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Expectations and Other Things That Are Invisible

Ever been secretly disapppointed by someone you are dating or married to? And by secret I mean that he or she had no idea that you were disappointed about or even that you were expecting said gift/words or actions?

There is a glaring reality about our communication: men and women have different invisible expectations for each other.

In conversation with one man recently he complained that women’s expectations and what they want is one of the most crippling things for a guy. And here’s the irrefutable truth: women want men to know instinctively what they want-it makes them feel understood and valued. And men for the most part would like to just be informed of these invisible expectations because without knowing they feel like possible failure is imminent.

So here is a handy-dandy little list of some of women’s expectations. (disclaimer: not all..but guarenteed at least a couple will fit).

  1. Valentine’s Day. This will never end and it doesn’t matter if it’s a “Hallmark Holiday”.
  2. Flowers (the timing, the type and the durance of time between each flower purchase)
  3. Christmas presents. If it’s from Walgreens. Just no.
  4. Facebook, Twitter or Instagram posts. We should be somewhere in your timeline.
  5. Before, during and after meal preparation or consumption. Insert words of affirmation here.
  6. When new outfit or special occasion dressing is involved.
  7. When on a double date with another affectionate couple. Match or exceed.
  8. Greetings or goodbyes
  9. Texts and phone calls. If you’re out of town, busy or at the gym…one little “I miss you” will make a world of difference.
  10. Trips away from each other (how much communication is required).

All women have very specific expectations for each and every one of these instances. Some of these expectations are invisible; often they are stringent and rigid.

Men everywhere, I’m sorry. I don’t know how or why we are like this but it’s the truth. But on the other hand-here are some expectations that men have for women.

  1. Football or events of the manly type or personal hobbies. Women need to understand, accept and encourage you in them.
  2. Driving. We are supposed to trust you implicitly and never make a sound of warning and/or questioning.
  3. What type of food we buy or have in the fridge.
  4. Weird outfit or women fashion reactions. Men have random and inconsistent moodiness about certain outfit trends.
  5. Cars. What we do with them, put in them or do to them.
  6. People we invite over. So opinionated about this.
  7. Our friends. Some you love, and some drive you nuts.
  8. Timing of communication. After work, before work, during work…when you’re working on the car. Some conversations are not allowed at certain times.
  9. Teasing. You like when we flirty tease but there are some things “you don’t joke about”…ok….is there a handbook?
  10. There’s such a fine line between affirming you or being neutral…and somehow we’re magically supposed to know the line.

So in this world of clear expectations-you know what I want, I know what you want and the only thing to fight about is what movie to rent on a Saturday night (confession: that’s a Tom Hanks quote from “You’ve Got Mail” but I promise I love action movies too).


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