skitched-20100607-193647.jpgThere are some key things that I believe about relationships which can be used to help you look at things and yourself differently. Remember, as I learned all too painfully, we are the only common denominator to our relationships, so if we have a pattern, we made it, and if we want things to be different, we must be and think differently.

We get the relationship that we think we deserve or that we ‘expect’. You choose men that reflect the things that you believe about yourself, love, and relationships.

Ask yourself what your core 3-5 beliefs are about love, relationships, and yourself and examine how these are feeding into the relationships you’re having and the men that you’re attracted to. Read my post on the self-fulfilling prophecy of seeking validation in relationships because whatever you believe, you’re validating it, so it’s time to shake things up.

What do you truly expect to happen when you’re in a relationship? I say truly for a reason – there’s the stuff we say we expect and then there’s the real stuff we expect, often the things we’re afraid of. Write it down. Is what you expect happening?

Do you think you’re worthy of love or do you think you’re unlovable, have to try harder, or full of flaws? While we all are prone to our moments of self-doubt or the odd insecurity, believing you are unworthy of love, unlovable, or full of flaws means you either get unworthy partners who make you feel even crappier or decent partners who you don’t believe really could want to be with you, you feel unloved, or feel even more flawed in a flawed relationship looking for validation. You’ll also put them on a pedestal which automatically create a painful imbalance because the only place for them to look is down.

Connect what you think about love, relationships, and yourself with your actions and your relationships so that you can be conscious in your choices and know which beliefs you need to address. Often we are not conscious in our thinking and don’t take the time to think about what we believe – what we think is reflected in our actions and our perception of people and our world.


Choosing men who are not actually relationship material and who habitually mistreat you and the relationship, is about trying to be the exception. It’s like we’ve written a modern fairy tale where a ‘prince’ is someone who stops being an asshole for you.

Plain and simple: If a man has to radicalise himself and make you the exception to his habit of being an assclown, you are embarking on a long and painful journey of trying to demonstrate that you have the power to make someone change and seeking the ultimate validation – having someone be different ‘just’ for you.

Change you, change the relationships you are interested, and change the relationship you’re in. Either accept people as they are so you can be real rather than trapped in illusions campaigning for change and make real decisions for a real relationship, or get out of it – read my post on Get Out of Stuck.

Have boundaries, values, awareness of red flags, and recognise when it is time to fold on a bad relationship investment instead of continuing to throw crazy emotional money at the relationship casino table. Don’t gamble yourself on an outcome based on someone that actually doesn’t exist on a habitual, consistent basis because you will deplete yourself and end up with unrealistic results.

Not every man is worthwhile keeping. In fact, not every relationship can be ‘The One’. If you’re really after a quality relationship, you must exert some quality control. The whole taking in a stray dog mentality doesn’t translate well to human relationships. Read my post on standing by your broken man.

Betting on potential, denying the reality of your relationship and someone’s character, suffering with ‘I Can Change Him’ syndrome and having a penchant for fixing/healing/helping will not stop you from avoiding the inevitable.

You can’t hold on to someone because you’d rather be with somebody rather than nobody. You also shouldn’t have an automatic expectation of change in your relationships – choose better instead of trying to force square pegs into round holes.

It’s not just a case of picking up any ‘ole guy to have a relationship – not every man wants a relationship, not every guy is suitable for a relationship, and even if they are it doesn’t mean that you are automatically compatible. Relationships take shared primary values – if you don’t have the nitty gritties, your relationship will struggle.

If you have an idea about the type of guy that is ‘right’ for you and you’re dating him and getting dubious or even crazy or dangerous results, it is time to get real about compatibility, type, and common interests and have an honest conversation with yourself.

Also, if you’re putting someone’s surname with yours and imagining various scenarios when you’ve not met yet, barely been on a date, or don’t really know anything about them, you’re off in ‘Lalaland’. Slow your roll – not every relationship is meant to be. If you mourn every relationship or date like it’s significant, it’s a disproportionate reaction because you’re pinning too much of yourself and your hopes and dreams on each of these dates. If every guys feels major, how do you differentiate?

I know women who are distraught after going on one date, three dates, or spending a few weeks with someone I also know women who are mourning the loss of men that they started to talk to online but didn’t actually meet. I understand the frustration but you have to wonder what would happen after ten dates, ten months, or years. This is not to say you can’t be disappointed but you have to question how much you can feel for someone who you don’t know that well.

Dating is about getting to know someone with a view to discovering if there is enough to push ahead into a relationship. You start out (ideally) with a reasonable level of trust and as you get to know them, you either discover more reasons to trust and proceed, or less reasons to trust and withdraw.

Dating is a fact finding or a discovery period – when you find our facts or discover things that make you incompatible, throw up a red flag, or at the very least throw up cause for concern, you have to do something – not persist in loving or trusting blindly.

Slow down so that you can see clearly and have both of your feet in reality. Open your eyes and listen so that you get to know the person and your relationship and do not deny who or what you are involved in because you are 100% responsible for creating the illusionary relationship results.

