Why I decided to lower my standards and settle for mediocre manbabies

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If you expect consistency in my articles, you won’t be getting that from me. Not only am I a master of confusion, but also a master of confusing myself (and inflicting humiliation onto myself for years to come each time). In order to avoid the pitfall of expectation, I simply expect nothing. It’s like manifestation, except if you desire nothing, nothing will come. If you want nothing, and settle for less, you will… actually get less! Fucking surprising, right? So, here’s my experience with wanting nothing —

My battle with expectation began somewhere in my childhood, with the inconsistent promises and parenting provided to me by my absent mother (that’s right: the mommy issues resurface). Like all things that happen in childhood, that dynamic carried over into my dating practices. If I expected anything, hoped for anything, wanted anything, or needed anything, there was a suuuuper high chance I wasn’t going to get it. This has been a tenet of my life ever since. If even the smallest desire awakened in my heart, if I felt that starry twinkle form in my eyes, it was destined to bring sorrow. Like a curse, except I was not some ill-fated princess or sad magical girl with a cool pink gun. I was just a clown with attachment issues.

Human decency is optional when interacting with me, apparently. And here I’m literally just talking about interacting, not even dating, since being asked on a date is too high an expectation. And expectations are bad. As I progress as a person, I’ve learned the simplest way to avoid heartbreak is to avoid all interactions with anyone you may even be slightly attracted to. Burn bridges. Insult their family. Keep them away from you, because life isn’t a K-Drama. It is actually much, much worse, and the writers enjoy your special brand of 4am back-of-the-uber sobbing. 

I’m always told my articles are relatable, or that I’m relatable as a “person,” yet I constantly find myself in weird scenarios romantically where I question my humanity, and always leave myself asking: did I want too much? Does asking someone to bathe, or to not have a girlfriend, or to use specific things (times, dates, places) when talking to me and not just emojis make me a bad person? How am I, this alleged cute and relatable human, not drowning in a sea of romance? Instead I suffer from nervous vomiting whenever I have to wait 2-3 hours for a response from someone. I may have so much personality it’s considered a disorder, but that has only aided me in keeping friends, so why is branching out into romance and following the beating of my heart so… difficult?

For a while, I thought my bad hand at dating was simply because of “the trans thing,” but perhaps it’s something more? As nauseating as it sounds, we all have to confront something we would rather ignore at one point or another. That one thing we think we can avoid, that sits and stares at us as we ignore it, like the B in LGBT — it’s there. It’s real. It demands its space, and ignoring it weakens your larger being. For me, that thing was vulnerability. I refuse, like most Scorpios, to actually present myself in a way that is genuine. If people don’t know the genuine me, when they reject me or make fun of me, it’s not real. They’re just not into my performance art of the month, and that’s more palatable than accepting that there’s something wrong with myself. 

For a very long time, my expectations held me back from knowing people. They prevented me from making connections, from being true to myself around people I didn’t already trust. I expected people to hurt me, and to be disgusted with me. In a life where only more pain was promised, I tried my hardest to defend myself until doing that became too exhausting. I decided to just give myself up, and go with what life had planned for me — and because of this, I am so much worse! 

There was a kind of beauty in this — I thought that by accepting others and their flaws, maybe some kind of commonality would take shape. I take things at face value, and believe what people say to me even when I shouldn’t. I am naive: I don’t believe that people would intentionally hurt me or lie to me, and I seem to think that any apology, half assed or not, is genuine and deserving of forgiveness: a completely fucking stupid habit that I find myself unable to break. Now I can’t quit being vulnerable, especially with people I shouldn’t be vulnerable with. And it’s really messing with my, uh, self esteem. (For all future suitors: don’t be alarmed, I don’t actually have one of those.) 

I have lowered my expectations to simply want people to be honest with me, to simply be honest with themselves. I tried accepting lies. I spent time with people’s boyfriends or husbands, and I chose to trust these men (despite the fact that our relationship was based on them lying to someone they had promised themselves to). And each time I would be saddened by the truth, when it came time to face it.

How do you deal with accepting less and still getting nothing? Do you just blindly move forward, hoping that one day, someone will return your kindness? Or do you just accept yourself as flawed and give up expectation entirely? It seems like the lessons we learn in childhood are forever. I wanted to think that expecting less was the answer. But perhaps the real answer is to just… expect nothing, and completely avoid all humans — especially those who drink whole milk in 2022. 

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