Expectations are double-edged swords. We should expect and demand that violence is not a part of our loving relationships. We should expect to be treated with respect, equity, and dignity. When those expectations are not met, find a new partner.
On the other hand, I have to admit that my expectations have also been thorns in my ass as well as the asses of many of my clients. When humans’ hold rigid expectations coming into a relationship, often we miss the beautiful person in front of us ready to please, love, share, and be loved.
I’ll say it out loud: I HAVE AN ANAL FETISH! I mean I love performing anal on the bus, in a rush, behind the wall, in mall, throughout the night, till the morning light, slow and steady, whenever she’s ready, on the run, just for fun, if in a jam, and even better than green eggs and ham. Whew. That felt good…. I digressed. Truly my point is that I have an anal fetish. No. No. My point is that I came into most of my relationships with sexual expectations and expectations centered on how to love. I have been disappointed time and time again, but not by people…. My own expectations are the villain.
From my sex coaching practice, personal experience, and my research centered on sex and sexuality, I have found false expectations, unrealistic expectations, and unspoken expectations are orgasm killers, better yet relationship killers.
The above hyper link will bring you to the Marriage Blog and a post concerning false expectations. The author makes a salient point on the false expectation that the beginnings of our relationships are often filled with romance, laughter, and good sex and must remain so, regardless of how long the relationships last. Cherish the new time together. Nonetheless, it is painful and unfair to expect that the romance we find at the beginnings our relationships will remain exactly the same.
Clients of mine that have managed long-term relationships have shared with me that their wants, desires, and sexual needs evolve over time. Life changes us as the sand moves from top to bottom of the hourglass. We gain education. Our parents become ill or die; our children change, grow,leave home, may become ill, and beyond our imaginings, may die too. Jobs change. We kick or gain addictions. We move. All events in our lives have the power and potential to change us. We are not stones that remain unchanged through the storm…. Sorry for screaming. I lost my head. On the other hand, I do think it is important to realize that change in loving relationships is inevitable.
One great client of mine (all of my clients are great), Michael, lived a very conservative life. He marched through school, college, and his MBA. He didn’t drink or smoke. Hell, he was this African American version of Adam Ant (80s reference: Sorry). He was a successful accountant and a good father. He and his wife divorced as amicably as divorces can go: they remained friends and shared custody of his two boys.
Tragically, his brother died while driving under the influence. Moreover, his mother died after a long fruitful life soon after the death of his brother. When Michael utilized my services, he had been seeing a therapist for a couple of years, for he battled with severe depression for a time. With depression under control, Michael gave me call. A friend of his referred him to me. Our first conversation started with a declaration that Michael hadn’t even shared with himself.
“I am a gay man, and I have never slept with a man, only women. I have lived doing the “right” things, and I am not interested in that shit anymore.” Michael paused for a moment: “I never curse, but I think I am tired of that shit too.”
During our time together, Michael and I creatively searched for the path, the new life he wanted for himself. Michael kept a journal in which he reflected on his past and wrote the details of his future. From journaling, he realized that most all of his life decisions were to keep the peace. He was afraid to disappoint his family and the African American community. He did want to lose a job for which he word hard. He didn’t want to go against the religion in which he was raised.
“That sounds like a tremendous amount of pressure,” I commented after Michael shared his reflections.
“It is, and I am tired.”
“It sounds and feels like that being someone you are not is no longer acceptable. What do think?” I asked.
“That’s true.” Michael said in a whisper.
“What would it feel like to be you, without living by others’ expectations?”
“It would feel like heaven. Life is to short… much too short to go on pretending and being dishonest to myself.”
Michael created his heaven on Earth. At times, he will still call to give me updates on life, or he comes back to be coached trough other aspects of his life. I am always amazed at how sure of himself he is now. Moreover, he also taught me that life evolves and that we change. Our expectations that life should or will remain the same are fleeting dreams that can turn into our self-imposed nightmares. In our loving relationships, our dreams of what should be should not cloud the reality of what is.
The hyperlink above leads to a chapter written by Dr. Jacklyn Marcus that is centered on how unrealistic and unspoken expectations harm relationshps. The good doctor writes the following:
“Different types of expectations can negatively affect our relationships. Expectations can
be unrealistic, unclear, unfulfilled, unspoken, unexpressed, and misguided. These
unrealistic expectations can come from:
· Our family values and traditions
· Past relationships
· Past experiences
· Expecting the other person to provide our personal happiness or fulfillment
· Projecting onto someone else how we want them to be.”
The lives of my clients and my own life are proof enough for me to know that Dr. Marcus is sharing a truth with her readers. How we were raised, how well we love and were loved, how we expect others to fulfill our needs, and how we want our lovers to be all can have grave effects on our loving partnerships.
My personal experience with porn and some very sexual ladies led me to believe that sex and my partners should be a certain way when I met them. I did not give my partners the opportunity to grow and change. “What! You do not know how to do oral sex! No Anal! You don’t like spankings!” In no way am I saying that my desires are unimportant; however, I am saying that expecting all of my partners to enjoy the same things has resulted in me missing out on spending time with some very beautiful, intelligent, strong, sexy, and sexual women. They could have introduced me to new ways at looking at the world. Moreover, many of them wanted to experience new things, sexually and otherwise, yet I was unwilling to teach and learn with them. I EXPECTED them to know how to please me without knowing me well or deeply. My expectations did not allow me to see the pure spirit in front of me.
Ironically, the tables have been turned on me as well. Some of the most painful experiences that I have had in my relationships have come from others’ unrealistic or unspoken expectations. I lived with Yasmine. We didn’t last, and during our relationship, I constantly disappointed her. She thought I didn’t care about her, for I didn’t do certain things. I attribute much of her disappointment to her unspoken expectations created by her own family traditions. She was raised in a “traditional” household: mother, father, and children as the nuclear family. I, on the other hand, was raised by my mother and aunt.
I had no preconceived notions about choirs when I was a child. I cooked and cleaned. My mother would cut the grass and take out the garbage, particularly when my brother and I were young My mom was the daughter of a share-cropper, so she did a lot or work that “traditionally” is considered man’s work. Hence my notions about gender roles were and still remain fluid.
An expectation that went unspoken was that Yasmine expected me and me alone to take out the garbage; I didn’t know. In my home, whoever saw the garbage pail full took it outside. Yasmine took my behavior as an insult to her. Since I did not always take out the garbage, I must not care about her or the home were attempting to create. That particular expectation remained unspoken until the actual day we broke. She used it as proof that I never loved her as I walked out the door. I was amazed. Needless to say, our communication skills at that time were subpar.
I am blessed to have had the opportunity to apologize to some of my past lovers for being a boy and not a man, for holding them to expectations that I created in my head and enforced as universal truisms. Furthermore, after I finish writing this particular post, I may take the time to apologize to myself for denying myself of some beautiful experiences and people based on some unrealistic expectation. ANAL! I just wanted to scream that out for personal reasons.
I am honored to serve you. For one complimentary coaching session, give me a call or shoot me an e-mail.
Nwachi (Dr. T.) Tafari
Life and Sex Coach