Expectations

by mssinglemama on July 8, 2010

A few months ago, at a dinner I couldn’t believe I had been invited to, my friend Leigh told me about the sequel to Eat, Pray, LoveElizabeth Gilbert’s latest, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage.

“I admit, it’s even got me thinking,” she said, raising one of her delicate eyebrows and trying to ignore my camera.

Leigh has been swearing off marriage ever since her first ended in a divorce. But she has since found a delightfully adorable and sweet boyfriend, who I suspect has more to do with her thinking than this book. “You should read it, too.”

“Maybe. What convinces her to finally get married?” I ask.

“Her husband needs a Green Card.”

“Fabulous,” I throw my hands in the air, “That sounds familiar.”

And then Leigh laughs, one of her huge bottomless laughs that makes me feel like I’m actually funny. “And Eat, Pray, Love – what’s that about? I know I’m like the last person on Earth to know but tell me.”

“After her divorce she takes off to find herself. She travels all over the world and realizes she’s just fine on her own – without a man.”

“Ahhh. Sounds like a fairy tale, totally impossible for single divorced women with kids.”

“Yeah, you’re right. I didn’t even think about that. You can’t take any time to yourself after a divorce.”

“Yep, but we make it work.”

I decide to check it out regardless because us single moms can still learn so much from our single and childless sisters.

They keep us in check. Remind us not to choose a man just because we have kids. And that we should shouldn’t lose sight of our own career goals even though we have full-time jobs already. We’re all women trying to find our place in this new, big bad world bursting with endless roads of equal opportunity decisions.

Sitting here at this table, Leigh and I are examples these dichotomous decisions. She, a fiercely independent career-minded woman who has seen and will continue to see incredible success as a result of her devotion to her work. And then myself, just as fiercely independent and career minded but side tracked by an unexpected marriage and pregnancy. Had it not been for a Homeland Security stop of my own who knows where I would be.

After our dinner, I forgot about the books and then life caught up with me until I stumbled across the Eat, Pray, Love trailer last night.

In just a few clicks I found Gilbert’s Website and a question and answer podcast on Commitment to Marriage. She discusses a few of the things that make a good marriage including: the woman maintaining her precious autonomy (career or passion) before, after and during the marriage, marrying over the age of 25 and another big one, managing our own expectations for what we can expect from marriage.

Managing our expectations seems to be the most challenging. After all, having been told about a Prince Charming since day one isn’t an easy thing to toss out. We want the romance. We want the ridiculous butterflies. And as Gilbert says, “We’re kind of making this up as we go.” This being, marrying out of love and not for pragmatic reasons like many of our parents and grandparents did. Listen to the podcast. You’ll be glad you did.

And then tell me, what do you expect from marriage? For those of you who have been married and divorced, are your expectations different now that they were? Perhaps more grounded in reality? And finally, do you hold men to the same expectations you have for yourself?

Everyone who comments will be entered to win a free new leaf necklace. I’ll draw a winner on Tuesday night.

Related posts:

  1. Should I leave my husband?
  2. The Married Single Mom
  3. Married people are weird (for the most part).
  4. Is marriage out of style?
  5. Whispers in the trees (and some sex).

{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

Jes July 8, 2010 at 9:51 pm

Mutual respect and friendship.

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Barb July 8, 2010 at 9:59 pm

I feel the same as your friend, Leigh. I’m also not sure I would ever marry again, but I would love to find myself a sweet adorable boyfriend to call my own. In my dating/relationship experiences, I do hold the same expectations of my mate as I expect of myself. Sadly, this causes more disappointment in my world than theirs.

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Jess July 8, 2010 at 10:07 pm

I honestly don’t know what I expect anymore. I have gotten really comfortable with myself and just being on my own with my little girl, that when confronted with the possibility of a relationship I don’t even know what to think.

I do agree with Barb’s last comment. My expectations are so much higher now for myself and them, and I seem to be the only one affected.

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Brenda July 8, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Thought provoking! Brenda

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Hillary July 8, 2010 at 10:09 pm

With time I am learning the importance of holding the men in my life to the same standard that I hold myself. I think its equally important to a relationship to maintain your individual goals, but also create some together. Marriage I feel is not in my future any time soon, but I would expect love, understanding, companionship, and mutual respect. I think its important to care about the other individual and truly see them as your counterpart, your other half if you will. I think it may be just as important to respect one another every day, not just when you agree.

