Unmet Expectations in Dating: How to Manage Frustration, Wants and Needs

Whether you are new to dating or have been in the dating scene for a long time, unmet expectations in the dating process are something that we all frown upon. From the moment you meet someone, or swipe right on someone, right up to the point of becoming a couple officially, you will face a lot of situations where your preferences are not met by your partner, and explaining them to your partner can be a huge challenge, especially if you don’t want to hurt them but also want to get your needs met.

“I need him to text me more”, “can we just cut the good morning and how are you, and talk about the substantial matter?”, “Why is he taking so long to talk about meeting up?”

I’m sure that you have faced these types of dilemmas when you are dating someone and you have preferences that are not met by your partner. You can be wondering if you should put an end to it, communicate better to see if they could meet your needs, or try to tone down your expectations to get the relationship going.

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A couple on a car, looking unpleasant dealing with unmet expectations in dating
Dealing with unmet expectations in dating

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What are unmet expectations in dating?

Unmet expectations can range from things like the places your partner chooses to take you out to (imagine a girl getting upset because her date did not bring her out to a fancy restaurant – which is ridiculous for most men), text frequencies, meet-up frequencies, topics two people talk about in dating, activities that people do together, which point to pick for dating when couples live far apart, and many more other expectations that people have that cannot be met by the other party.

Is it a common scenario to have different expectations in dating?

If you’re thinking that you are the only one facing friction in your dating life as your expectations are not being met by your partner, here is a dating statistic by Forbes that would ease your anxiety as a lot of couples out there are just as lost as you are, especially women, as statistics say that women find it harder to get their expectations met than men.

So, does it mean that you should drop all your standards and expectations in relationships and accept anyone who comes along your way? No. But, intimacy and the level of comfort should build over time. It is noteworthy that couples who have the same level of attraction could navigate through the differences better organically, especially in the early phase of dating.

One key aspect to notice when it comes to frustrations with unmet expectations in dating is the lack of communication between two people. If you’ve landed here googling what to do with your dates who are not on the same page as you, chances are you both don’t communicate at ease yet. Couples who naturally hit it off during the first meet-up will feel comfortable asking questions and getting feedback.

Another aspect that’s often overlooked is playfulness and casual fun. When you are feeling comfortable with your date, you gradually increase the level of intimacy with them. Talking about harder topics becomes easier as you both are being more vulnerable.

If you look at dates that are not going anywhere, there would be a lot of communication breakdowns. People love bombing then ghosting you for a few days and then coming back to you saying they’ve been busy, and when you pick it up from where you left off, it feels like doing the get-to-know process all over again. You’re not building intimacy over time. It becomes difficult to talk about your needs and wants, and that’s when you’re torn between wanting to keep trying vs putting an end to it because the idea of talking about your needs feels too much. You feel like you’re asking too much from a stranger.

How To Manage Frustration

If you ask yourself why you’re frustrated, you’d know that you’ve placed importance on dating and prioritized your dates. You value the get-to-know process and want them to invest equal importance in getting to know you. Hence, when you have unmet expectations in dating that cannot be easily communicated to your partner, it bugs you.

One thing you should ask your partner is if he or she is taking the getting-to-know process seriously. Do they have love intention? Ask them their preference and talk about it openly. Watch how they respond to you. Are they taking it easy? Are they paying attention to your needs? Are they saying things like “Oh, it’s too early to get closer to one another”, or “We’re just casually dating and have just started to get to know each other”?

Gauge their availability to meet your needs. When a guy asks for your number, it does not necessarily mean he is invested in you. If you’re asking the wrong person to meet your needs, you’ll always be frustrated as they are not ready to give you what you want.

How To Manage Wants and Needs

We all have wants and needs in a relationship and love is reciprocal. When we’re just dating someone, it’s not reasonable to put forth some of our wants on the forefront. Expecting men to spend lavishly on the first few dates or expecting sex from women on the first few days can be an instant turn-off for many.

However, basic dating needs like consistent communication, the willingness to spend time getting to know you, not playing hard-to-get or toxic mind games, being on time for dates, and communicating when it comes to the age-old question “who should pay for the first date” and “should guys pay for everything in a relationship” should all be shared with.

