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Do I need to manage expectations in this new relationship?

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Skyblossom Skyblossom 5 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #740481 Reply
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    queen

    I’m a woman in my early 30’s. I’ve been dating a girl for several months who is a bit older. It has been going great so far. I truly care for her and admire her and am attracted to her and she has done many things to show that she feels the same about me. It’s been a while for both of us. I really want it to work.

    However, she has been flakey lately. We already don’t see each other that often. We set dates and she books on top of them and doesn’t give me notice. I’m confused and finding it difficult to manage expectations. Her life is much more stressful than mine because of her work and I want to understand and be there for her. It was hard for her to be present with me in the last little while. It makes me question if she is generally overwhelmed, if she’s as invested as I am, if I’m expecting too much, if I did something stupid, or if she is plain forgetful. Should I say something and what should I say? I don’t want to come off as needy as this relationship is fairly new.

    #740484 Reply
    kmtthat
    kmtthat
    Participant

    I think you say something, because not saying something may just cause you to build insecurity or resentment. But the question isn’t ” is generally overwhelmed, if she’s as invested as I am, if I’m expecting too much, if I did something stupid, or if she is plain forgetful?” It’s “hey, I feel like lately we haven’t been able to spend as much time together and that is important to me. Is there any way to make this more of a priority? Ideally I’d like to see you a few times a week without last minute cancellations. Is that something you want to work towards to?” the other thought is it’s only been a few months, are you exclusive/ decided to be girlfriends? Is that something you want? May also be worth checking in to see if you are thinking of her as your girlfriend and she still sees this more as casually dating.

    There’s nothing wrong with wanting a partner who is consistent and makes you feel like a priority. If she’s not on the same page (e.g. prefers a relationship where you see each other once a week at most, likes to keep her plans flexible) that’s valid too and you may just be mismatched. And as much as it sucks to have to walk away from someone who you care for, I think it’s better be honest about your needs early on rather than hoping they will change or trying to convince yourself it’s ok.

    Personally, flaky is a dealbreaker for me. But up to you to communicate with her, as she may not be aware it’s a big issue for you. Best of luck!

    #740486 Reply
    juliecatharine
    Juliecatharine

    Your time is just as valuable as hers. Double booking then bailing on your dates last minute more than once or twice is really poor form. You like her so call her out on it and let her know that her lack of respect for your schedule is unacceptable. Then…see what she does. If nothing changes move on. In the meantime I would ratchet way back on your hopes for this relationship. Mutual respect is vital for a healthy relationship and her actions aren’t meeting that standard.

    #740489 Reply
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    dinoceros
    Member

    My thoughts are that she’s either not that interested or she’s being rude. I don’t think that there’s a reasonable excuse for someone to be flaky in that way. Even busy people are capable of not double booking themselves (use a calendar, learn to say no, set reminders), so when someone chooses not to, I think it’s typically that they either don’t feel the original activity is that important or they just think their time is more valuable. And like Juliecatharine said, her time isn’t more valuable than yours — even if she’s got a stressful job or life or whatever. All that’s to say that I don’t think there’s a reason for someone to flake out like that that makes it OK (outside of a on-off thing or emergencies).

    Expecting someone to treat you with respect isn’t being needy. Have you ever heard the saying that you should start as you expect to continue? (I think that it’s more eloquent than that.) Don’t start a relationship where you are treated like you’re less important because the relationship will be built off that premise. And if she’s someone who thinks that saying, “Hey, don’t bail on me,” is too needy, then she’s not going to turn out to be a good girlfriend.

    So, yeah, definitely tell her that you have noticed that she flakes on you and you’re wondering what’s up. If she says she’s going to do better, wait and see if she actually does. If not, then personally, I would move on. I’ve dated someone who flaked out a lot on me, and it became clear very quickly that he thought he (and everything else in his life) were much more important than me and that I would never be a priority.

    #740492 Reply
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    Ron

    Yes, temper expectations. Repeatedly double-booking and picking you as the booking to discard is a very strong indication that you are her second choice. The other booking could be a date with another woman whom she is more interested in. If she were as invested in this new relationship as you are, then your first booking would be assigned top priority at least half the time.

