great-ish expectations

To make a long backstory short, my boyfriend Jeff and I didn’t get each other anything for Valentine’s Day, if you don’t count the souvenir shot glass I brought him from my last trip.  I was out of town on the holiday, and the weekend after I returned he had to work, and we don’t usually get together during the week because we both work, and oh yeah, I said I was making the backstory short, didn’t I.

He had asked if we were doing anything to celebrate after the fact when we finally got together on Saturday, and I said no. I figured this was his way of asking if we were exchanging gifts, and I said that I hadn’t planned to. (I brought the shot glass just in case he’d got me something.)

We carried on with our date. However, that evening, he said, “I was telling someone that I’ve done what every man dreams of and every woman hates: lowered her expectations for Valentine’s Day.” He actually sounded pleased about it, and THAT? Rubbed me the wrong way! Mainly because I thought he was only half joking. He’s mentioned this “lowering expectations” thing before, and I’ve cautioned him that such a plan could backfire, leaving the woman asking herself, “Why am I with this guy anyway? What has he done for me lately??”
 
That night, I could hardly sleep, thinking how peeved I was that he would *brag* about me expecting nothing for V-day. I expected nothing because the last Valentine’s Day turned into a *huge* disappointment for me when our plans to get together that day fell through. When we finally did get together days later, he brought two gag gifts and an all-occasion card. His actions this year revealed that he hasn’t a clue of how I feel about that whole fiasco, for him to be taking it so lightly. I decided I was going to write him an email and express myself.

Fortunately by the time I wrote to him, I was more calm. I tried hard to not be accusatory. I simply explained how after Valentine’s Day ’06, it became clear to me that he and I see have *very* different ideas about some things, and that revelation left me feeling not-so-connected to him. I wrote that I’d go so far as to say that my expectations were lowered not only for Valentine’s Day but for the future of our whole relationship. (Yeah, that was probably the harshest thing I said.) I also told him that in thinking about this, I wondered if since then, perhaps I’ve been subconsciously trying to lower his expectations of me as well. I added that I don’t think that was it. I said that if anything, my attitude toward us is simply a bit more casual than it was at first, and sometimes my actions might reflect that.
 
I got an email from him yesterday. He said that he really was joking about the lowered expectations, and then he shared a bit about himself (which I will not list here out of respect). I really appreciated him opening up. I took about two hours in reading his reply and writing back to him. Unfortunately, he seemed to be beating himself up for being a bad boyfriend. I wrote that it truly wasn’t my intention to cast blame, because I’m certainly not perfect. I added that I think it’s a step in the right direction that we’ve shared these things. Now, maybe we know a little more about where the other is coming from.

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