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Susan July 8, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Marriage is a social contract. A business deal. No piece of paper makes it a relationship – love, lust or otherwise. There is no magical “happy ever after.”

Like anything – success is commiserate with the amount of honest hard work you and your partner are willing to invest. Pure and simple.

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Jeni July 11, 2010 at 12:28 pm

This is VERY well put. Unfortunately there are naieve people out there, like me, thinking this is the truth. That piece of paper did nothing for me but make it harder to sort things out.

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Angela July 8, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Loved the book, myself. With acceptance came greatness.

What I expect from marriage is contentment, equal respect and a whole lot of laughs along the way.

Oh boy, are my expectations different than when I was married in my twenties. I came to the realization that compromise is a two way street and neither is going to be always right or wrong. That marriage or being a part of a married couple does not fully define you, you have to define youself. That you cannot look to the other person for all your happiness.

I did hold men to the same expectations I had for myself, which in the begging after my divorce was not much and in turn I did not get much in return. With the growth of my own self esteem and self worth, the men I find myself attracted to are good for me, not the opposite.

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Becky July 8, 2010 at 10:13 pm

I have heard about the “Eat, Pray, Love” book but haven’t had a chance to pick it up. Now that I know what it is about, I will get it this weekend! I have such high expectations of marriage after a divorce. I was married young (21) and I feel like between being married, having a child and then divorced, I have matured and know what I want in a relationship and marriage more now than I ever have. Being single for the first time in a very long time has given me the time to actually sit down and figure out what it is I want in my own life and the kind of things I want in a future relationship. I won’t settle ever again. Sometimes I feel like my expectations are too high and I will never be in another relationship because of it, but for now, I am fine with that. It gives me time to raise my daughter and not ponder over whether or not “he’s the one” or when the phones going to ring. I’m not going to lie, there are lonely days and I wonder if I will ever find someone to meet all of my new found expectations, but for the most part I am happy with the way things are.

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Kristen July 8, 2010 at 10:17 pm

I’ve never read Eat, Pray, Love…Its been sitting on my shelf for the last year. A book that one o

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Kristen July 8, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Sorry, my daughter started hitting buttons on the laptop…

Anywho..My friend has been bugging me to read it. I think I should now!

I am 23, I have been a single mom for two, and I came quite close to marrying her father. I knew we had our problems, he had his thats for sure! And us being together for 7 years almost made it justifiable. But somewhere in the past year, it hit me. I couldn’t be with him. I don’t want to settle just for the sake of getting married and being a family. I have raised my daughter on my own since birth and we never have been happier. I realized I need to wait, to wait for the one who would sweep me off my feet, and be a loving and caring man, and a great father. I always have told myself that you have to be what you want to attract…a lovely piece of advice my little sister’s hate hearing. So I just live my life, take care of my daughter and be the best person I can be. I completely agree with Becky, it sure does get lonely, but hopefully it will be worth it in the long run!!

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Jessilyn July 8, 2010 at 10:24 pm

I loved the book, and I’m incredibly excited for the movie. Who doesn’t love Julia Roberts?! :D

-Jessilyn

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Gisela July 8, 2010 at 10:26 pm

My expectation is to find TRUE LOVE in someone who is Caring, Loving, Honest and most of all a FRIEND. Once I meet a man with all of these traits then my expectations will have been met, all else will fall right into place. Until then, I am content with my own expectations of just being able to live a happy and safe life with my two children. Even thou it is a struggle, I know that I am doing it all by myself with the love of Emily and Erick.

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Brenda Lewis July 8, 2010 at 10:26 pm

I ♥♥♥ “Eat, Pray, Love”!! Can’t wait to see the movie, but the book is AMAZING!

It’s so hard to date when you’re a single momma…I’d love to find someone to share my life, but sometimes finding the ability to release my attachment to certain expectations has proved to be very difficult. It’s not impossible, though, so I will continue to try. :)

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Julie July 8, 2010 at 10:31 pm

As a single mom, I would say..
I don’t have expectations as much as I have requirements.
Such as acceptance of children before marriage, acceptance of my crazy ex and such.. I think my approach to dating is largely the same as pre-kids in that, I follow my heart and be myself. What’s great about dating as a single mom is that, I know now, so much better, what I’m looking for in a person. Maybe that’s just something that comes with age too. No more wasted time, continuing to date someone you have red flags about.. I have read Eat Pray Love and the best thing I got from it was actually something I discovered when I made the decision to get divorced~ to be FEARLESS:)

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Erin July 8, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Oh, I LOVE “Eat Pray Love”. The book is amazing!

