The world continues to progress at breakneck speed and in the realms of dating, some of us are struggling to keep up.  We are torn between the traditional and the progressive.  With even more awareness of societal and global expectations of how we are supposed to be, we proceed into relationships and even matrimony in a confused state.

Are we supposed to comply with expected gender roles or are we supposed to change with the times?  Would our preference be enforceable and what are the other factors which come into play aside from our own choices?  Often, it can be summed up in one word: Expectations.  I have added the adjective ‘Killer’ in the title just to illustrate a point because unreasonable expectations can have severe emotional repercussions.

Being an Asian and living in Asia, most of us cannot escape the pressure put on us by wanting to conform to the norm as expected by our family, society, and culture.  When we seek a mate, we may have the difficulty of reconciling our own preferences, wants, and needs with the expectations imposed upon us by our upbringing and often, we take an emotional shortcut and just jump into conclusions which can be detrimental for our wellbeing.

The more common form of jumping to conclusions results into hasty marriages entered into in order to cease the uncertainty with the erroneous notion that getting married becomes the solution to the problem.  Another form of jumping to conclusion is having unrealistic expectations about what a partner should be like and therefore, idealistically awaiting the ‘perfect’ partner while passing over people who may very well be suitable.  This form of ‘Killer Expectation’ is often labeled as ‘being picky’ or ‘being selective.’

While it is not prudent to enter into fly-by-night marriages or ill-conceived unions at the blink of the eye, the extreme opposite tendency might also hold true.  We might be setting ourselves up for failure when we expect perfection.  This is an untenable position which results from not having a clear idea of our own failings and weaknesses.

We must learn to balance our expectations with reality in order to better be able to survive it.  We may end up cheating ourselves out of enriching experiences when we keep holding off to find the ‘perfect one’ because there is no such thing as a perfect human being, and even if such a creature existed, why would they be doing consorting with a mere imperfect and fallible human?

We must approach marriage and finding a mate with tempered expectations and an open mind which allows for a margin of error.  This is not to say that we must throw away all our preset standards, because some of them might be within the bounds of reason.  We must however examine whether which expectations hold up to the harsh light of reality and which are products of fiction and cannot apply to reality.  Perhaps in this manner, we might be able to find a life partner.

(c) Niconica 2013

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