In the beginning, there is excitement, ease, and flow. He asks questions. He plans dates. He makes sweet gestures of love and appreciation.
You see so much potential for the relationship to grow!
Then, something shifts. You start to question, did I pick the wrong guy?
In this post, I share why men and women often have different relationship expectations, how he perceives the situation (hint: he still cares), and how to bridge the gap and reignite those early sparks so you can both continue to grow in love.
The biggest struggle in my relationships is that I’m always picking men with potential, but they never live up to my expectations.
I realized this is my problem.
How can I change this pattern?
You Fell in Love With His Potential. Was It a Mistake?
A lot of women struggle with this issue.
You see the potential in a man and you get excited about it.
But then, you end up feeling frustrated and disappointed.
Naturally, you start to question your judgment.
He was so kind and giving at first. Did I make the right choice?
And even: He used to do these sweet little things, without me asking. Does he not love me anymore?
When you are not getting those things, there’s a trap that women fall into.
You start thinking:
- If he loved me, he would do those things.
- I shouldn’t have to ask for them.
- He should just want to do those things.
You develop relationship expectations that he will know what to do and say to make you happy. Because he used to.
But those expectations are actually unrealistic, and they can sabotage you from getting the fulfilling love you want in a relationship.
To understand how your expectations play a role in this dynamic, first, we need to explore how and why we are different.
So, you can finally say, “Okay, now that I understand him better, I know how I can bring back all those wonderful things he did in the beginning.”
Women Create Relationship Expectations Based on a Man’s Potential
Women have an innate ability to see a man’s potential. Women have natural genes and hormones that allow them to give birth.
When you have a baby, you give birth to a child — and all of their unlimited potential.
You’re loving this baby. You’re caring for them. You see their potential.
You know that one day they’ll be able to:
- Say their name
You have this understanding that it takes time for a baby to develop.
It hasn’t happened yet, but you can see it.
There are even classes today which explain to mothers exactly at what age things will develop:
- It takes this much time for them to learn how to stand
- That much time for them to crawl
- That much time to develop a full step
And because they’re a baby, you don’t experience frustration.
You have what I might say is an appropriate expectation that it takes time for things to develop.
When you’re in the early stages of a relationship with a man, however, it’s different. He’s doing all the right things, right off the bat — everything you’ve wanted.
Sweet little things like:
- You talk to him on the phone. He calls you back. You get excited, “Oh, he’s called me back. Maybe there’s going to be a relationship here!”
- You want to meet. He plans a date. He brings flowers.
- He wants to get to know you. He asks you questions, “Where are you from? What’s going on with you? What’s your job?”
He’s really interested in you. And he wants to impress you.
A man will, to a certain extent, automatically fulfill all (or most) of your relationship expectations, in the early dating process.
And it’s very exciting!
Because you believe he’s fully realized his potential.
So, you fall in love. You think, “Oh, this is amazing. My life’s going to be so much better.”
For you, the relationship is only going to get better from here. He’s going to be even more responsive, even more generous, even more interested…
But for him, this plays out differently.
These are all things a man does in the beginning for logical reasons:
- He doesn’t know who you are, so he introduces himself.
- He’s curious to learn more about you, so he’s very talkative, and he listens to you.
- He wants to show you how much he cares about you by doing things for you so you know he’s interested.
As your relationship evolves, he feels like he already knows you and assumes you already know he cares for you.
He doesn’t need to ask you more questions. So, he stops connecting with you in this way.
The natural motivation to:
- Get to know you
- Find out what’s going on inside your head
- Hold your hand…
…is suddenly no longer there in the same way.
And this is what makes matters even more confusing: Men and women also have very different relationship expectations.
So, instead of realizing that those little things were important to you… he has no clue!
Little Things Make a Big Difference. He Doesn’t Know That Yet.
When it comes to relationship expectations, he doesn’t understand your needs because his needs are different.
In the early stages of your relationship, you fell in love with his potential.
However, once he’s communicated, “You are important to me” — he feels his job is done.
Whenever a man is having big problems in a relationship, he often says, “No matter what I do, it’s never enough to make her happy.”
It’s a primary motivation in men to feel successful in providing something that makes you happy.
In the early stages, he thinks:
“I’m going to do all this little stuff and see if it can make you happy.”
When it works, he believes:
“If all these little things can make her happy, wait until I do the big things. Like making a commitment, like sharing my life with her.”
And here’s the catch. Now that he’s already done all these little things, he feels:
“Why do I need to do little things again? I’ve already shown you that I care about you. What’s the point of that?”
His focus is no longer on the small steps he took to get here. Now, he only thinks about the big steps he believes are important to sustain your relationship.
Instead of reaching out for your hand, he’s thinking: “Why hold your hand if we can actually have sex?”
See, that’s a big thing. So, why do the little things?
And you’re going, “Hey, what happened?”
That’s when women begin to have unrealistic relationship expectations because you’re expecting it to not only be sustained from the early dating stage but become even more over time.
Women believe that it’s just going to get better. But men typically stop doing those little things as they feel more connected to you over time.
He doesn’t know that for you, it’s the little things he did at the beginning that count most.
So, what can you do to inspire him to step it up again? How can you reignite the spark that brought you together in the first place?
Get on the Same Page to Grow in Love
To nurture healthy relationship expectations, this is the lesson that women have to learn:
A man can love you completely and have no idea of what your needs are.
You need to inform him of what actions score big with you.
He wants to make you happy. But he doesn’t know your needs and preferences.
All things men stop doing.
Not because they don’t love you, but because they are oblivious.
Here you are, opening your heart to someone, and you ask them: “Hey, would you take me to this or that?”
And he says, “I don’t want to do that. Why would I want to do that?”
…hearing that from him would really hurt you. The possibility of rejection is scary.
Here is how you can avoid that scene unfolding that way:
When you approach your man, don’t try to change him. If you ever try to change a man because you’re disappointed with him or you want more, he pulls back.
Instead, let him know what you really like, and he will feel a natural pressure to change.
Tell him how you feel when he does something you like, and he will naturally aspire to match your expectations.
- “Oh, I just need to talk with you a little while. Let’s just talk.”
- “When you hold my hand, it gives me butterflies..”
- “I loved it when we went to …”
- “I love it when you do …”
Remember, he wants to make you happy. The natural tendency is there. He just doesn’t realize these small things are important to you.
When you share your preferences and let him know what you really like, he is given the opportunity to change.
He starts to recognize that if he does more of this, he can be successful and make you happy.
And in turn:
- You start to feel cherished, not taken for granted.
- You start to recognize the potential of the loving partner you fell in love with at the very beginning.
- And your man feels great too because he finally knows and understands what your needs are and how he can make you happy.
Together, you can see through your differences, and come together to resolve any relationship expectations that were keeping you apart from creating more intimacy, love, and connection.
Little things make a big difference.
Grow in love,