I still haven’t figured out the whole relationship thing. But I do know that finding a relationship now that I have a child is a HUGE responsibility because I’m not only looking for someone good for me, I’m looking for someone good for US. It’s a lot for a guy to live up to…I think that scares most of them! It’s funny how “macho” men who are not scared of anything can be chased off by the mere thought of a child! My kid is a lot of things, but he’s definitely NOT scary!

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Anonymous July 8, 2010 at 11:10 pm

You are an inspiration to all single mama’s out there!! Thank you for letting us in to your life and realizing that single mamahood is OK!! COngrats on Bear you deserve it!!

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Jenn July 8, 2010 at 11:12 pm

You inspire me everday to keep going!! Thank you for letting me have someone to relate too as well as hope for leaving singlehood behind!! Happy house hunting!!

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Rednaxela April 2, 2014 at 3:46 am

I am totally wowed and prrapeed to take the next step now.

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Gina July 8, 2010 at 11:13 pm

I am 30 yrs. old. I’m single, haven’t been married, have barely been in any kind of “long-term relationship” over nine months in duration. And I’m currently 36 weeks pregnant with my first child….haven’t heard from FOB (father of baby) since April. Prior to conception, I wanted to marry so I could have a family. I’m not sure where this drive came from, whether it was societal, psychological, biological…who knows. But now I know. It was all of the above. Pregnancy has aligned all the stars in my universe. It has deeply connected me with life. It has turned me into a competent, responsible, healthy woman. All of those qualities were in me before, they were just dormant….until this little babe woke them up and called them to duty. And now, now that I’m going to have a “family” a child but no husband, I’ve found myself wondering, “well do I still need to get married?” And I’m still not 100% clear on the answer. I have many close, intimate friendships, both male and female, that nurture my soul, that fulfill different roles. I’ve renewed relationships with family, both immediate and extended. I used to want a husband to fulfill these things for me: to give me a child, to be my best friend, to hang out with me, to tell me I’m [fill in the blank with whatever compliment]. What I’m trying to say is I used to want ONE man to fulfill all these different roles and needs. Now I’ve found many different people to fulfill those roles and needs. I feel happy, loved, supported, warm and friendly. My expectations for a husband/partner were completely unrealistic and unfair. There is no way any ONE person could ever possibly be all those things to me. So now what are my expectations of a husband/partner? Well, I know one thing: I do need and want a vibrant and healthy sex life. One that is nurtured and cultivated over time. Yes, I could go and randomly hook up with someone, but those kinds of sexual encounters lack intimacy. And that’s the part I find lacking and that I crave. An intimate sexual relationship. So it’s kind of weird but that is my expectation for a husband/partner: SEX.

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Katie July 8, 2010 at 11:52 pm

ALAINA! I just finished “Committed” today…and even as a woman who did remarry jumping in with both feet…I found lines and lines that resonated with me in my search for what a marriage really means in the book. It was an incredible book – that is so WEIRD that you wrote this!!! It has my mind spinning, and spinning about marriage and what it means…”this time” ;) I guess that, this time – considering I have remarried the man I divorced – my biggest expectation is honesty. And that is because dishonesty is what drove us to divorce the first time. I never know what to EXPECT with my marriage – when I divorced him I said that I hated him, and wished that he would have never entered my life – then I remarried him and made a public committment to stay with him forever :) I EXPECT that my marriage will shift and change, it will be difficult and fun, and I will get bored with him and fall more in love with him. THis feels a lot better than my first expectation: We would live happily ever after.

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Jamie July 8, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Although it’s taken a year, I think I would like to get married again. The last time around I searched to find love, support, acceptance, excitment, and a multitude of other things I thought would complete me; however, instead of looking for it in someone else, I have found all of it myself. This time I want not someone to complete me, but someone to compliment me-a warm breeze that makes me smile, not one who fills my sails.

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Kaili July 9, 2010 at 12:09 am

I may have to pick this book up and see what it’s all about. My husband left me for a much older woman and I didn’t even know there was a problem. He came home and packed up and was gone. Our son was only 2 at the time. We are finally divorced and our son is now 5. At this point I am 34 and have not dated anyone or even had the desire. I feel that I never want to be hurt like that again. Trust is a real problem for me. I am currently reading your ebook which so far is really good. Thanks for the website, it is very helpful.