Ask yourself if what you’re demanding from them is something that normally would be fulfilled by a partner once you’re officially in a relationship. Are you asking too much? When it comes to modern dating, a lot of couples are placing importance on equality and both men and women put in the work to make things work.

If you’ve stated your wants and needs clearly to your date, and if you find that you’re putting in more effort than them, probably it’s good to come to terms with the fact that sometimes not everyone is compatible with us. Science says the average woman will kiss 15 men, enjoy two long-term relationships and have her heartbroken twice before she meets ‘The One’.

Why Do People Have Difficulties Letting Go People Who Don’t Meet Their Dating Expectations?

Usually, knowingly or unknowingly, letting go of dates that don’t meet their expectations can be hard if you don’t believe you deserve to be treated better. If you’ve been in the dating scene for quite some time, you’d want to maintain peace with your dates. Your reluctance to ask for clarifications goes to show that you’re trying to be very careful not to offend them. Therefore, communication seems harder and you will have a hard time with your unmet expectations.

Ending things means confronting them and being absolutely honest about your feelings. It means that the hope you had for your dates would end and that you’d need to start all over again with someone else. All my friends are getting married! What do I do if things don’t go well with this guy? Do I need to start all over and spend another half a year before knowing that I am finally settling down?” These are the usual fears our mind feeds us with, and well, they are valid, but they are not fact!

It’s also possible that you’ve seen potential in them and want to stay patient in getting to know them. You are afraid to add pressure to the situation by asking them to step up and meet your needs, and therefore sacrifice your current needs for something that’s seemingly more promising in the future. Don’t fall in love with potential.

Knowing When To End Things

If you’ve tried to make things work and have spoken openly to express your needs in dating, and you see little to no improvements or even constructive feedback as to why they can’t meet your needs, then it’s safe to say that you may need to choose to end things with them.

If dating someone requires this much work, imagine getting into a relationship where there would be more chaos. Do you think they would be able to handle the various responsibilities that come along the way?

It’s not on you to fix them, become their therapists to help them understand their unhealthy ways of dating and wait until they are ready to offer you what you need (unless this is what you choose to do consciously).

Conclusion

Relationships are hard but dating should be fun and less stressful. If communicating with them feels like walking on eggshells, you possibly cannot have arguments with them in the future as you’d always be worried about how it would turn out to be.

While a lot of dating coaches say chemistry and spark are not important, the chemistry that comes in the form of ease of communication between two people shouldn’t be compromised. You either get along well with people or you don’t. And that’s okay.

FAQ

How do you deal with unmet expectations in a relationship?

How to manage expectations in a relationship

1) List down your negotiables and non-negotiables. Ask yourself what you must absolutely have in your negotiables. See if you could prioritize 5 of them from the list you’ve made. Look out for these on your dates and decide if you want to go on further dates with them. This would also apply when you’ve entered into a relationship with them later.

2) Understand that needs and wants may change. Talk to your partner about what you feel so that they understand the change in you. Manage conflicts that may arise in an amicable manner to ensure both parties’ needs are met or not compromised.

3) Letting go of expectations helps although it sounds cliche. Expectations come from the hope that one would behave in a certain manner, especially after you’ve explained what you need from them. But understand that it’s completely up to them to meet your needs, and this has nothing to do with you.

How do you manage your expectations when dating?

How to manage your dating expectations:

1) Do not attach yourself to the outcome of the date. Keep your mind free and do not rule out any possibilities. Do not have any preconceived opinions about your dates unless you’ve asked for clarifications, especially before you met them. This is because it would be hard to judge someone without proper communication and dates.

2) Those you date are not obliged to meet your needs. Therefore, do not get frustrated. Choose to walk away gracefully rather than holding on to them in desperation.

3) Do not be afraid to communicate your needs. People who can’t meet your needs will naturally drop off the radar as soon as they are not on the same page as you.

What are examples of unmet needs in relationships?

One of the key markers of unmet needs in relationships is not feeling appreciated and valued. This starts with dating where if a partner does not feel that they are somewhat important in the process of getting to know each other, it will lead to dissatisfaction and both couples won’t go anywhere far in making the relationship work.

How do you not set expectations when dating?

Let Go of Expectation: The Bottomline. It may sound cliche but as many as 90% of dates don’t lead to anywhere meaningful in today’s dating world, and you should remember that when taking things personally next time someone does not meet your needs in dating.

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