Love With No Expectations

It’s a treat in our house when I cook dinner. You see my better half not only is an amazing chef in her own right, but she has a culinary degree to back it up too plus the experience of working in a kitchen at a restaurant. I feel a little intimidated when it comes to coming up with some dishes to impress her and our family of my cooking skills. One thing I am learning, and have learned, is that just because she happens to be the cook doesn’t mean that it falls on her alone to do all the cooking. She comes home tired after a hard day at work the same as I do. And if all I do is sit back, prop up my feet, and expect her to cook dinner, rub my feet, and attend to my needs...good luck! She’d probably tell me to “fuck off” and then point me to the direction of the stove, the fridge, the spices, and the pots hinting that it’s not her “role” to get dinner together.

Thankfully, it’s not like that a lot in our home, but I have to tell you a line that I read in a well-written piece by Aaron Tang titled Guys, Stop Thinking She Owes You Anything hit home to me. This attitude is not just something that I believed in for years, it was something ingrained in me for a long time. Its manifestations showed its greatest impact when it comes to sex and my relationships. I felt like because I brought out the flowers, the dancing, the moonlight walks, etc. it entitled me with a “Go Fuck Him” pass where I can lay back and earn my just deserts. I realized over time it wasn’t her job to fulfill my needs nor her obligation. Neither of us owed the other anything. What we bring into a relationship should be out of appreciation and genuine love for each other not just check a box to make sure a chore is done.

I can blame this style of thinking on a lot of things: Lack of comprehensive sex ed in schools, a lack of real discussions on gender roles and relationship expectations of each sex involved among the many reasons. But the truth is we fail to be curious enough to take a good hard look at why we do the things we do-- with or without a relationship with other human beings. I truly failed in this department to even think maybe just doing something nice to someone with no expectation is the highest form of love one can give to another.

My favorite lovemaking scenes didn’t involve an actual standard sex scene.

The movie “Lost In Translation'' starred Bill Murray and Scarlet Johansson as lonely characters having a chance meeting in Tokyo where they both get lost in the nightlife and find themselves laying on the bed. Rather than expect the clothes being ripped off in some passionate erotic scene they just lay there and appreciate the intimacy shared by just laying there with no expectations from the other to “do” anything. My life of erotic movies and moments involving tons of body parts of all sizes being gyrated into various positions in hopes of capturing orgasmic bliss. This one didn’t. This one held no expectations, no boob shot, no exposed flesh, just two people who just appreciated the other’s gesture of love and companionship to ease the loneliness each faced in their lives. To me, this is the greatest love scene I have ever witnessed.

This age of the “dick pic” where men pester women online hoping to snag that one woman who will take their intimate shot of their member and demand “more” from them. If not the dick pic, then it is the expectation by men to cross every box, dot every “I” and look the part in hopes of winning the ever-elusive “nightcap” from said lady (or men). When none of this happens men pester, berate, and even become violent to the object of their affections for not getting the response that they think they deserve.

It is high time men everywhere need to ask ourselves “do we think women owe something to men just because we do everything we think would win their affection?” My point is men (and yes, women in some cases) have a hard set checklist of demands to be fulfilled to find happiness and meet whatever criteria we think is owed to us. Truth is, we don’t owe anything of each other.

Which brings us back to dinner making and the results to whoever makes it first. You see, there are some days where she cooks it; there are some days where I will cook it; and, yes, there are days where we order out or go out to eat. Whoever puts on the apron and takes the initiative to make the meal does it out of love, out of consideration of the other, and out of the desire to bring joy to our partners/lovers... just because.

That’s it.

We do it “just because”.

No price tag. No need to hold the other accountable as a reason why they need to put out in the bedroom. Whoever cooks do so because a) we’re hungry and b) we want to make sure the other is fed too! From there it could be a momentous night together or one where we’re dancing in the sheets enjoying some quality lovemaking.

The other part of letting go of the hard checklist is realizing that life happens and maybe just being considerate of the other person’s life and their needs is something to take into consideration. Even if we’re hard up for sex and want a romp in the hay maybe something the other person doesn’t want at the moment (for a host of reasons).

It could be they want to take things slow with the relationship. It could be they don’t want a first or second meeting to be a “booty call” or just some one-night-stand. This may mean both men and women need to make the conscious effort to just let the moment be the moment. And if sex is an important part of the equation for one or the other person, then talk about that aspect either in the lead up to the date or during the date. Broch the subject over dinner to see where the other person is at (if you feel comfortable enough to do so). If not, then put the sex talk on the table and just enjoy a night out with a new friend and allow the bond to form without any expectations or demands.

If hands are held, enjoy it.

If bodies get close, embrace it.

If kisses are exchanged, savor it.

But don’t expect the other person to cave in “just because we got to this level” to whatever unwritten and unspoken desires are in one person’s mind. Remember the old song “As Time Goes By”-- “You must remember this/ A kiss is still a kiss/ A sigh is just a sigh…”-- where kisses and sighs are just that...just kisses and just sighs. Not groping. Not fondling. Savoring those gestures and leaving it for what it is can be as enjoyable as finding out dessert is on the menu.

Meeting a new person or having a long term relationship doesn’t mean we need to have a checklist expecting intercourse every night. I don’t think we are owed erotic fireworks each and every time we do something extra chore or taking out the trash or cleaning the gutters. Fireworks need to be savored because one, or the other, or even the both of you agree “tonight is a special night!” When both people agree to this moment the fireworks can be a memorable moment.

It is freeing to create a dish for my better half because I love her. I know she had a hard day, and I want to do my part to make her life a bit easier. What happens beyond that is up to her; she should get the chance to decide where to take it from there. It could mean a hug, some shows on the tube, and an early bedtime; it could mean she is happy for the gesture and decides for herself she wants to show you her appreciation her way.

Which is why my fried chicken tenders and mixed veggies from a frozen bag may not be as good as her squash medley with couscous and bacon bits, but the expression of genuine love and desire to show her how much I appreciate her in my life is as good as anything beyond the dinner table. Because we’re not owed anything and everything...even dessert.

Writing about sexuality and relationships and how shame and guilt impacts how we view sexuality as a people. Lives in Ohio. Open to new and wondrous things!

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