Student Life

The art of being single: Expectations Pt. 2

I’m no stranger to writing about expectations: how they can lead to overthinking certain relationships and encounters, how they can leave you with unrealistic perspectives of people and situations, how they can just generally crush your soul, ruin your life and cause eternal instability and turmoil. In short, I think expectations suck and we should try to live life without them.

Having expectations, at least in my opinion, right when you meet someone, is a dangerous game to be playing. You don’t know this person’s personality, their attitude, the way they handle bad situations, how they treat customer service employees, if they litter, etc. All of these are very important things to consider, but that you (most likely) do not have access to. What you also don’t know is what their intentions are, unless you ask–but then you risk looking absolutely batshit crazy. Where they’re at in their lives, where they’ve been, what they’ve gone through.

What you also don’t know is what their intentions are, unless you ask–but then you risk looking absolutely batshit crazy. How many times does your heart skip a beat when you lock eyes with someone for the first time and their smile melts your insides? Exactly.

It’s easy to get swept up in the feeling and start overthinking things, start building up expectations in your mind of who this person is, what they may be like, what type of relationship you may want to have with them. It’s even more difficult to stop these things from happening when you just find them so damn cute.

To top it all off, it’s even more difficult to control your mind from creating expectations when other people jump on board—it’s one thing to talk yourself down from thinking something because you may say you’re overreacting or it’s all in your head. But when other people—especially your friends, your mutual friends—acknowledge some type of chemistry, you might think you should just save yourself the trouble and yeet yourself off a building. Don’t!

What do you do to prevent expectations from bursting in like they own the place and blowing up all chances of being mentally stable while you get to know this person? I was recently told to not have high hopes but also to keep hope—it’s that fine line of being able to go with the flow in reality and stopping yourself from overthinking and creating expectations in your mind.

Graphic by Loreanna Lastoria

Student Life

The art of being single: Expectations

Why do people have so many expectations? 

If you’ve been following along since the beginning, or if you know me in real life, then you know that I used to use dating apps to try to find ~the love of my life~. I would spend hours upon hours swiping left and right, matching with many strangers, chatting with some of them, getting further than simple small talk with only a handful. I’d get attached to two or three, spending countless days and/or weeks talking to them on the daily, hoping that one of them, nay, expecting that one of them would be “the one.”

Extreme? Perhaps—at least I’ve acknowledged it and learned from my past, right? But even without the perhaps extreme nature of my previously delusional thinking, expectations in the dating world, well in general, are real and they are a cause for unnecessary stress, dissatisfaction and disappointment.

Why do people have so many expectations of another person? Why is there this idea that if you’re attracted to someone, you have to date or hook up immediately to satiate your innate, primal hunger? Why does so much time have to be dedicated, especially right at the start, to spending every minute of every day talking to them, getting to know them, seeing if they’re worthy, or even worth being with at all? Why is it that, if you like someone so much that there’s undeniable, palpable tension that can be seen from a mile away, you have to consider everything else: school, work, family, friends, etc.? Why do expectations rely on the circumstances you’re in?

If you find yourself attracted to someone, if you want to get to know them more, if you want to maybe even end up dating them, just go with the flow. The more expectations you put on yourself, on others and on situations, the more you put on the line and the more you risk losing or messing up.

Just talk, take things easy, hang out—with no expectations. I’ve learnt it and I’m here to pass my wisdom (lol) along to you all. Live life with an idea of what you want—I’m not saying you should abandon your goals/dreams/aspirations for the end goal—but be willing to go with the flow, to take things in stride and live with no (at least less) expectations for the journey to get there.

Graphic by Loreanna Lastoria


The impossible position: Why mothers can never seem to fit a single mould

Scenario: Meredith Grey is on the streets picking up trash as part of her social work. A “PTA mom” AKA “super mom” passes by, but not without commenting on how happy it makes her feel to see Meredith – a working mom with three kids (or so I have been told. I stopped watching Grey’s Anatomy after five seasons) – volunteering for something. To this our protagonist replies, “You know, Suzie, when working moms don’t volunteer at school, it’s usually because we’re working in the daytime and parenting at night, so we generally don’t have time to participate.”

Let’s just unpack that a little, shall we? Firstly, I’m sorry I didn’t get the memo, but since when did it become the job description of anyone to make anyone else feel happy?

Secondly, oblige me, if you may, by imagining a spectrum. On the one end, let’s place these super PTA moms. On the other, those super successful career women, who are breaking the glass ceiling every day, as they make great strides on every level professionally. Somewhere in the middle, let’s put all the Merediths of the world, attracting the judgmental wrath of both these extremes.

These women are never considered good enough mothers for choosing to have a career and dreams. They are never considered professional enough, for how can they be if they have to leave at 5:30 p.m. to pick up their child? This doesn’t mean they are not fulfilling their responsibilities equally well in both these spheres. These women are doing the best they can, day in and day out, running from their meeting, to the school bus, to getting groceries and starting dinner, to getting their kid in bed on time, only so that they can do the dishes. They have careers, kids, family and social responsibilities. But here is the thing: how is their position any different from the “working fathers” out there? A terminology that ought to be brought into currency!

Men have careers, kids who presumably have bedtimes, and responsibilities, and yet they never have to hear statements like, “You never volunteer at school,” “It must be time to pick the baby,” “It must be hard for you to work more hours because you have kids,” or “I could never imagine leaving my kids to go back to work.”

It almost appears as though once you have kids, your identity is to mould itself around the institution of motherhood, and this should be enough. A good mother stays at home with kids; a bad mother tries to pursue her own goals. And God forbid, if you actually derive contentment from your work – that will be the cardinal sin!

My partner has never been told how brave he is, to have packed up his life and moved to a new country with a five month old baby in tow to pursue his dreams. Those comments have been given especially to me by other working women, as a sign of encouragement and support. However, within these statements too lies the underlying theme of such acts being extraordinary feats for a woman. They have not been normalized as a concept, despite the fact that I personally know many women who have chosen a similar path.

Not for one moment does this mean that I think that women who make up the ends of this spectrum are not judged. Working women are judged by men with half their qualifications; the PTA moms by other mothers who think they are simply better. By the virtue of this conclusion, one can argue that if everyone is being judged, why am I making a big deal about working mothers?

The deal is that such judgments are directly linked to the stereotypes that exist around motherhood and working mothers. It perpetuates this image of women finding unbound happiness within the confines of their home, and their offspring. That looking for anything beyond this is selfish. This perception is then disseminated by both working women and PTA mothers, leaving the working mothers forever standing on shaky grounds. This simply needs to change.


Graphic by @sundaeghost

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