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It has been almost one year since my girlfriend and I broke up. We talked for about 6 months after, then I had to end all contact because I had too high of expectations regarding our "friendship," which ultimately undermined our relationship further. She was my first true girlfriend, my first love. Of course, most of you know that story.


In any case, the reason she broke up was because I "completely changed." About 8 months after we became a couple, I went off to graduate school, thus turning our relationship into long distance. Of course, over the course of the two years I was in graduate school, I changed and uprooted myself and became an independent person. She remained behind, pursuing her career. So, it is not surprising that I changed over the two year period, but one thing that I am interested in understanding is her statement denoted that I changed in a negative way relative to her impression of who I was.


Ultimately, it seems all of us go into a relationship with a person with every kind of expectation in the world. We have an idea of who our significant other is and who they want to become, in many ways being blind to the fact that relationships evolve and shift as two people evolve and shift. Unfortunately, I run into trouble conceptually when I try and reconcile two key issues. If one enters into a truly committed relationship, are they just being naive thinking that they will not grow and mature? Or do most people enter into a relationship thinking it will remain that "romantic love" that lasts but a short time. Since my girlfriend and I broke up, I realized that it was never truly love, but one in which was conditional and full of insecurity given it was our first love for the both of us. Looking back, I'm much more aware of what true love actually is. While I remain an idealistic and a romantic when it comes to love, I let it cloud my judgement much less, at least I think I do. In the end, it seems in my mind that I think under all of my experiences lies a fundamental truth: I firmly believe that people who claim that they love someone and then break up fail to realize what true love actually is. They go in with all kinds of expectations, then break up because those expecations aren't met. Maybe it is due to naivity, lust, or just plain selfishness, it seems strange and ingenuine to me that people who break up with someone still sometimes claim their love for that other person. To me, once a person breaks up, that is a direct sign that they were never in love with YOU, they were only in love with qualities about you that they confused for the real person. It seems people seem to falsify and denigrate love by confusing loving the person and loving the qualities that inevitably evolve and mature.


So, I suppose another lesson I learned is that falling in love and loving someone are two entirely different things and yet people still think they are the same. For those of you who broke up, rest assured, breaking up does not mean that person loves you. If they remain in contact, it only means they don't want to hurt you further, nothing more. Maybe I'm a skeptic, but for me "breaking up" has come to mean they care for you enough to say to you you are no longer necessary as a significant part of your life. In the end, be careful with your next love by not undermining it right from the start with all kinds of expectations. They will inevitably catch up and destroy the fabric of your relationship. Take care.

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I don't think your appraisal is correct.


I think its very possible for people to change and as they change they may become something the person that loves them no longer finds attractive. If you do change you have to admit that your relationship will either change with it or end. Its unreasonable to expect a person to completely readjust their desires in a partner just to sustain a relationship.


If you fall in love there is an expectation that that person will be a similar through the years. Not many people want to be with a person whose sweet one month and totally nasty the next. Change is not always for the better. You say mature, but in her eyes it could have been a degeneration.


Think about what happened over the course of the time you were in grad school. Was there a shift in your paradigm as to what you thought was best for you? Did you really put effort into the relationship? You say you became independent, does that mean you shut her out?

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i think that you raise an interesting thought. i do agree that often times when a person ends a relationship it is because they are not in love.


for every person who walks, there is another who stays in a relationship where love does not exist. what do you call these people? is that not selfish? do they know love? is there one definition for love? what is yours?


i think you have some good points but i don't think that whether a person stays or walks is an accurate measure of being in love. it is certainly a variable but not always a predictor.


if your theory holds water then i guess i am an outlier - because i have walked and i was in love.......

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be careful with your next love by not undermining it right from the start with all kinds of expectations. They will inevitably catch up and destroy the fabric of your relationship. Take care.


i agree with this last statement. i feel that both my ex and i came in with expectations [which isn't bad in itself, but like you say, unreasonable expectations will only make things harder] and because we didn't satisfy those expectations for one another in some way or another, we began to drift apart.

