Singles Roundtable: The Happily Ever After and its Expectations

Dirty Dancing

Where’s our fairy tale ending?

We were born into an era where Disney princesses and rom coms set the benchmark for our relationships. The princess always found her prince by the end of the movie and every rom com ended with a happy ending. Has this skewed our expectations on our relationships? We speak to our singleton panel.

Do you think pop culture has shaped your expectations for your relationships?

Amy: Maybe when I was younger but I’ve had two serious relationships and it’s taught me that long term relationships take work. Sure Kate Hudson always gets the guy in the movies but in reality she’s divorced with 2 kids. I have guy friends who have unrealistic expectations in relationships. If their relationship hits a lull, they go into panic mode because they don’t think it’s the norm. They leave thinking they can find a better relationship or date a model.

Mark: Of course pop culture shapes our expectations for relationships. How can someone claim to not be influenced by the values, expectations and principles that’s all around them? I think pop culture has taken a turn for the worst – technology and pop culture have married their ways and has transformed the dating game to a impulsive, pleasure filling lifestyle – we take someone out nice, we ply them with alcohol and then we expect a blowjob at the very least. How did you come up with that expectation? I see it in the movies all the time. Thank pop culture for giving an army of men a false entitlement to blowjobs.

Ryan: No. I can’t think of a single screen relationship that I would like to have as my own. My expectations are based only on what I want and more importantly what I don’t want from a relationship. I know what these are from my own past relationships and from watching those of my friends and family.

Do you think your expectations have changed from yours 20s?

Amy: Most definitely. In my 20s, I just wanted to have fun and meet different types of people. I’ve done that and now I need to think about what I’d want in a long term partner. Their values on finances, family and ambitions…that matters when you’re looking to settle down.

Mark: I’d like to think that my expectations and perspective on my life has changed since my 20’s. When you’re 20 and indestructible, you want someone as perfect as you. Then you go through the ups and downs of life – you get cheated on, you get shit on at work, friends don’t turn out to be friends and you’ve realized how tough life is. I think that during your 20’s, you get so much ups but by the time you hit your 30’s, these ups go through the test of time and start fading away. You’re curious to see which ups are left standing. This goes for all aspects of your life including people which leaves you wondering – what’s wrong with people?

I think the scene from the movie “Up in the air” , when the girl reveals her expectations in a man at her age captures the sentiments of most people my age. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, download the movie now.

Ryan: Of course. I once expected just a pretty face and could overlook alot of negative aspects of their personalities. Nowadays I’ll dismiss a girl for anything that is not ideal. Although, the level of attraction will determine how much I can overlook.

Are you more selective with the people you date now?

Amy: I’ve just come out of a long term relationship so I can’t comment just yet. Though, I imagine I would be now that I have a better idea of what I want and don’t want in a partner.  Instead of going on 5 dates to see if he’s right, it’ll probably only take 1 for me to know.

Mark: There are some things that automatically filter people for me since I’ve tried them and I can’t stand them – smokers and girls that don’t read books are just no good for me. I think being selective in lifestyle habits is good (because it makes common sense) but there’s a paradox about becoming more and more selective the more you know yourself – if your criteria becomes more and more refined, you’re actually cutting a lot of people out of the pool – who knows if there’s anyone on this Earth that actually fits your criteria? So it’s possible that the more you know yourself and what you like, the more you’re not going to meet people.

Ryan: There are pre-requisites and there are desirables. How many they satisfy determines how much effort I put in and how long it lasts. After you find out where they live, what they do, and info about their lifestyle its easy to determine if it is a fling or could be something longterm.

Do you think guys and girls have similar expectations in relationships?

Amy: I think this really depends on the person and what has influenced their expectations. I know guys who want that fairy tale ending. They break up with their girlfriends as soon as the infatuation fades. It doesn’t work that way mate. Everyone is different so I think it’s best to find out what his/her expectations are from the get go…without sounding like a freak or course.

Mark: I think guys at my age who haven’t gotten their careers going expect their girlfriend to stand by them as they start up their careers After their career gets going is when they can think about settling down for good and putting a ring on the girl’s finger. For girls, I think they just want to get married and start having kids.

Ryan:  Men and women are the same. Those who are afraid of being alone will lower their expectations and sacrifice thier happiness whereas those who aren’t will wait for the right person and be happier into the future. Girls though will sacrifice more as they are under pressure from society, friends and family to marry and have a family while they are young. So what’s your idea of happily ever after then?

Amy: A relationship where both parties love each other enough to make it work.

Mark: A relationship based on companionship and friendship. From what I’ve heard from all my married friends, don’t even think that the sex will still be there after a year.

Ryan: 5. Happily ever after… Ill know it when it happens.


Iona is a Wellness Coach specialising in relationships and dating. She works with single women to write their own love stories.