Your thoughts? More love lessons to follow.

Learn more about values and common interests with my special ebook bundle. You can also check out my ebooks including The No Contact Rule, a dedicated guide to getting over someone by cutting contact and injecting some boundaries into your life so that you can move on to a happier you, and Mr Unavailable & The Fallback Girl, a no holds barred guide to emotionally unavailable men and the women that love them, in my bookshop. For personal advice or analysis of your relationship/situation, check out my consultation service.


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16 Responses to Love Lessons: Getting The Relationship You Expect, Not Every Man is Worth Keeping & More

  1. Movedon says:

    Nat again you are the guiding light! I am so grateful as I navigate in the world of relationships and building what is hoped to be a long lasting love affair with myself and my choosen. Its joyous to see I am on the right track and you confirm that for me. Yep doing that – yep doing that too. Shared primary values check. No red flags – good. Some common interests but not all – thats good – both have own friends and own interests as well. Sharing on a daily basis and really really comfortable in the freedom of not walking on eggshells. Learning new love habits everyday AND employing them as well. No pedestals here. Feels good to be me. I feel like I have climbed mountains in months. In my own skin and likin it! Again thank you Nat from the bottom of my heart!!!!!!

  2. Col says:

    Here’s a question Nat….what if you have TWO views on what you expect from a relationship? There is much experience and evidence in my life of AC/EUM , lack of respect, little appreciation type men, and in the last couple years as I’ve done inner work, more genuinely happy couples have come into my awareness where the man treats his woman as an equal, respected and adored partner and behaves as such.
    Therefore I have two very valid views on what a relationship is, or can be…and while I desire the latter, and can sometimes see myself in such….with no past PERSONAL experience of the latter it is sort of like a fantasy which i believe can materialize in my life but have trouble actually picturing myself in the situation.
    I also have trouble picturing myself in the FORMER situation as I have put my boundaries firmly in place and have no patience for the AC/EUM twits and really cannot fathom the idea of being in relationship with one…even my recent one I ended it with quite early on (altho I tripped with trying to get closure; but learned not to do that again; ultimately giving myself my own closure)

    SO what to do if when imagining or expecting a relationship, i have two very realistic views and really just draw a blank? Visualize a good one and try to put myself mentally into expecting it , i imagine, but if you have any input , much appreciated.

    • Drica Lima says:

      “Choosing men who are not actually relationship material and who habitually mistreat you and the relationship, is about trying to be the exception”. This is so true. There are tonnes of women out there that are looking to ‘save’ a man…or really- believe they can change them for the better. This sometimes happens, but only on their own accord and not because of anyone else. There has to be something within themselves and for themselves to be able to change.

      Drica
      .-= Drica Lima´s last blog ..What Is Your Life About? Love Now. =-.

    • For Real says:

      What do you truly expect to happen when you’re in a relationship? I say truly for a reason – there’s the stuff we say we expect and then there’s the real stuff we expect, often the things we’re afraid of. Write it down. Is what you expect happening?

      Truth is, I have gone into “relationships” expecting it not to last or work out. The last person I picked did not like expectations of any kind…..so I limited my expectations of him, and guess what I got….nothing. I mean nothing…I could not depend on this guy to offer me a glass of water( I mean that literally). I know logically that this makes no sense….in fact if someone was telling me this, I would tell them to run away from this person. Yet, when it comes to myself I get the I do the opposite of what I know is true.
      I feel when I understand why I am like this, then I will truly change.

  3. Maria says:

    I’ve been seen both here and in the forums a lot of women wondering, thinking about “what ifs”, trying to translate what men say (specially before the last few posts, and even obsessing with stuff when a lot of trouble could be avoided with good communication.
    I mean this from the women’s part; why not ask men what their intentions are from the get go, why he didn’t call you, what he meant when he said something weird, etc. It’s like they are afraid of the answers or afraid of being seen as confrontational.
    Back in my dating days, I was like that, too. I spent a lot of time wondering why the guy du jour was doing or saying something, and even allowed myself to be treated badly without much reaction. One day I learned how easy it was to communicate and know what I wanted to know. When the answers were not good, I’d move on without looking back or obsessing.

  4. freeatlast says:

    I have boundaries in place, enjoy my own company and know I’d rather be single than with an AC but although I think I fullly accept myself I have an underlying fear that when people get to know my flaws (although being realistic there are fewer bad things than good) they wont accept me for who I am.

    It sounds a bit strange but I can’t seem to get past this feeling.

    • Seeking Clarity says:

      Freeatlast….I understand your struggles I am there too. I also have no problem enjoying my own company, and for the most part I feel better by myself. But their is apart of me that is afraid i will not be accepted when I meet someone. I am starting to understand that this fear could be the factor that is drawing just the type of guy I am trying avoid. I will tell you this much whenever I find myself doubting or unsure about something, guranteed I will meet someone to help me confirm the feeling even more.

