Great Expectations

No Expectations, No Mercy

no expectations the phrase used at the start of any relationship or fling to create a loop hole whereby you (owner of card) can escape from said interaction quickly and guilt free.

I’ve spent my short adult life wondering: when you’re tentatively, cautiously, guardedly-yet-optimistically getting to know someone and he (or she) plays the “no expectations” card, what exactly is your response supposed to be?

To be fair, in the last two years I`ve played the card numerous times. I know what it means to me…it`s always been that safety net when you`re paralysed by fear and unwilling to really get to know somebody well enough to let him or her into your space on a more or less permanent basis.

Two and half years ago my seemingly perfect relationship came to a spectacular end. We`re talking train-wrecks and carnage. My instinctive (and naïve) reaction was to absolutely maintain that Trust and Commitment are bastards in the same line of Bonny and Clyde, they go on a rampage with your heart and mind and hold hostage your emotions. Eventually, in the ensuing shoot-out at the end of your relationship, your emotions get gunned down in a blaze of glory leaving you to bleed out and all that remains of trust and a need to commit is a dried-up husk of your former emotional self.

Ok…the analogy might be a bit dramatic. But true nonetheless. My reaction was brutal. The type of person I am inherently demands that there is only one way to be with someone and that`s with everything you`ve got. I don`t believe in half measures and safety nets. I don`t believe that paranoia, self-doubt or insecurity should have its place in a partnership with someone you love. And you see, I`m bandying around the word love (which admittedly I never do) because I won`t be with you and only with you and truly with you unless I love you. I won`t necessarily say it…but you`ll know it. So, it takes me more than two years to get to a point where I`m ready to date again…because I just could not muster the strength to go out there and get to know somebody without my safety net. My no expectations card.

Get Out of Jail Free

Because essentially that`s what it is…a get out of jail free card. A guarantee that at any point, when you get sick of here you can leave. No guilt. No drama. No hassles. But what does that preclude…it precludes an interaction with a potential love interest where you never allow yourself the luxury of never really getting to know that person, no emotional ties, none of that messiness and drama associated with getting to know somebody and letting them into your space. So, when anybody plays the “no expectations” card, it`s like that moment on a cozy Sunday afternoon when you`re enjoying the simple pleasure of watching 3 hours worth of commercial-free Nip / Tuck, and in the middle of the climax (not Christian Troy`s, the climax in the storyline) the Emergency Broadcast System does a test of monotonous blinking and beeping and droning, while a scroll runs across the screen blinking:

No Expectation. No Obligation. Buy Back Guarantee.

So, why “no expectations”? And is it a safety net I want to cling to?

No. I have decided I like the messiness of making space for another person in my life. Life and love is not supposed to be a clinical experience or a guarantee of guilt free, emotionally anorexic relationships. Give me laughter and tears and pain and joy. I want the initial uncertainty and the butterflies, as much as I want the cuddles, the kisses …the snuggling in bed.

So, I`ll pass on the No Expectations card. I know I am discerning enough to know when someone is not a healthy match for me…so, I have to start trusting myself and in my ability to be lovable and to love.

I want to expect. Expect momentary pleasures, or even long-term ones. I want to expect that things will evolve between two people naturally without the issue being forced, or it being curtailed by a lack of bravery on my part.

I want to expect that most guys I meet are princes and be horribly disappointed every time when they are not

… and be pleasantly surprised when they are.

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