Addicted to Expectation


I dated a girl. She was very close to the ideal for me. At the beginning, she even said that if ever I felt it wasn’t working, I must say so, and we could figure it out – split – amicably. Respectfully.

When I told her that it wasn’t working for me, there was month of silence-filled conversations and tears enough to un-drought California.

Her expectation for the relationship and me was, sadly, misplaced. Expectation and imagination overwhelmed reality.

We love to expect, and when expectation is either disappointed or gratified, we want to be again expecting.

Samuel Johnson

Separating Wheat from Chaff

1940s Couple Leaving Home Carrying Luggage --- Image by © H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Corbis

By the way people confidently couple-up, you would think that we were born with an innate understanding of how we’re supposed to do this.

Young ladies and gentlemen move from a few dates to regular sex to shacking up at speeds approaching that of light. Zoooooom. They are then left bereft and wondering at  what happened when a black hole sucks them up. Hey, no-one said space travel was riskless.

I too began adult life with this kind of confidence…until life smashed me in the face with the message I’d been missing all along: I wasn’t doing it well. At all.

The idea of inbuilt relationship skills falls apart under the slightest exam. (Not that we do examine it, which is my point.) Yes, the reproductive part is a functional app after puberty, but even that needs a few “Help” links. Everything else, from how to approach a person of interest to the matter of sorting the flakes from the good ones to how to share a living space requires some thought, or reading or outright instruction.

We are born with as much of an understanding of cordon bleu cookery as we are of how to find, court, meld, discover, be with and ultimately love someone. Easy it is not; straightforward it is not; simple it is not; learned it might just be.

That leaves us with the fatal question: How can I find good role models or books or any kind of resources about doing this better?

I wonder.

Would You Date You?

Along with my second half-century maturity (!) came a little insight.

It arrived in the mail along with my application to join some kind of “Seniors” organization. Bah humbug.

The insight should have occurred to me long ago, but youth has blindness to such matters – species continuation relies upon ego and lack of self-assessment.

Anyway. The point I’m circling is best defined with the following question:

Would I date me?         (If I were a woman, that is.)

Reveling in Not Understanding

Time spent understanding men – if you’re a woman – or women – if you’re a man – is part of being human. We are different, and difference piques our interest.

* Why is the female orgasm such an elusive (some might say slippery) catch?

* What’s with guys leaving (or sleeping) immediately after sex?

* Who the heck understands why one-night-stands so often remain one night affairs?

Although I have spent a great deal of time contemplating and writing about motives and proclivities, almost everything about women is a mystery to me. Inquiry is good, but I have learned that in some respects answers are best left un-found.

Answers are an end point. If we don’t have answers, we’ll keep coming back to the questions, and my suspicion is that nature intends it that way. In other words, sex and relationships are by design always about the road to discovery, not the destination. We need to keep coming back to each other.

So I believe that while a measure of clarity about ourselves and our partners creates a good foundation, not knowing is a part of the deal too. Loving your lack of understanding might be the best part of being with someone.