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I'm not saying that a person should readjust their desires or needs to be with a person---not at all. What I am saying is that a person should be realistic when it comes to their expectations when entering into a relationship and then burdening the person they love with those desires. There is a fine line in having a sense of what you want out of a relationship and poisoning the relationship by asserting that unless those desires are met, then the other person necessarily does not love you. In essense, if you are too rigid in your expectations, the relationship becomes more of a test than a relationship which naturally causes disruptions. In the end, love I think is used too often as a loose term to describe how your satisfaction is fulfilled, not whether you are in love with the person. A person can always work at fulfilling your wants, but what happens when a conflict arises when those needs aren't filled? When times get rough so to speak? Does that mean that you fall out of love, as so many claim, otherwise known as the "I love you, but not in love with you" quote. All too often it seems that people association love with how full their satisfaction meter is, which necessarily can strain a relationship.


Of course, then things get really bad when one person in the relationship never informs the other person of their expecations, which automatically cuts one half of the relationship off. This type of person is one who I believe is passive; a passive person believes that if this person is the person I love and should be with, he should just naturally not only know but act in a fashion that leads to my satisfaction without me having to tell him/her. That, for me, is vindictive and cruel on the other person.


So, in the end I admit totally that I made mistakes and took my first girlfriend for granted. That is a lesson I learned the hard way, but unfortunately I was in a committed relationship with was one who kept what she truly felt and wanted a secret. Specifically, when she told me how she felt, if I didn't act in a particularly limited way according to her satisfaction, she would take that as me being mean, not loving her anymore, or a huge negative. In effect, it made me question myself and regret a number of things, all the while I would feel horrible for having acted in a way that was not according to her expecations. I would have no clue why she felt a particular way and she was not the type of person who would ask why I acted a particular way, but only take the surface reaction as a sign of how I truly felt. In other words, our approach to communication was based in large measure on our expecations of what we wanted out of the other person. I wanted her to be forthright and honest while she wanted a kind of support that I didn't know how to give.


All I'm saying is that people mature and evolve in life, NOT just going from being happy one month to be nasty the second. That was not my point at all because everyone is bound to have moods and be nasty and happy at different moments of their lives. What I am saying is to not let those moments that disagree with your sentiments of what love SHOULD be, and act in a way that shows you will at least try and UNDERSTAND why that person feels the way they do. To be honest, there are so many people in this world that take the first sign of inconvenience and hardship as a sign that their relationship is a failure and that that person is obviously not the person for them. In a society that wreaks of constant and endless change filled with quick advertising, consumerism, and "throw it away when it is no longer useful" mentality with a very high level of divorce, maybe we should take a step back and reflect on the kind of love that is expressed when a wife in the 1940s had to rely on snail mail to talk to her husband as he is at war for four years. For me, THAT is the type of love I am speaking about, because of course her immediate needs weren't being met, BUT she still loved him. Take care.

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gosh its weird how i can relate so much to you right now, Openheart1. the things you've shared of your relationship and the things you've learned from them are almost exactly what i am in the process of realizing with my recent breakup (the situation sounds very similar).


A person can always work at fulfilling your wants, but what happens when a conflict arises when those needs aren't filled? When times get rough so to speak? Does that mean that you fall out of love, as so many claim, otherwise known as the "I love you, but not in love with you" quote. All too often it seems that people association love with how full their satisfaction meter is, which necessarily can strain a relationship.


this part is very descriptive of what i was going through, i would feel that i had to tiptoe around eggshells all the time in order to keep my ex 'happy,' and satisfied. if she was ever unhappy, i should expect her to doubt everything about our relationship and then express how she doesn't even like who i am.


the hard part to look back on is how she would say things like 'hey, things are gonna be rough, let's try to remember that,' but this was only in situations where i felt like i was being mistreated and neglected by her, so she would only say these things when it was convenient for herself.


i guess i don't really know what that good balance of having expectations yet being able to grow within a relationship would be. i felt like i did, but this is what i also definitely relate to:


In effect, it made me question myself and regret a number of things, all the while I would feel horrible for having acted in a way that was not according to her expecations.


because certain things i did/say was not to her liking, i somehow felt that i was really a bad person at times. gradually though, i realized that i was being somewhat manipulated in these sorts of situations, and i began to lose respect for my ex.


not to threadjack or go off on a rant, but i just wanted to say thank you for sharing your thoughts/experience, it makes me feel like i truly relate to someone in terms of the whole relationship thing. now i know better [hopefully] and can take what i learn forward into the next chapters of life.

