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dating without expectations

How Do You Date Without Expectations? 3 Key Steps

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How to date without expectations.

To date without expectations, you must learn to be comfortable and at peace with yourself (self-validated), to embrace gratitude in the present for good things you experience during your dating life (without projecting future pressures or desires onto those experiences), and to be at peace with the fact that humans will (and should) always do what is in their own best self-interest.

This post is for men and women, and I’m writing it in response to an email question I received from a reader. 

Simply put, how can you keep expectations from throwing a wrench into your dating life?

President Theodore Roosevelt once said that comparison is the thief of joy. 

Well, I think it’s true that expectation is also a thief of joy, because what is expectation if not a comparison of what the future is likely to look like vs. what you WANT it to look like?

When we get our hopes up about a new dating partner, it’s easy to start expecting certain things.

  • We expect them to want to continue to spend time with us. 
  • We expect them to have the same feelings toward us that we’re developing for them.
  • We expect them to want to continue forward at the same pace that we want to continue forward with…
  • And we want them to love us in the same way that we are loving them at the current moment.

Unfortunately, we also know that this doesn’t always work out. 

We also know that sometimes expectations even make things worse, because they can cause us to look forward into the future and hope for something good; which can also cause us to apply undo pressure on the other person in the moment, thus ruining the ‘good thing’ that we could be enjoying if we weren’t so busy worrying about the future. 

Of course, expectation doesn’t usually end up being a problem if things work out similarly to how we envision them. 

But if the situation (or the person we’re dating) doesn’t end up meeting our expectations, we can end up feeling quite disillusioned and disappointed. 

This can even lead to feelings like sadness, heartbreak, hopelessness, etc.

So, here’s the real question:

How do you keep expectations from creeping into your dating life and ruining the good things you’re enjoying in the immediate here and now? 

And perhaps more importantly:

How do you know when your expectations are too high?

I mean, should you always date with zero expectations; or is that, in itself, a pessimistic way to think about it?

These are excellent questions. 

And in this post, I’m going to attempt to answer them by telling you how I manage expectations in my own dating life. 

Hopefully, this will give you some insight into how to manage expectations like a true dating pro.

Not that I’m necessarily a dating pro, mind you. I’m just a regular guy.

But I do happen to know a lot about human mating behavior (it is my business to know these things, after all).

I also just happen to have a lot of experience in this department. 


Because I was once a truly hopeless romantic. 

There was once a time in my life where I literally couldn’t spend a single moment with a lovely woman without dreaming about our entire life together. 

And of course, you can probably imagine how often I’d end up disappointed…

Even to the point where I would hurt my own feelings with these expectations. 

But I figured out how to move past them. 

And I believe that you can succeed at this as well. 

And it all starts with one basic rule. 

Let’s get into it. 

Note: If you’re interested in the content matter of this post, then you’ll definitely be interested in our master guide to dating. Make sure to check that out to get a complete rundown of the entire dating process, from beginning to end.

3 Steps For How To Enjoy Dating Without Expectations

Step #1: Understand That People Are Always Going To Act In Their Own Best Self Interest 

joshua sigafus quote expectations

When we start dating someone, and we start to get infatuated with them, there’s often this temptation to give a lot of ourselves away to them. 

It feels good to do this because we are infatuated

We have crazy awesome love chemicals coursing through our bodies. 

And we tend to want to follow this instinctive surge of happiness by investing everything we have (energy, hopes, dreams, feelings, money, time, etc.) into this new person we’re attracted to, simply because it feels good and because we have such strong and intense romantic feelings toward them. 

This is a very natural thing, and it happens to almost all of us at some point. 

But here’s the problem. 

Oftentimes, we also start to place expectations on the other person while this is happening. 

We subconsciously expect them to feel the same way about us that we feel about them. 

Don’t get me wrong. 

It feels so good when the person you like likes you back to the same level, and with the same intensity, that you feel.

They say that love is a drug, and they’re right. 

It feels euphoric. 

But it’s also true that it doesn’t always happen that way

It’s also true that just because it doesn’t happen that way doesn’t mean that there’s not a lot of good to be found in the situation, either.

So here’s a rule that I always remind myself of when I’m getting interested in a new person. 

It’s only fair to trust another person to pursue what’s in their own best self-interest first. 

