top of page

Dating Expectations Vs Reality

Despite what your common sense may tell you, research shows that people are surprisingly inept at predicting how a first date should go. We know that we aren’t going to fall in love and be swept off our feet from the get go, but for some reason, all that rational thinking goes out the window due to expectations. Our expectations give us false high hopes.

Social media hasn’t help us in this matter either. We see so many people post about being romanced, wined and dined, taken to nice places and living happily ever after that our own expectations resemble something similar, but the reality is not quite this. So we thought we would help you manage your dating expections.


Expectations are imbedded in our belief systems of how something is supposed to happen. Our expectations can confuse us into pre-empting how a first date should be for example when in reality things do not often workout how we expect them to.

In a way, expectations can be good: they can give us a sense of motivation and direction, or help us meet certain standards. However, when expectations influence our thoughts too much, it can greatly affect our personal wellbeing and subsequent relationships. So how can we manage our first date expectations instead of letting them ruin what could be a potential relationship?

Managing Your Personal Expectations

  • Set Realistic Expections - We all know what we want—but if it is not realistic, it can create internal conflict. Be mindful of your personal expections of life.

  • Adapt to Changing Expectations - When things go wrong, or situations change, try your best not to act emotionally. It’s easy to feel like a date was not what you expected, rather than reconsidering your expectations. Instead, pause and consider your options, reframing that initial expectation in the context of your new situation.

  • Don’t Judge Yourself Harshly - When our lives are ruled by personal expectations, it can make every date a struggle. We criticize ourselves harshly for failure and feel disappointment when we ourselves don’t live up to our dreams this is the notion of "I knew he/she was not right from the get go". Instead, think of yourself as an explorer on each date, rather than someone with a path dictated by expectations. Whether you succeed or fail, your overall expectation should simply be to learn as you go.

Managing Others’ Expectations

  • Communicate About Your Expectations - No one knows how to make you happy if they don’t know what makes you happy. If you don’t communicate about your expectations, as well as your likes and dislikes, you’re essentially preventing others from managing their own expectations of you. So, learn to over-communicate: Where are we going? How are we getting there? Are we paying 50/50? Do you like dancing?

  • Prepare for Bad Date Scenario - Just as you have to adapt to changing situations, you’ll run headlong into dates that are just going bad. Always have a get out card! That is a call from a friend to help create an imagined emergency, this allows you to leave without hurting anyones feelings.

  • Predict Your Date’s’ Expectations - Everyone comes to a first dates with biases and preconceptions, which are at the root of all expectations. Knowing where others stand in terms of their own personal issues and beliefs can help you understand where their expectations come from.


Reality is something that is neither derivative nor dependent but exists as being actual or true. We all know that the reality of a first date is awkward for both of parties. He's nervous, you're nervous. You may not know what to disscuss and the spark you expected may just not be there! He's not funny. She's not attractive. The location is not to your standard. What ever your reality is, it is reality so accept it.

You'll never be able to create the right reality if you aren't willing to let the wrong expected reality go

Even if a date is terrible, the first step in improving it is acknowledging it for what it is and acknowledging what your expectations of it were. Don't get caught up on a date you think you are supposed to have, but work on creating the reality you are meant to be in, in that moment and with that person you are with. Your biases can blind you to almost any reality. Which can hinder you from getting to know a good person. Learn to understand your baises in these kind of situations and then let them go.

Managing expectations in life generally is definitely a learned habit—and it will undoubtedly take time to change your mindset—but having the ability to understand and adapt these expectations can help you have healthy realistic relationships. Take time to get to know someone and be open minded, you never know where it could lead.

We've all been on our fair share of first dates that don't live up to our expectations. But when you do find the one you want to keep dating, you'll know, because reality will meet your expectations. You can take our word on that!

24 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page