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Jessica July 9, 2010 at 12:12 am

Thank you for sharing that podcast! I have been married and divorced, I’m now a single mom. I find myself in that place where I think so many of us are – not sure I will ever choose marriage again. I loved being married, I love committed relationships and am not at all a commitment-phobe. It just seems like there isn’t a good reason to do it. I was shocked to find out that because of no-fault divorce laws, nobody cares what you do while you’re married. My ex-husband did some pretty horrible things while we were married, and during our divorce/custody battle, none of it mattered to anyone but me. Knowing that makes marriage seem pretty pathetic. It’s a legal contract that has no real repercussions for a person who breaks it.

If I did get married again, my expectations would be a lot different. I no longer expect “forever.” Nothing is certain.

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Anne Y July 9, 2010 at 12:29 am

I had never pictured myself as the marrying kind. I was 21, had 2 children under the age of 2 and was quite content doing things on my own in the single mom world. Little did I know that 6 years later an amazing man would walk into my life and change my perception. I was leery at first, worried about protecting not only myself but my children as well. But here I am, 4 years later, happily married to that amazing guy who changed my life and showed me that it was possible to be happy with a companion. We’ve now been married for almost 3 years, had a child together and I wouldn’t change a thing!

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Valerie July 9, 2010 at 12:40 am

I’ve been quietly reading (and very much enjoying) your blog for the past few months. You’ve tempted me into commenting by offering up one of those brilliant new leaf necklaces.

As a single, never married mom, I find the topic of remarriage difficult to relate to. However, the title “A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage” intrigues me, a skeptic who has yet to make peace with even the idea of marriage. The marriage that turned me into a skeptic was my parents. After witnessing their emotionally abusive relationship and subsequent divorce, I vowed that I’d never get married. So determined (read stubborn) was I in my skepticism (and upon reflection, scared sh*tless that marriage may not be all bad) that I ended a 5 year relationship as I saw it headed in one direction, marriage.

Perhaps, it’s time to make peace. And, maybe, my first step should be reading this book.

Thanks for writing this blog. Even though different events brought us to where we are now, I sometimes find myself reading my thoughts in your writing. It’s reassuring to know that I’m not alone. It’s reassuring to see someone else who has triumphed and found love, while still maintaining her own sense of identity. You provide nuggets of wisdom, glimmers of hope, and frequent entertainment! Love it! =)

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Karen (Momartfully) July 9, 2010 at 1:06 am

I haven’t read either book but I have debated reading them. I wasn’t sure if reading them would be a positive or negative experience – so I just avoided them altogether. I’ve read too many negative “divorce” books.

I was married, then divorced and began raising 2 small kids on my own – and I essentially swore off ever having a man in my life again. Then my new partner entered my life and wouldn’t give up. He didn’t have kids. I didn’t believe that a man without kids would even be interested – but he was.

My lessons – so far:
expect from my partner what I expect from myself (we both contribute by working, we both do housework, we both do yard work…)
expect from myself what I expect from my partner (if I expect romance I should also be romancing him once in a while, too)
never settle for less than you deserve
work hard to deserve what you feel entitled to
discuss expectations openly and honestly
give your partner the space to do things in their own style (different doesn’t mean wrong)

Maybe I will try reading the books!

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Gitte Gorzelak July 9, 2010 at 1:15 am

I’ve been married for 5 years and divorced almost 5 yrs too. I entered my marriage (with my first ever boyfriend) with expectations that things would just run smoothly because I’d seen my parents married for over 20 years and hardly any fighting between them. I just expected my marriage to turn out the same without much effort. Big mistake. I now have different expectations and I know it’s hard work – I have given up on finding Prince Charming but I do have a Prince with flaws who says he loves MY flaws in return .. and every day we try to make it work, try our best to be kind to each other. I think kindness is a key element to making a marriage work :-)

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Abimom July 9, 2010 at 1:26 am

Before I got pregnant, marriage was far from my mind. Every now and then I’d meet a guy and consider the idea and a few weeks later find some reason why that would just be settling and move on my merry way. When I was pregnant, I wanted desperately to BE married, because even the male friends that stuck around to support me never really did. After I had Abigail I was terrified of men, and still mostly am. At the moment, marriage is once again a far cry in the future if ever. So many people keep talking about having the same expectations for their partner as themselves, and that’s what I’m trying to work on: what do I expect from myself? That’s a question I ask more and more. I’m taking baby steps, trying to form good habits daily. Trying just to do more than the minimum. And I’m cutting out the people in my life that cause stress and drama. I can’t afford that anymore.

