Great Sexpectations: New Year’s Eve

Dec 27, 2009 • Lessons, Opinion

My ex-husband proposed to me on New Year’s Eve at my favorite restaurant in Lima, over to-die-for anticuchos de foie gras (later, when we found ourselves seated beside the chef, Gaston Acurio, on a flight out of the city, I’d joke that if my marriage fell apart, I’d blame it entirely on the menu. It’s funny now, you can laugh).

We’d talked about marriage before he proposed, what we expected, what we wanted, children (that we didn’t want any)–we’d even discussed the terms of our divorce, should it ever happen (because we’re cynical assholes like that, but let me tell you, when it came down to it, we had a relatively painless divorce because we were pretty clear on everything. Just saying).

Anyway, my point in bringing this up is that I wasn’t expecting it. So when the countdown started and everyone rose and he got down on one knee, it was all sorts of magical.

And if he hadn’t gotten down on one knee (he told me he’d been debating having the pilot of the plane propose during that flight I mentioned previously), I wouldn’t have been disappointed.

Expectations are silent killers. They corrode love and passion from the inside. Now, I’m not saying you should expect nothing. If you wish to be married and meet someone with whom you see that happening and you talk about it and the person is in agreement that they wish to one day marry, then you should be free to imagine one day that person will be you and free to express this desire.

But don’t put a date to it. And don’t imagine that somehow, telepathically, your significant other is going to know when you think it should happen.

Here’s an infographic for you, courtesy of Tracy Cox’s excellent column at News of the World:

Talk about what you want and what you expect honestly. Be clear, without pressuring the other person. Ask what your partner wants and expects, too. Listen.

Here’s the cynic again: if proposals that come from the heart have a low chance of survival as it is–do you really think proposals that are born in a pressure cooker are going to fare better?

Relax, sip some bubbly, and give each other a movie-screen kiss to usher in the new year. Magical memories can be made out of any moment–they don’t require a ring.

Infographic from News of the World.