thing they say or do that isn’t exactly what you want to hear, when and how you want to hear it, they’re an asshole who doesn’t understand you and your relationship is a mess.

The chemistry my 15-years-married girlfriend had with the college boyfriend she dated before her husband was electric. But she told me the first time they attempted to take things beyond making out on his roommate’s couch he couldn’t rise to the occasion, as it were.

Up until this point there didn’t seem to be any issue. They had to pry themselves off each other.

She had a million explanations: he’s stressed out about school, he has exams coming up, he’s tired from studying all day, he has a heart problem so maybe he has blood pressure issues.

Turns out, he didn’t find her all that attractive and even admitted she was “not super hot” to him. Which certainly would make it hard to get turned on.

When it comes to longer term relationships however, forget the benefit of the doubt. You immediately get upset and assume he’s callous and doesn’t really care about you.

My same girlfriend is a perfect example. They were on vacation and she took about an hour to get ready for some leisurely sightseeing. Excessive? Probably, but she wanted to look nice for him.

As they left the hotel he said, “You don’t need to spend an hour doing your hair and makeup. You’re already an eight in sweat pants. Why bother spending an hour for another two points?”

She burst into tears and sobbed, “I spend time making myself look good for you and you don’t even appreciate it and if you think it’s OK to just walk out the door without a second thought for how you look then you don’t care about yourself or your appearance and you’re taking our relationship for granted and you’re going to stop making an effort with everything!”

She said the look on his face was priceless.

Her husband said she looked good without trying hard. That’s a compliment, right? Yes, and any rational person would agree.

But she heard something completely different, got insulted, and concluded that their entire relationship was in jeopardy. That’s crazy, right? Yes.

Truthfully, I blame Hollywood. Why would you blame yourself? Please, that’s just ridiculous. Which brings me to my next point.

Accept that your life is not a romantic comedy

Thanks to lame movies we have a completely warped sense of what relationships are supposed to look like. The climax of any romantic comedy is a scenario any woman would love to experience firsthand. Sadly, we live in reality but have yet to accept it.

Ladies, it’s time to wake up.

Your best friend since elementary school for whom you suddenly realize you have feelings beyond friendship is not going to show up at your door in the pouring rain on the eve of his wedding to tell you he’s in love with you and not his perfectly lovely fiancé who recognized him for the amazing guy he is from the moment she met him.

Your current FWB is not going to wake up one day, realize he’s madly in love with you and propose on a mountaintop in the Swiss Alps with a vintage, princess cut four carat diamond ring.

Your heartless ex-boyfriend who you thought was “the one” until he dumped you for his receptionist is not going to chase after you in an airport to catch you before you fly off to meet the guy you’ve been Skyping with for six months.

If only!

But I guarantee at some point there was a guy who bought you flowers or wrote you a love letter (a sticky note that says “I love you” counts!) or put some thought into the date he planned for you. Why isn’t that good enough?


It’s hard to accept that our lives will never resemble what plays out on TV thanks to a team of producers, script writers and actors. They all look so happy! Everything always works out in the end!

I guarantee no matter who you are or who you’re dating, your life will never look like the TV show you watch religiously on your couch in your PJs with a thin crust pizza and bottle of pinot grigio live tweeting running commentary with your Twitter friends.

Your life will never be perfect. Your relationship will never be perfect. Nothing will ever be perfect.

That’s OK!

Now, get over it.

You can refine him, you can’t change him

Speaking of the imperfect, your man is a great example. There’s a fine line between “subtly improving” him and “making him into a different person.”

Telling him how handsome he looks with a decent hair cut in hopes he’ll never go back to the Flowbee? Refining your man.

Introducing him up to the joy and comfort of sleeping with sheets on an actual mattress? Refining your man.

Convincing your husband to go out and get a job even though he prefers to spend all day in the basement watching TV, eating chips and reading Star Wars novels? Changing your man.

Side note: maybe you shouldn’t have married a man who’s the mental equivalent of a 15-year-old boy.

Convincing your boyfriend to deal with his gambling problem? Changing your man.

You’re better off liquidating your assets to pay his bookie. Assuming you have any assets left and he hasn’t stolen them and emptied your bank account while you were on a much needed vacation after you finally broke up with him.

So ladies, there you have it. Three simple suggestions.

Listen to what he’s saying. Don’t interpret. The amount of slack you give a guy should be directly proportional to the amount of time he’s put up with your crazy antics and stuck around anyway. Probably because he truly loves you.

Focus on what IS working in your relationship and all the things he’s done for you that made you think, “I’m such a lucky girl.” Post it on Facebook and make your friends jealous and your guy reluctantly proud.

Accept him for who he is. Chances are he loves you for who you are and doesn’t want to change a thing.

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I'm an original. A Warhol. You're just a print. I like thrift store owls, true crime, and breaking hearts.

Ventura, CA

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