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Melissa July 9, 2010 at 1:42 am

Even as a little girl, I didnt think I would ever get married. Maybe this was because my mom was a single mother and never married. I have always thought of marriage as a piece of paper that gives you permission to love someone. And as for men, I dont have expectations of them. I have wishes and desires but have learned time and time again that expectations lead to disappointments… Wow, I sound really bitter about this, maybe its time to look at things from a different perspective and let go of my preconceived thoughts about the marriage and men. Maybe then I wont be a single mama anymore. Off to add these books to my reading list from the library.

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30somethingmama July 9, 2010 at 3:08 am

Haven’t read the book, but from what I’ve heard – it opens up to a vast opportunity for women to widen their horizons of the world and relationships.

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Aspiring Napper July 9, 2010 at 4:36 am

I married because:
1. As the product of illegitimacy, it was important for me to feel ‘legitimized’ by marriage. I wanted to feel ‘official’ and ‘sanctioned’.
2. I wanted to feel a part of something larger than myself–something traditional and ‘respectable’, ie, a wife.

I fully admit my motivations. Were it not for the those reasons, I might have not insisted upon marriage with my soul mate because honestly, I do not think that marriage (as we know it) and monogamy are entirely feasible for everyone! lol.

Do I love my husband? Yes. Do I think that women usually have to shrink a part of their psyches in order to fit into a wife’s role– no matter how they try to tweak it? Yes. Is it worth it?

That’s up to the individual.

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Momma Sunshine July 9, 2010 at 5:42 am

I think one of the biggest things required in a healthy marriage is the mutual commitment to making it work.

Am I prepared to get married again? I dunno. It’s a scary prospect.

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Julie July 9, 2010 at 7:34 am

I’ve read Eat Pray Love twice and cannot wait for the movie. I think that after being married once i now would not marry someone who had not been married before. I want someone who knows how hard it is to make it work. Someone who knows that sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and give in and let the other person be right. Love your blogs and your necklace…mine’s starting to wear out I’ve worn it so much!

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Lori July 9, 2010 at 9:26 am

I’m in between, not married but not single. I’ve been with my fiance, my life partner, for 11 years. We have a 6 year old and are buying a house. When I don’t feel that spark anymore I’m reminded of vows I haven’t even taken. Thick & thin, rich or poor. Staying together through all of those times when I felt despair, lonliness, fear for the future is what it’s about. It’s knowing that know matter what you can count on this one person. That if you let them down they’ll let you make it up. That if you’re sick they won’t abandon you. That’s what marriage means to me. Hard work. Patience. So much compromise. The results are limitless, companionship, laughter, love, hugs, learning from your loved one, great memories of the past and wonderful dreams for the future. Knowing that through your hard work combined you can start a family, traditions, etc. It’s simple, but the quotes on all the country-ish stuff- All because two people fell in love. It should say all because two people kept their vows.

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Shel July 9, 2010 at 10:47 am

I have never been married. I am currently in the mindset that if I do, great and if I don’t that’s fine too. I don’t currently really have many expectations for marriage. I guess I expect there to be support, respect, and understanding along with disagreements and trials along the way.

I have extremely high expectations of myself and can be hard on myself at times. I am not sure if I hold anyone else to that level.

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Lisa H. July 9, 2010 at 11:34 am

I was married for 12 years and had 3 kids under 5 when my husband walked out on us while we were at soccer practice. It has taken me 5 years to even think about letting someone get close enough to be able to love (and hurt) me and it still scares me, but I am taking it one day at a time with the guy in my life. I have asked myself it I would marry again and still don’t have an answer and I remind myself I don’t have to come up with one today right now.

As for expectations I expect to be be a priority in someones life as much as they are a priority in mine. Honesty, communication and respect. Those are the main ones.

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mommybella July 9, 2010 at 12:00 pm

It would take a lot to consider marriage again. As for expectations… well I expect that I get what I give. I am very giving in relationships, I give my whole self to a person I care about. I hardly get that in return (especially my crappy friendships). All I can ask for is a fair exchange!

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Darcy July 9, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Hi! I would get married again, but I’m definitely in no hurry. I think it is utterly important for the man to accept me as I am, and also to accept and love my children. I want a companion that likes doing the things I like to do, but also someone that is comfortable in his own skin and has his own things he likes to do without me. I want to be able to continue to do things that I enjoy as well on my own or with my girlfriends or my kids. I never took time for myself before, and that is so important. I lost myself in my marriage, whereas my spouse continued to do all the things he did before. I tried so hard to be the perfect wife, to make it work, and it didn’t. He just did not care enough for me to make it work.
I think I have found that guy, but I’m treading very carefully to ensure I am making the right decisions to marry for the right reasons, and not rush into any regret later.

