I survived yesterday. Thank heavens. I even said a silent Shehechiyanu to myself Sunday evening, thanking G-d for giving me strength and sustaining me and enabling to reach the moment. I spent the weekend in wine country with my girlfriend R., and viewed it as a celebration of the fact that I was not about to make the biggest mistake of my life, that I was not about to embark upon a doomed journey.

R. is an exceptional listener. She let me talk things out, sort some things that somehow couldn’t be sorted in the quiet of my head. One of the things I found myself describing was my own expectations.

Looking back on my past relationships, I can see that I have, objectively speaking, been somewhat unlucky. I fully realize that the one constant in all of them was I, and I am not trying to evade all blame. But I have been in relationship after relationship with guys who didn’t really care about what I wanted. With my ex in particular, I actually spelled out for him exactly what I wanted and needed from him…and he was still unable to provide it. I’m not talking about five-carat diamonds or anything like that, just patience and understanding and gentleness.

And I realized that in some ways, I think that I deserve the best…but in a lot of other ways, it hasn’t occurred to me to expect anything more than the dregs I’ve been offered. Realistic expectations must fall somewhere between ideal fantasy and absolute neglect — but I don’t know what is realistic to expect from a guy in a relationship. I am often hesitant when it comes to retreating from the extremes to some middle ground…for years, I was afraid to express any measure of self-confidence because I didn’t want to cross the line into arrogance, so I settled instead for massive self-doubt. This feels like something similar; I’m afraid to expect more than the barest, crudest minimum because I don’t want to expect the moon. I’m not quite sure what to make of all this.

(Point of clarification: I have never, ever been abused, by anyone. That’s not what this is about. Just so you know.)


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