And by the same token, it’s only fair for me to pursue what’s in my own best self-interest first as well. 

See, humans must prioritize themselves to survive.

I actually go into a great deal of detail on this topic in this post: How To Be Selfless And Selfish – The Balanced Alpha Male Approach

Here’s the truth, ladies and gentlemen.

If you fall head over heels for someone, it must mean that there’s some instinct inside of you telling you that life with them would be better than life lived alone

This instinct may be true or false. 

But it feels very real. 

And what it actually means is that you feel like this person is so high in mate value that you subconsciously see your odds of surviving and reproducing successfully as much better with them in your life. 

I go into pretty deep detail about this concept in this post: We’re All Hunter-Gatherers In The Sexual Arena. 

I also discuss the concept of attraction and how we measure attraction markers in this post: Understanding High And Low Value Attraction Markers.

See, strong feelings of attraction are often enough, at surface level, to cause us to make a decision about whether or not someone is high enough in mate-value that we should start investing in them (i.e. you get infatuated with them and start to day-dream about getting married and loving each other forever)

But it’s also important to understand that the other person may not feel that way. 

And if their instincts aren’t telling them to jump all-in with you, you can very easily get your feelings hurt by expecting them to do so

So in these types of situations, I like to try to self-regulate and adjust my expectations. 

I just remind myself:

You can only trust people to do what’s in their own best self-interest. 

This is also where leveling up to become a high-value man or woman comes into play. 

The more you work on yourself, and the higher your dating marketplace value becomes, the more likely people will be to start thinking of you as an option that they can’t live without

Which will, in turn, cause them to be that much more likely to become infatuated with you and want to invest in you.

Step #2: Learn To Be Grateful And Content In The Moment 

Joshua sigafus quote about gratitude

Another thing that I learned a long time ago was that my interactions with dating partners are far happier when I practice gratitude and contentment in the moments that I’m spending with them.

If I’m cuddling up with a beautiful woman in my bedroom on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I have basically two options for how I can choose to think about her in that current moment. 

Option number one: I can start putting expectations on her about what I want in the future.

But see, this skips right over gratitude and jumps right to the part of the equation where we start placing future demands on the person. 

I’m not saying that this is fundamentally the wrong thing to do. But I am saying that the phrase ‘expectation is the thief of joy’ is very relevant to this situation. 

Because when I start to expect something from this woman in the future, instead of just enjoying her company right now, I actually rob myself of a lot of the joy that I could be experiencing at that moment. 

Option number two: So instead, I choose to practice gratitude and contentment with where I am at that moment. 

I say to myself:

This feels so amazing. This woman is so beautiful. We’re cuddling together. I’m intensely attracted to her. This is a truly wonderful, beautiful moment. I don’t want to waste it by expecting other things in the future. I don’t want to distract myself from all of the beautiful things happening in this moment by getting anxious about what may or may not happen in the future. I don’t want to be so greedy that I expect more out of her than what she’s giving to me right now. So I’m just going to be grateful and content with what I have in front of me right now, and be very happy about it. 

When we choose to be more grateful in the moment, and we forget about hoping for things for the future, we open ourselves up to experience a much greater and more beautiful dating experience than we could ever hope to have if we were to keep placing expectations on people.

Step #3: Learn To Be Comfortable By Yourself 

comfortable alone quote joshua sigafus

Finally, at the end of the day, pursuing the alpha mentality is all about creating an intentional purpose-filled life for ourselves and taking full responsibility for that experience. 

We must choose to deploy our energy to proactively create the destiny we desire.

What we don’t want to do is sink into a victim mentality and just react to the chaos of life

Living with a victim mentality will always leave us a step behind the curve when it comes to dating and setting expectations. 

It’s also vitally important that we remember to embrace the alpha mentality in the sense that we must cultivate a life that’s incredible all on our own, even if there isn’t going to be anyone else in it. 

We must be so focused on creating an amazing life for ourselves and our inner circle that we can learn to let go of needing anyone else to make it awesome. 

I often say that your life should be like an incredible, decadent chocolate cake. 

All you need is yourself to make your life awesome, fulfilling, and satisfying. 

Dating, then, is like a delicious red cherry placed on top of this already awesome chocolate cake. 

