I think I can probably blame my father for my unrealistic expectations in life. I was his princess and never wanted for anything (note: if you've read my earlier posts you'll know that despite this it wasn't exactly an ideal childhood). I grew up on Disney films and dreams of Prince Charming sweeping me off my feet. Unrealistic? Absolutely. Unusual? Not really! So moving into adulthood meant that romantic relationships weren't exactly going to be the easiest thing for me to manage. Needless to say this might well be why I ended up marrying a stranger. As crazy as it now sounds even to me, I genuinely believed that my love story might have started with the 'experts' finding me my dream man. I've chosen the wrong kind of guys for years and being single at 30 left me with a total lack of confidence in my own choices.
I was a latecomer to boyfriends and dating, very awkward and struggling for most of my teenage years with liking boys that never liked me back. My first kiss was when I was 16 with a dancer who took me to the rooftop of a bar in London at 2am after a lock in with some friends...yep, standards were set pretty high from there. When I was 18 I had my first boyfriend, my high school love. We went to different universities, I ended up leaving mine and worked in a bar, visiting him at weekends and playing grown ups. In that year I found my independence and got to know myself as a young woman, so when I started at Loughborough Uni the following year it just wasn't the same for me anymore. I suddenly had all these choices I never knew I had before and my perspective on my relationship totally changed. Me and the high school boyfriend broke up and I started to enjoy life as a single young adult.
Occasional hookups and one night stands weren't enough for me though. I craved love and the dream relationship I'd had in my head for years. With Prince Charming firmly in mind, R appeared on a ski slope and so began the most important relationship of my life. We went through so much together, we fell in love, we argued, we made up, we travelled. We grew up together and experienced the reality of love. For the selfish 21 year old me, the reality wasn't enough. I wanted sunshine and rainbows. All the time. R and I are good friends now and he knows this, but having those unrealistic expectations hurt him, and me, and people close to us too. I was constantly looking for something better and was angry at him when he couldn't give me those things.
So, 10 years on with a failed TV marriage behind me, have I given up on all of my expectations? Not entirely, no, but I have compromised. I still struggle. I crave affirmation and security but I still want my own space and to be able to do my own thing without him being there. I have a vision of a tall, dark and handsome Prince Charming noticing my in the street and falling instantly head over heels in love with me. He is successful, thoughtful and great in bed. He surprises me with fancy dinners and trips away but it’s becoming clearer and clearer to me that I might not find someone who ticks ALL the boxes. Isn’t it more important that instead they tick the most important ones? When I applied for Married at First Sight I gave 18 deal breakers, of which most Ad didn’t meet, but I gave him a chance and realised that some of the things I had listed really weren’t deal breakers for me at all. Did I really know what I wanted and what I didn’t or was I just setting unrealistic expectations for myself?
Sometimes I think we are blinded by the expectations we set ourselves in life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very ambitious and want the best life I can possibly have, but is striving for the unattainable actually making us unhappier? And where do you draw the line without settling for something you know isn’t truly what you want or need? When we live in a world surrounded by options and choices, the ‘grass is greener’ way of thinking has the potential to ruin something that could potentially be great.
We all deserve to be happy in life and to make decisions that we know are the best for us but sometimes I think that we should take a step back and really evaluate if we’re asking for too much. Let’s not sabotage our own happiness and push people away who can give us a great life, but also, let’s not settle for something that really isn’t right.