Expectations and Disappointment

Today I want to examine some of my underlying expectations for Husband that always seem to cause me great pain when they end with disappointment.

So for a few weeks now, I have been very clear with Husband that I don’t often feel loved, cherished, special.

We discussed ways I might feel more loved, and ways that I feel slighted in terms of my love language. For example: My mom had a little surprise birthday party on my last birthday, and everyone there had a gift for me except my husband and kids. My kids felt bad they had nothing for me, since he did not tell them either and they’re too young to do it on their own. (These discussions were over the past few weeks, not on Mother’s Day, I will not bring up the past hurts again to him, just put them here to explain why my expectations were high-again)

Last week, he kept talking about Mother’s Day, reminding me he had the day off work, and that we were going to have such a nice day together with our little family. He sounded excited, so I started getting excited and hopeful that he had planned something for me, some gift, surprise, or outing – anything. My expectations were very high and I couldn’t wait to see what he planned. So when we had our usual weekend breakfast (which was lovely but just like every other weekend) and the usual bouquet of flowers from the grocery store (which were also lovely but just a last minute side thought) and when we finished eating I asked what was next, and he said “I don’t know” and shrugged it off – my bubble of expectation turned into devastating disappointment. Sigh. “Oh” I said. He didn’t even think about planning something, other than being home with us. (Should that have been enough for me? He was there and not yelling?)

Now I knew he was lying about the day before, and some silly part of me thought maybe the lie was to cover up some surprise for me. I get so silly and child-like, hoping each time he will finally go out of his way for me, but it never happens. So who is the silly one here? Who is the ungrateful one? Me, right? Why do I do this to myself? If I don’t expect a grand gesture, I won’t be so disappointed that it never comes, and will instead be happy with the sweet little gestures that did happen. Why isn’t that enough for me? Is this healthy to expect more from him? Would it ever be enough? I don’t know, to me he’s never tried. To him, it was a lovely day and he thinks he did enough.

I think I just want him to do the legwork, the research, and plan my day so I don’t have to. That would be the greatest gift. Even if it was all free, like if he said, “First we’re going to the park to walk and look at flowers, then we’re going to fly kites, then we’re going to have a nice lunch. . .” I would have felt like a Queen. Instead, after breakfast, I am left to do the dishes while he takes a very long bath and goes about his business. Then I go shopping for kids school projects. It was a nice day, but just a day like any other day where I call the shots and do chores and run errands.

I explained this to him later, and I’m not sure if he got it or thinks I’m whiny and ungrateful. I then said it would have meant the world to me if my breakfast also had a note from him, even just a few words saying “Thank you for being such a great mom to our kids”. I told him that I feel so insecure about being a good mom, because it is so important to me. That it would have meant so much if he thought about me and planned ahead instead of last minute. I explained that I thought he was hinting about having something planned.

Engagement Ring

Engagement Ring (Photo credit: Lucas_James)

So all these talks of grand gestures and surprising me may be sinking in. I found “ebay” “engagement” in the search window history. I am very worried that he is going to buy me an engagement ring and do some crazy proposal. I told him it bothered me that he never proposed and that I bought my own ring. But what if he does this before I am ready to say Yes to him? I couldn’t honestly re-commit to him right now. And I’m not sure we could make it past me saying “I’m not sure” when he finally does something grand and romantic. I’ve been saying “I love you” to him again, because I do feel love. But it is an unsure, tentative type of love, that I hope will grow. I want to feel it, I want to accept him, I want to trust him. I will always love him, but I’m not sure I will always be married to him. Urgh.

Should I tell him I saw that ebay page and explain my concerns? Or just see what happens?

I don’t know what he is expecting, and I sure don’t want to disappoint him.


11 thoughts on “Expectations and Disappointment

  1. You’ve pointed out something significant. You’re exploring your expectations. This is huge. You already know pretending everything is okay doesn’t work, and talking does seem to make a difference. For myself, I’d be taking it to my counselor, if for no other reason than to glean a different perspective. I know sometimes I’m too close to see clearly. I also tend to freeze because I’m afraid of doing the wrong thing, then I’m considering every possible angle until I’m reaching into the realm of the absurd. Old habit. You’re doing great. Really.

    • Yes I will take to my counselor. She is pretty used to me coming in with my little list of topics labeled “My Issues”. We both giggle about it, but yes I am paying her to help me with what I need help with.

  2. Have you guys started marriage counseling yet? This seems like something a marriage counselor would be good at helping you with.

  3. The things you say in this post have obviously been well thought over…you seem to be seeing both his side and yours, which is a great starting point. I have to agree with other comments in that counseling and/or therapy would be a great forum for this sort of thing.
    I feel the same way at times over things like Mother’s Day. My hubs didn’t do a thing for me for three years in a row when my little guy was born and it tore at my heart. The year he actually DID something (brought me an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen…..wtf?) I was very disappointed. It wasn’t that I wanted something more…just that I wanted him to have cared enough to *think* of something more. Now you just need to find a way for your husband to hear you on this as well…clearly and without guilt clouding the issue. xx

    • I am trying so hard to see my role in our marriage and not just blame him. I know it is about give and take and that we have so many unhealthy ways we interact. Yes the counselor will be hearing all about this. I love blogging before I talk to counselor or husband, helps me get my thoughts straight and I communicate better after I have written it first.
      It seems many men have this same issue of not know what is important to their women, and unintentionally disappoint us. And you have it exactly, it is not about the money spent, it is about the *thinking*. I want him to think about me and plan something, not just grab something quick and easy last minute. My guy says he doesn’t feel disappointed if I neglect to get him gifts, that it doesnt matter to him, so why would it matter to us? It doesnt mean he doesn’t love me, he says . . . well we’re working on this and trying to learn.

  4. The same thing happens here with Mother’s Day. It is no big deal to hubby and that hurts. I even told him that at least once I’d like to get breakfast in bed. He said really? But then the day came and went. I try not to get my hopes up but yes, wouldn’t it be lovely to receive a little appreciation?!? I don’t get why he won’t help the kids and try to plan something a little special.

    I’m not sure about the engagement ring – that’s wonderful but bad timing I guess. Anxious to hear how that goes!

    • So many things are no big deal to these men and they have no idea we get all hopeful and then get crushed. Hmmm.

      And yes, my thoughts exactly, the ring could be something wonderful and exactly what I want from him – some day – not now, very bad timing. But I have to admit I like that he is looking, and that’s a good sign.

  5. I’ve noticed that when I get disappointed about things, it’s because I had high expectations but had not expressed those expectations to my husband. I hoped that he would read my mind and when he didn’t provide the grand gestures that I had been hoping for, I would get disappointed. I’ve found that mindfulness really makes a lot of difference.

  6. Pingback: “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” « Women in Contemporary Relationships

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