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You essentially have the expectation that she is supposed to love you no matter what you did or how you acted. That she was supposed to follow you around like a devoted puppy with no sign of love or care from you. That is not love; that is you getting all the support you need with out giving any in return.


Relationships are about mutual support and care. One party can not sit pining for any sign of love from the other and truly be happy.


You don’t meet the needs of the person you are with, then how do you love them? During WWII society had the expectation that women were not supposed to express themselves and demand anything for themselves. They were expected to follow an antiquated gender role of the house wife and mother, with no thought of self or identity beyond their part in a family unit. You were not at war, you were in grad school.


I am in grad school, my boyfriend is 2000 miles away, but when he needs my support, I give it. I listen to him, I talk to him. We communicate and discuss what we need.


Having expectations of what a relationship may bring is not some evil, its part of thinking ahead, looking at future goals and life plans. You don’t have to disregard them to be in a relationship, you just have to communicate them.

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It seems you are saying that I was not giving support and only being selfish in my pursuit for graduate school. While that may be the case, my only point is just want you seem to also be arguing, namely that relationships are about mutual care and respect. Unfortunately, it may have been the case that I took my girlfriend for granted. For that, I am regretful. However, it is also the responsibility of the person who feels a certain way to express their unhappiness, not assume the other person knows that they are hurting their significant other. In addition, you seem to be also assuming that I was not devoted or loving? What ever gave you that impression? Just to let you know, people are not perfect and sometimes they lose track of their responsibilities to the person they love. Not because they want to hurt them, but because they unknowingly take them for granted. In addition, who said I ever wanted my girlfriend to "follow me around like a devoted puppy?" I respect women who can not only lead their own independent lives, but also respect a relationship enough to stand up for what they want, not passively submitting to something they don't truly want. Honesty is the most important thing in a relationship to me. However, one can only be honest when they actual speak up, not assume the other person knows that they are doing something that is hurtful. You stated that you and your boyfriend discuss what each of you need. Good for you and that is something I value highly in any relationship. Your last statement is all my underlying point was to begin with. All too often, people DON'T COMMUNICATE their expectations and assume their partner knows, which leads to resentment.

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All too often, people DON'T COMMUNICATE their expectations and assume their partner knows, which leads to resentment.

You said nothing of communication in your other posts, only that people should not have expectations when they enter a relationship.


You shouldn't argue against having expectations because that would totally negate the point of dating or looking around for a partner. You have expectations because of what you want out of a relationship.


You should not attack those expectations, the communication of the expectations is what your real trouble is with.

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If I said that people should not have any expectations, I do apologize. That was not my point. My point was that people should not let expectations define how you feel towards someone. It is a subtle distinction, but I believe that a person who loves another does not do so based on whether their expectations are being met, as that only causes a breeding ground for disappointment and disillusionment. While it is fine to have expectations, the second they start to dominate your opinion of someone else and the only measure for whether you love someone else, I think you have already sabotaged what it means to love someone. Love is NOT having expectations met or not met. Love is loving someone even when those expectations are not met. Of course, having expectations fulfilled in the beginning is critical to jumpstart a relationship, specifically during the infatuation stage. That is the key to infatuation; expectations are wrapped around notions of the person's feelings toward you and vice versa. However, as the relationship progresses, having expectations, along with communicating your expectations in a meaningful way without degrading the other person as somehow failing to live up to some standard that he/she does not understand is a way to end a relationship quickly. I say again, it is a subtle distinction between loving someone and having your expecations met. One must be very careful not to fall into the trap of loving the feelings that you get by being around that person AND loving that person. Often, people break up because they "fall out of love" with that person, which means they never really loved the person, they only loved the feelings they get when being around that person. While it may seem like a semantic trivial distinction, mature love, in my opinion, exists only when the romanticized surface type of feelings can be put into the proper perspective.

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It would make a lot easier if people were more forth writhe with their thoughts and wants and needs. The "Talk" so to speak of the possible directions things may go and what is hoped for. There are still ways to be unbounded in a relationship, but have small areas of exclusion. Marriage and children being the pink elephant in the room, any long term relationship should have a "talk" as to those parts of the growth or not.


I know I had expectations and baggage going into my relationship, some of them would be hard for guys to handle, but I gave my boyfriend the knowledge and allowed him to decide how he felt. He also has told me what he wants. I feel proud that we encourage each other to express our selves I think it save volumes of grief.

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