You don’t necessarily need the cherry to have an incredible life. 

Eating the cake by itself is perfectly sufficient. 

However, placing that amazing cherry right on top can make your cake even better

See, when you learn not to be dependent on your dating life (or on the outcomes of your dating life) to have a happy, satisfied, and fulfilled life, you actually unlock a powerful mental shift that must happen in order for you to increase your attraction. 

You learn to let go of the fear of being alone. 

And ironically, this makes you that much more attractive, and makes people that much more likely to want to invest in you

Check out my post titled How To Get Someone To Love You – In 20 Magnetic Steps to learn more about this concept. 

How To Love Without Expectations

To love without expectations requires that you be so self-validated that you meet your own needs in life. This requires a truly advanced level of self-love, life acceptance, and overall life understanding.

Personally, I found my path to ‘enlightenment’ in this fashion by pursuing the alpha mentality and striving to level up my mind, body, and spirit to become the very best version of myself possible. Then, the confidence, power, and abundance I found for myself while on this journey led me to the destination of being able to love and appreciate others without expecting anything from them in return – aside from their natural instincts to always do what is in their own best self-interest.

When you seek to increase your own value in life, and to do your best to make life better for your tribe and family, you’ll actually be a lot more likely to create a ‘home’ in your life that others will seek out and appreciate. This speaks to the servant-leader dynamic, and to the paradox that you need to become the leader who meets the needs of others if you wish for others to organically and authentically love you for who you are.

How To Live Life Without Expectations

To live life without expectations means to be so self-sufficient and self-responsible that you truly validate yourself, meet your own needs, and secure the things you need under your own power to be fulfilled, healthy, and satisfied within your own life.

This is a process of nourishing and nurturing yourself by going out into the world and intentionally gathering and creating everything you need to flourish within your own life.

See, as alpha-mentality men and women, we must learn to embrace radical self-responsibility in life. We must learn to go after the things that we desire, learn how to achieve them, and embrace an abundance mentality as we seek to achieve the goals that we wish to achieve for ourselves.

We did not evolve to be solitary. But ironically – when we learn to be as healthy as possible, and as happy as possible, on our own – this is when we unlock the most powerful keys to truly attracting other high-value people to us.

Books To Help You Master Your Dating Life, Starting Today

By David M. Buss

If you truly want to understand the foundational principles of human mating behavior, this book is an alpha mentality MUST READ. 

By Cindy M. Meston and David M. Buss

This book is a MUST READ for anyone who wants to understand the complex nature of female mating behavior from a scientific and real-life perspective. 

By Helen E. Fisher

If you want to truly understand the brain chemistry behind stuff like love, lust, attraction, desire, infatuation, etc. Then this book is a MUST READ. 

By Vanessa Van Edwards

Every alpha must learn how to be charismatic – and this book is a MUST READ due to how well Vanessa Van Edwards teaches these skills within it. If you want to master your own charisma and level up your ability to succeed with people, this book is crucial! 

The Best Dating Books For Men

By Kezia Noble

My favorite all-around dating book for helping men to understand how to interface with women – with plenty of awesome insights that’ll doubtlessly help you with your dating game. 

By John Gottman, Julie Schwartz Gottman, Doug Abrams, and Rachel Carlton Abrams

If you want to learn how to interface with women successfully – both in a dating capacity and in relationships, then this book is a MUST READ. 

The Best Dating Books For Women

By Matthew Hussey

If you’re an alpha-minded woman who wants to increase your odds of dating success, then this book is a MUST READ.  

By Stephan Labossiere

If you keep finding yourself getting stuck in the same dead-end situations with men who say one thing and do another, this book is a MUST READ. It’s full of practical wisdom to help women understand some of the confusing things men do and say while dating.  

In Conclusion 

There you have it. 

My powerful 3-step method for overcoming expectations and not allowing them to ruin my dating experience. 

I hope that these thought processes have given you some insight into how you can make your own dating life better. 

In the meantime, keep leveling up, pursuing the alpha mentality, and continuing to make your own life an amazing masterpiece all on its own.

Then, you’ll just be that much more likely to attract incredible high-value partners who will want to share it with you.

Go with grace my friends, and never give up your power. 

Until next time…

Joshua K. Sigafus