      So I don’t know about you, but I am learning if I don’t try to understand what those feelings mean for me, whether they really define me….then it does not matter how many boundaries I put up, I will ulitmately fall back in the same pattern. Let me know your thoughts.

      • Michelle says:

        I agree with both of you. I was like this in my previous relationship. I was always bothering my ex-boyfriend about meeting my friends and family but he always made excuses – I don’t know if I would actually have let him meet anyone because he was so condescending and judgmental of me that I was so afraid of what he would say about all of the people around me. I was afraid that if he broke down my “support” system of all the people who were there for me through all the tough times, I would be devastated if things ended again because he would have been able to taint my images of them or me of him. It’s really quite an irrational way of thinking, but I suppose it was a self protective measure. HUGE red flag on that relationship!

  5. Gotitright says:

    I think it’s really hard to keep our expectaions low….
    Guys use confuseing tricks…
    My last guy vanished after five dates….
    I felt like I was on the test drive….
    God it hurts still….

  6. Nisha says:

    I just want to say thank God for You ,and this blog!It has kept me strong so many nights when i cried!I was a woman who chased theese type of men,and realationships all my life!No more! I’m finally strong enough to expect more for myself!I was the woman who always had men cheat.{i was never the other woman}for some reason,I felt because i was the”main” woman it had meaning,or status.i would attack the”other” woman as if i was better.Long story short,it all went back to my father,and mother,i found out{thankfully after therapy}now i’m in a new realationship{healthy}with a man who is honest,and mature,and to be honest it was weird at first,but i will never look back to the pain my past has bought me! thanks natalie!! WE NEED YOU!! KEEP DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING.

  7. Tara says:

    I’m definitely one of those girls who goes off the deep end after one good date–even if the guy quickly proves that he can’t meet up to his early promise. I recently went on a great date with a nice guy and there are some good signs: he hasn’t made me a lot of crazy, premature promises, he’s shown up, kept in contact, and, in general, appears to know it’s going to take a lot of good behavior to win me over. Who knows what will happen but it tells me what I should be looking for from ALL the guys I date. That, and it’s a nice change from the Mr. Unavailables who always run hot and cold and talk big but act small.
    .-= Tara´s last blog ..Mr. Available #108: Could It Be? =-.

  8. JJ2 says:

    I just hope that the A/C’s we all dated aren’t computer literate enough to find this website. If they find this website, they would just play the game with different rules.

  9. posh says:

    Great reading so what I needed to read finally got back in the dating game after Assclown had a date last week everything went really well(or so I thought) he kept in contact though ringing thought great finally met someone although abit older thought I would take a chance great. Then alarmbells rang he started to moan that I was not ringing him or texting him all the time he was abit full on just after one date seems he just wanted me to keep giving him a ego boost saying how great he was and to chase Ive learnt from on here dont chase the man! but agreed to a 2nd date to give it a chance so glad I did I knew from then he was not a keeper thanks to you Natalie could tell the signs i think he got the vibe I wasn’t that intrested anyway went quiet the next day testing me if I would pander to him and I didn’t then recived aI text from him saying he though we wasnt suited as a couple. I wasn’t bothered at all lol! Just knew he wasn’t for me but you dont know if you dont try and now know what I want and look for in a man not everyman is worth keeping very true!!!

  10. freeatlast says:

    Seeking Clarity – I think you are right it probably is the fear of not being accepted that attracts the AC’s and prevents us moving on. I think with me not having a great deal of healthy support in my life, always being criticized and judged etc I am just not used to anything different and it is hard to change.

    I am hoping to sort this problem out myself but I’m wondering how much longer it will take and if I should consider therapy to get to the root of it.

    Seeking Clarity/Michelle – It is nice to know that other people are experiencing the same thing.

  11. Sherry says:

    Dear Natalie,
    Another enlightening post, thank you.
    I think this is where self-respect, dignity, trust in ourselves comes in. Dating is supposed to be fun and as you’d said, fact finding. Dating is the stage where we try to learn whether it’s good enough to move forward and learn more about the other person or not.
    And this is where the continous, WIP (work in progress) comes in. As a woman who has been on the dating scene for over 20 years and have dated a lot of men (this is not to confuse of “sleeping” with many men), I for one have learned when to retract or move forward. Some were painful lessons, but yet, they were valuable.
    Once we all have the sense of self-respect, we then learn where our boundaries are and have them in place without having to compromise or adjust them for any man.
    Thank you,
    Sherry

  12. Maria says:

    I’ve got to say this to NML: it’s sooooo unfair that Candace Bushnell is a gazillionaire and you are not (at least I think you aren’t, so forgive me if you indeed are one).
    Your material is so much better, realistic, detailed, useful, helpful, well written, heartfelt and awesome. Thank you and congratulations.

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!

My Book - Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl

Stop believing that you did something to make them unavailable or that their inadequacies are down to your inadequacies - it is not about you; they are unavailable!