    #740504 Reply
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    Kate
    Keymaster

    If you’re asking, do you need to adjust your expectations because you’re asking too much, no! It sounds like she’s not so into this anymore and is starting to fade. This isn’t how people act when they’re excited about a relationship and seeing a future. I know it’s easy to make excuses that they’re really busy, but she’s showing you you’re not a priority. I think you absolutely should tell her it seems like she’s backing off from the relationship, has been flaking on you lately, and you haven’t been feeling like a priority for her, and how’s she feeling about things? She may or may not give you a straight answer, but pay attention to what she says and how she says it. Give her some suggestions of what you’d like to see from her, how you’d like things to be. If nothing changes, hey, it’s not working for you, and the thing to do would be to move on, not try to manage your expectations. If she’s genuinely going through something crazy right now, maybe she gets a pass for a bit, but not forever. She has to want to spend time with you.

    #740506 Reply
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    Essie
    Participant

    I think my answer would depend on what she’s double-booking with your dates. Is she missing scheduled time with you because she’s stuck at work? Has to take a parent to a doctor appointment? Has a boss that doesn’t respect employees’ personal time and wants people to come in on their days off? Had to see the dentist and that was the only available appointment time?

    Or is she ditching you to have lunch with friends? To go for a bike ride? To go shopping?

    See what I’m getting at? Is it just busy life stuff that’s causing the cancels/reschedules, or is she choosing to do this because she got an offer that she thinks will be more fun than spending time with you?

    #740509 Reply
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    dinoceros
    Member

    I think that even if she’s double booking with necessary tasks, it’s still an issue. One, because she gives no notice, and two, I think it’s unlikely that a person would have those sorts of situations come up over and over. (I assume if it was consistently the same situation — an obnoxious boss or a parent needing multiple appointments — it would have come up already. The LW seems reasonable, so I doubt this is a situation where there’s something important and unforeseen like a sick parent happening.)

    I don’t know anybody who is forced to cancel/flake on friends or someone they are dating for a good reason often enough to be noticeable. People occasionally have things come up, but not that often. Plus, with the exception of having to stay late for work, I think most “life stuff” doesn’t happen at times that a date would likely happen — like probably no doctor’s appointments on a Saturday night or something.

    It just sort of reminds me of when my students cancel an appointment the day of with me because their project group needs to meet. Sure, it’s important, but it’s possible to manage one’s life in a way that means you’re not flaking on people to complete needed tasks. Most people do it.

    #740542 Reply
    Skyblossom
    Skyblossom
    Participant

    If you need to manage your expectations in a relationship you are in the wrong relationship. There is nothing over-the-top about expecting a date to show up when you have a date and unless it is an emergency with no way to contact you they should always give you notice if they can’t show up.

    Your expectation should be that a date treats you with courtesy and respect. You aren’t getting that. Move on. If you quit contacting her you would probably never hear from her. If you do schedule another date I would tell her when you schedule that you expect her to contact you when she is on her way because she doesn’t show up so much you aren’t leaving for the date until she is on her way. Tell her she isn’t wasting your time again. I think that personally I would draw a boundary that says you don’t treat me this way so we are done.

    #740547 Reply
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    Essie
    Participant

    Yeah, Skyblossom and Dinoceros, you’re both right. I’ve just had so many of those “busy life” things come up in my own relationship that I was wondering if that was any part of it. We both have demanding jobs with weird hours and being on-call, and we both have elderly parents who are prone to sudden health emergencies. And he has kids. So we reschedule a *lot*, and we’re both super laid back about it because we have the same challenges.

    In the LW’s case, it sounds like she’s the one who’s prioritizing spending time together, the girlfriend, not so much.

    #740558 Reply
    Skyblossom
    Skyblossom
    Participant

    It’s the fact that she doesn’t give notice that is most telling. If something happens, beyond your control, you let the person who is waiting for you know that you won’t be there.

    If her life does have that many serious emergencies then she is still not a good candidate to be a partner because she isn’t available.

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