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Rebecca Mitchell July 9, 2010 at 12:56 pm

I have to admit, I hated ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ because I was so jealous of what she got to do to find herself. I have to find myself among laundry, bills and Transformers. Fortunately, I didn’t marry my son’s father, but I was damaged enough from the relationship that marriage sounded very undesirable.

I guess maybe I’m waiting for someone who makes me WANT to marry him. Not just looking for someone to marry just to get married. Who knows!?

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Krista July 9, 2010 at 1:08 pm

I’m on the other side of an abusive marriage and an ugly divorce. I am also re-married to a wonderful man who is NOTHING like my ex. I made sure of that. The only thing that is the same is that they don’t like cooked carrots. That is enough.

My expectations of marrage were basically the same then as they are now. I wanted respect, commitment, support, kindness and a whole person to be in a relationship with. The issue was that my ex talked a good talk at first and then flat out refused to deliver. There was zero respect, his definition of commitment was vastly different than mine, I had support until about three months after the wedding, he did not have a kind heart once he let his thin veneer down and he was broken inside in so many ways. I was desparate and nieve and broken myself so I didn’t see what so many others saw so plainly.

This time, I made darn sure that my current husband was all the things he said he was. And he was up against a huge list. A few weeks back you wrote about burning your list. I, on the other hand, found that my list was the perfect litmus test for what I needed in a man for myself and more importanly my son. There were so many deal breakers that I just couldn’t waiver on because of my own trust issues and wounds from my first experience with marriage. I was working very hard to heal them and I needed someone who could let me be who I was and not make me feel like a schmuck for having feelings.

I made a list of 101 things that I needed to have from my next relationship and I’m happy to say that my man meets every single criteria and then some. More grounded in reality? Absolutely. It wasn’t just me who was in the picture. I needed someone who had awesome family values and wanted firm roots to build upon. I was very interested in his relationship with his family – especially his mother. How did he treat his friends? What were they like? Would I get along with them? Would he respect me as an individual? Would he be there for me when I was at my worst? Would he support me while I was going through PTSD therapy? Did he eat sushi? (Yes – that was a deal breaker! lol!)

Holding men to the same expectations as myself? Yes and no. Me are different creatures than women are. They have different needs and wants. I know that I needed to be able to let him be who he was and not try to mold and change him (minus a few gentle fashion suggestions, but good Lord, that shirt was awful!) and let him be who he was or the relationship wouldn’t work. Did I expect certain basic relationship fundamentals from him? Yes. And I give those willingly in return. But with the basic framework in place, the rest could be fluid. We have been together for nearly three years and have never had an argument. Disagreements – yes. But no need to yell, scream or get all worked up.

Here is a link to my list: http://buildingthemuse.blogspot.com/2010/03/my-tall-order.html

I think I needed to be more specific simply due to the fact that I was abused for the better part of 10 years and I didn’t want to take a chance on coming anywhere NEAR anything resembling abuse again. It nearly killed me and there was no room for negotiation. Especially not with my son involved.

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Lisa Halip July 9, 2010 at 1:38 pm

I always dreamed of a fairytale romance and marriage when I was a little girl, so you can imagine my shock and disbelief when things turned out the opposite way with physical/emotional abuse, etc. I still feel very shattered from my marriage and don’t think I can ever enter into another marriage ever again. However, my wounds are still fresh and over time maybe my views will change. Only time will tell.

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Cierra the naive 20 yr old July 9, 2010 at 2:06 pm

I expect hard work. Period. Everything worth having in life takes a lot of work but in the end it worth it.

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Cierra the naive 20 yr old July 9, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Well at least I hope so…

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Kym July 9, 2010 at 5:16 pm

I’m thinking of marrying for the second time and while I try to have realistic expectations, I do still want romance, butterflies, the whole enchilada! But I do think, being older and (hopefully) wiser, that I’ll do fine . . . just fine!

