Dangerous Compassions


expectations lm

Hello, reader.  How are you doing?  Hopefully I have a tasty idea for you today.  I’ve been thinking about expectations.

Many people–especially women–are condemned for having expectations. That’s me. *Laura-Marie raises hand*

I’ve been multi-criticized for having expectations over the years, mostly by men who were getting a lot from me, while they gave back erratically or very little.  They would say I was not allowed to need anything from them, while conveniently ignoring that they needed a ton from me.  It was painful, and I was blamed for the lack of balance, which I will no longer participate in.

Anyone who feels criticized for not caring enough or not doing enough can deflect all the responsibility, so harshly, by saying they’re being oppressed by expectations. It’s a huge invalidator.

emotionally irresponsible person

When I hear anyone speak about expectations as a way they’re being oppressed, it’s a sign to me that I might be dealing with an emotionally irresponsible person.  Some people don’t care about the feelings of others.  They don’t care who they hurt, use, deceive, or abandon.  They want physical actions in the outer world to matter, while feelings are mostly irrelevant–they’re not good at comprehending or expressing feelings.  So they want the physical world to be the pertinent world.

The ironic part is that they often have tons of feelings.  They often want help holding their feelings and processing them, but they’re less powerful in that realm.  So they minimize that realm and keep the physical world valued, because the physical world is clear to them.  It’s where they have skills and can get their way.  They’re appreciated for their work in the outer world, so they try to pretend that’s all that matters, and feelings are not pertinent to them.

femme support

Their own well-being is central, and other people are a means toward that end.  Either you’re helping them get what they want, you’re in their way and should be destroyed, or you’re irrelevant.  I’ve known many men like this, and it’s scary to be caught up in.  But I’ve learned to recognize it now.

Often these people have set up a life where they survive on the graces of a femme who’s sacrificing her own well-being to keep the emotionally irresponsible person well.  The emotionally irresponsible person is extra fucked up, via addiction, trauma, mental health struggles, d all of the above.

They need a whole lot of caring for, and they have a designated special person who puts up with their shit.  It could be partner, their mom, an ex, a housemate.  Often there is domestic violence involved.  Everyone besides the special person is neutral, suspect, or someone to fuck around with in a random way.

relationships are partly made of expectations

Personally, I like relationships and need a diversity of them.  People are beautiful miracles, and they keep me alive.  Community is a great way to survive and build a world where love is more important than money.

Expectations are appropriate.  Expectations are a big part of what relationships are made of.  What do you think a relationship is?  We relate with freedom, spontaneity, and wiggle room within a safe container of expectations.

Expectations are related to needs.  A relationship is a place where I’m allowed to have needs.  That’s the whole point of relationship.

Ming example

Ming helps meet many of my needs.

  • fun
  • touch
  • comfort
  • love
  • eating foods I enjoy
  • wordplay
  • holding a vision of our family
  • conversation
  • sex
  • reflection–being seen
  • perspective / new ideas
  • reality checks
  • transportation
  • advice
  • activism
  • health needs
  • maintaining a place in community

I help meet many of his needs too.  Ming is allowed to expect a lot from me.  We have good consent and communication, so we can negotiate what we expect at any time.


Part of my life’s work is to be there for Ming.  Likewise, I expect him to consider me and what I need.  When we agree on something and he doesn’t follow through, I often have feelings about that.  I might react in a sad, frustrated, scared, or angry way.

Those feelings are ok.  It’s reasonable to feel upset when something isn’t followed through with.  Those feelings are appropriate, and we talk respectfully, come to conclusions, and co-regulate afterward with touch.  Nothing is wrong with this scenario.

With lesser intensity and lower stakes, this is what many of my relationships look like.  With friends there’s less interdependence.  But we’re allowed to ask for things, say no, expect follow through after a yes, talk about needs, offer, give, thank, negotiate expectations, and be there for each other in a joyful way.

This is what I’m looking for.  Rarely I have relationships that are more activity based or transactional.  Intimacy is what I’m on earth to do.


Relationship means that we share space, ideas, materials, reality, maybe touch, intimacy, time, and history.  What we share is unique and specific to our particular connection and rapport.  We develop a little culture, and it’s permeated by expectations.

We all need one another. Independence is a lie. We all need care.

  • disabled people
  • elders
  • dying people
  • sick people
  • kids
  • babies
  • pregnant people
  • abled adults

I expect respect, consent, some amount of consideration, to be treated without violence–all of those expectations are valid.

In some relationships like baby and caregiver, the baby is allowed to expect that when they cry, the caregiver will pick them up and help with affection, food, diaper changing.

In some relationships like partner-partner, we can use words to negotiate expectations.

  • how often we see each other
  • which things we share and which are separate
  • how we touch each other in public and in private
  • the words we use to describe our relationship
  • commitment, nesting, family, reproduction
  • any specialization of tasks
  • how we celebrate holidays
  • intimacy with other people
  • germ protocol with other people

Agreements, patterns of behavior, promises, contracts, questions, offers, and requests can affect our expectations.


Needing follow through is not wrong.  It’s a basic way of supporting one another and being a responsible adult.  Yes, my own feelings matter–the other people’s feelings matter.  We can work together so that all of our needs are met.

Hatred of expectations is something I usually hear from people who resent being needed.  They want to do whatever, whenever.  How dare anyone notice their self-centered priorities and point that out.

It’s ok to have different ways of being, and I’m fine with people who want to be mostly alone, who want casual or no strings attached sex, who want to pay for sex and food and entertainment, who use porn instead of having intimacy with other people, who want to be helpful only from time to time and when they feel like it.  I’m fine with people who don’t want to be needed.

Just as long as they’re honest about that.  I look around and see people mostly flailing, lacking the self-knowledge to comprehend their own selves, let alone communicate their goals, feelings, projects, issues, or needs to other people.

under care and over care

I see too much extremes.  I see happy go lucky, never grew up charming Peter Pan assholes who pretend to love and have no clue.  They are intentionally deceptive, doing some performance of love with nothing behind it.

Then I see big ego, dominating “I’m going to protect my family!” patriarchy types who want their wife / wives barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.  Yuck–I don’t want that either.

I can get irresponsible under-care made of lie, or I can get scary-controlling over-care on some gun-toting white guy’s terms.  Sigh.  Glad to have Ming, giving me the good love with deep respect, sacred freedom, and lots of clarity.


Maybe you come here because you expect a good read, reader.  That’s a reasonable expectation.  I hope I did well for you today.

The last thing I want to say is: Anyone who says I shouldn’t have expectations, that’s their expectation.  They’re putting their expectation on me, that I’m not allowed to expect anything from them.  But why do they win?  Clearly some fuckery is being attempted.  Why is their lack of commitment supposed to be perfectly ok, while my deep commitment to the well-being of others via interdependence is pathological?

That post is for another day.  My quick answer is misogyny.  A den mother is optional.  A confident white man who gives the impression of skilled physical proficiency in many areas earns thousands of dollars. His way of being matters.

So maybe my answer is capitalism too.  Love is hard to monetize, and you can’t measure it with a love-o-meter.  Inner life is nothing we can charge for, so inner life is not important officially.  But actually, it’s the most important thing in the world.  It’s where we’re happy or not happy.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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