I read a lot of articles. It’s rare that one makes me tear up. Ask Polly: Why Did My Dream Man Dump Me? is a punch in the six-pack. More than enough to knock me off my six-inch heels.
Read it. Carefully. Then come back.
I was also dumped by my dream man recently. One of them. My dreamiest, though, if I’m honest. Our poly relationship makes it less of a traditional dumping and more of a realignment of expectations. Specifically, he’s going to work on expecting less from me.
I don’t think I’m a cool girl like Disillusioned. I rarely wear heels, and if I drinking whiskey it’s because my body is telling me to avoid beer. My cool girl posturing is pretending my happiness is separate from anyone else’s behavior.
The flaw I can’t stand about myself is how much I want things from other people.
Reading this Ask Polly it dawned on me not only that I am deluded to think I can take or leave what anyone else might have to give me, but I’m pathetic for thinking I am better than other people for my independence.
I know why I do this. I’m tired of being disappointed. I’m tired of being disappointing.
My want is humiliatingly endless, yawning.
What I want so far exceeds what I have to give that there is no way to rectify the gap. When I said I’m single because my standards exceed my market value, my bestie charitably told me I’m single because I’d rather whore around than meet anyone’s emotional needs. I’d rather whore around than try and fail to meet anyone’s emotional needs. I won’t let myself need anything from anyone. And I won’t let anyone need anything from me. Because if their want is like mine, they’re gonna be hella disappointed. Just like I am all the time.
It’s okay to want things from other people. Using the best possible analogy to sell me on an idea, newest boy likened it to specialization, comparative advantage, gains from trade. It’s great to want things from other people if you can limit your wants to what’s possible, and give value greater than you get. I can’t.
I don’t even understand how anyone does.
The best I can do is give. And try my best to expect nothing in return. When I do that, I’m consistently pleasantly surprised. But letting myself want things from someone else leads to me feeling disappointed. This is a pretty romance-specific phenomenon. I don’t know exactly what I want from sex and romance. But I do know two things. First, that it’s not what I had before, it’s not exactly what I’m supposed to want. Second, I know that I don’t have it. I have a lot of awesome sex and romance. I am extremely grateful. I have a few lovers who treat me extremely well. And who make me feel like I’m good to them. Yet the humiliatingly endless, yawning want persists. Its very existence is humiliating. It’s so weak and stupid to want more. It does me no favors, and I should be able to overcome it.
Sometimes I think I’ve found someone who might significantly alleviate the want. Put a dent in it. It’s so exciting to hope. So much fun. But the letdown always feels worse than the comeup feels good. I feel so guilty for putting that on someone else. These guys just want to offer me what they have.
They don’t deserve to be my reality check.
I’ve stopped online dating. But my OKCupid profile ends with the thought that low expectations are the key to happiness.
Maybe getting okay with wanting anything is the first step to getting to the point where I can want something I can get. It would be great to believe I could ever have appropriate, healthy wants. Maybe I should try to forgive myself for wanting so much. It’s just hard to look at what I want. I’m so ashamed of it that I can’t size it up. I just keep denying it exists or pretending it’s not a big deal. Which works until it looks like it might get fed. Then it all springs forth onto someone who didn’t sign up for that. Which just ruins what we might have been able to provide each other. Afterwards my want is that much harder and embarrassing to stuff back down again.
Maybe I should want appropriate wants but what I want is to be whole. I want to be self-contained, self-sufficient. I want to give without wanting. I want to never, ever expect. I want to be someone who is impossible to disappoint. Instead of someone who is impossible to satisfy.
So people will tell me to be okay with wanting. It works for them. And that’s awesome. I will try to stop pretending I don’t want. It’s transparent and sad.
The favorite lover broke up with me because I kept disappointing him. I consistently reacted to my failure to meet his expectations with anger at him for wanting too much from me. If he could just want less from me, we could be happy. I’m really angry at myself. If I could just want less, I could be happy.
What I want to do is to stop getting angry at people for wanting things from me. I want to stop expecting that I’ll fail to give people what they want. I want to stop assuming people feel the same deep disappointment in me that I feel in myself. I want to trust other people’s judgment when they ask me for things.
This is going to require me to surround myself with people who have low-expectations, and to believe that the people around me can handle a little disappointment now and again. I think that’s true of everyone in my life. My biggest struggle will be trusting that I can be a net positive to someone whose expectations are greater than zero.