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Amy July 9, 2010 at 6:33 pm

I am a divorced, single woman with no children. After the divorce, I tried to have a child on my own, but experienced many fertility and pregnancy issues. I have since become pretty accepting of my life….and that was a hard process. I have created a network of friends and family who fill most of my needs. This is sad, but one of the things I am most looking for in a partner is what I like to call “sparkle”. Of course, I want the humor, love, compassion, honor, communication and friendship. Looks aren’t that important to me, but that sparkle…someone who loves life, looks for fun in everything and just has that something extra…that is hard. I may be focusing on that to give myself an “out”, but I am fine with that (for now). Sugarland’s “Settlin’” is my mantra now! :)

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arscuore July 9, 2010 at 7:55 pm

I, too, loved Gilbert’s books, especially Committed, because I swore off marriage after the last round, too. Expectations for marriage? Not sure. Regardless of the legal status of a relationship, I think you need independence, respect, complete trust, and honesty, all without aggression. I love that The Man will completely deflate any type-A huff I’m making about something not going my way with a simple, “Why?”

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Barb July 9, 2010 at 9:28 pm

I read that book 3 years ago when the final piece of shit hit the fan of my marriage and it was awesome! Not to be dramatic but it really gave me an extra jolt of “I can do this”. Should there be a future husband, he would be easy going, love to be around me but have his own life as well, love my kids for who they are and enjoy simple things like a trip to Costco together.

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Megan July 10, 2010 at 12:12 am

That is precisely where I am struggling in my marriage. Expectations are a difficult subject to grasp, discuss, and come to terms with. We married in the whirlwind of life and now that it’s settled down we are struggling with identification and expectations. I’m going to download that podcast right now. Thanks for the heads up :)

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Megan July 10, 2010 at 12:14 am

That is precisely where I am struggling in my marriage. Expectations are a difficult thing to grasp, understand, and come to terms with. I’ll be downloading that podcast right now. Thanks for the heads up! :)

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Kat July 10, 2010 at 2:11 am

I found the a man that I was going to marry, and for the first time in my life I could be me and he never made me feel ashamed. We could talk about anything and just be together. He was a great father and loved my boys like they were his. He died 2 years ago and I haven’t been able to even think about looking for love. I don’t think marriage is in the cards for me, so I have no expectations.

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Marisol July 10, 2010 at 2:17 am

I have read the book and can’t wait to go see the movie. I think I only expect from a partner what I can put in. but marriage is the last thing on my mind… it’s gonna be a while if not never and I am just fine with that.

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strongmama July 10, 2010 at 10:46 am

i expected love, trust, honesty, friendship, and respect. i thought i had all those things when i got married but then i found out my husband was cheating on me in the last few months of my pregnancy. the idea of marrying again doesn’t sound very appealing because how can i be sure that the other person will hold up their end of the deal. i was even willing to forgive my husband for his betrayal if he would end all communication with the other girl and stop lying to me, but he just couldn’t/wouldn’t do it. at the very least i would expect the person to regard our marriage as a sacred and special commitment worth protecting and fighting for in times of stress. my little boy’s father treated me with such total disrespect and i do not want my son to grow up thinking that this is the way a husband should treat his wife..that this is what a relationship is supposed to be like. if i ever do marry again it will be with someone who respects me and my son and puts us as a top priority in his life.

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Alex July 11, 2010 at 12:43 am

My married sister told me about the book and said that the character went to find herself after her divorce and that I should do the same and not date anyone for awhile. I thought the same thing as you, that while it’s nice this character could go off and find herself by traveling the world, I have two little ones so finding myself will have to stay within the continental United States. Thinking more into though, I don’t feel like there is any soul searching that needs to be done for me to know who I am. I am a strong single mother who is starting a new and exciting life that seems to have endless possibilities. While I have been dating somewhat, the thought of marriage is the last thing on my mind, but I do know what I want in the next serious relationship. I want the love and respect my ex never really gave me. I want the passionate romance you seem to only read in books or see in movies, but I do think it exists. Most of all, as I know my children do have a father and so I’m not looking for a father for them, but I want the next serious person in my life to have the father quality. As I have found that dating men my age and having children is a very difficult thing to do, as I am 26 and most guys my age are still children themselves, I will not give up hope. I am perfectly ok without someone in my life and I will wait for Mr. Right. And while I wait I can still enjoy dating with all the Mr. Right Nows!!!

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charity July 12, 2010 at 12:42 am

From marriage: to be something that naturally happens, and when it does, for it to be with a person as devoted to promises as I am and every bit as aware of the reality of what marriage is. As a child of married parents, I have seen them battle, clash, have shaky times… but I have also seen two people so committed to their vows and what they mean that the subject of divorce could never be a reality… simply because they gave their word.

This is why I would never marry under the age of 25, before I have established my own small business, or embarked on such a critical journey hoping “everything ends well”. Nope, until I know with all my heart and mind that I’m making the right choice i’d rather make no choice at all.

Also, if you liked Eat, Pray, Love try Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven by susanne gilman (I think that’s her name). It’s a thousand times more interesting and funny. She also wrote a memoir called Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress, which chronicles her childhood as a flower child, a jewish feminist teen made to attend several “alt. Religion classes” to broaden her horizons, and ends with her fighting the white wedding gown battle, with years of feminist propaganda playing in her ear as she is forced to play Princess Bridal Dress Up and finds herself loving it.

Seriously, undress me is much better than EPL.

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Mandy July 12, 2010 at 12:36 pm

I’ve never been married, and I wonder if it will ever happen. I’ve emersed myself so far into being a sole parent that i recently realized it had been over a year since I’d gone out on even a casual date… Perhaps in time I will meet someone, or get the urge to have that as part of my life, but for now I’m content taking the time to know myself again, and to be there with my daughter for every new discovery.
Like many other commenters I was badly hurt by the father of my daughter, and it’s made the walls I put up higher and harder…

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Alyson July 12, 2010 at 4:27 pm

As much as I LOVED, “Eat, Pray, Love” it annoyed me that I wasn’t able to go off and find myself after my separation (filing for divorce hopefully any day). You can’t spend a year away when you have a two year old at home. Anyways, it has been a journey to find myself again…a journey I wouldn’t change!!

When thinking about the future and marriage I have a hard time. I don’t know if MARRIAGE is something I would do again. But I am not one to rule anything out. My expectations surely have changed. I don’t have it all figured out yet but right now I know that I would want a man who understands that family is important but so is individuality. I want/need adult time, not everything/day is about kids. There should be time in the day that would be just about us and our relationship. For all the things that went wrong in my marriage, this was one thing that we let slip away….our relationship and individuality.

I don’t have a list of expectations for a relationship…I mean seriously do you think there is anyone out there that can match up to a list?!

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Winecountrymom July 14, 2010 at 10:29 am

I read Eat Pray Love at a time when I was refinding myself after my divorce. The book rocked my world. Her journey through discovering joy, feeding and growing her soul, and then finally finding love was inspirational in the place I was at. Every person that finds themselves lost at a crossroads should allow themselves to be inspired by this book.

Committed, however, was kind of a snooze. But maybe it had to do with where I was when I read it. She did make some great points, and her wit shown through in parts. But it wasn’t the same Liz I had traveled across the world with. Still, you should read these books – if only to see where you were and where you were going.

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Dee July 15, 2010 at 8:42 am

I just finished reading Eat, Pray, Love! I also just stumbled apon your blog! What a great coincidence!

I was married for 18 years before my husband left with his much younger co-worker. We have two teenage daughters. I took me about 18 months to “get over it” as my youngest would say.

I have met after that a great guy who seems to love every little simple thing in me. I feel very lucky! Starting all over at 42 is not that easy!

I always said I would never get married again. But the thought of a man being so in love with me, and wanting to make a statement\commitement\vow to share his life with only me is very flattering. Does it mean I need a piece of paper to confirmed this? I think not. But what would I need?

I am going out to get the next book…committed…which I didn’t know about!

Thanks!

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Eric Osborne July 15, 2010 at 12:52 pm

I have always said that I am never getting married. I am a 34 year old, single father who has never taken the plunge. Now that my daughter is now 6 years old, I find myself thinking about it a lot. It is so hard though. So many of my friends who I thought was so better suited for marriage are getting divorced. It’s almost like they just don’t last. Does anything last forever? I am so afraid of divorce. They get so ugly and two people who once adored each other try to ruin each others life. I want some more kide though and I want to do it right this time. I think it is like a lot of you ladies said already, it is about finding the right person and you will know when you do. I am at the point where if it happens it happens.

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Christina July 16, 2010 at 8:55 am

Well what we need form the relationship is love……..this is one thing which heals everything, love can be shown by doing different things like caring, helping talking,sex, and yes by being angry also….that is what is needed in relationship love…..love is the thing which makes the relationship so strong….not between a boy or girl between mother and her children between friends between brothers and sisters….love is what we want in relationship….

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Linda Sullivan August 6, 2010 at 6:55 pm

I actually found that book a great read :D

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