The Downside of Hope

My dad used to say “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”
He’s a retired dentist, my dad, and he used that saying a lot with his patients. When there was a filling that was deeper than it looked on the x-ray to the point that it might need a crown, he would sit the patient up and explain the situation showing them the x-ray and pointing out the cavity and what made doing a filling iffy.
“We can do the filling today but it might end up needing a crown. I have to tell you about the possibility but we can hope for the best. Let’s hope for the best and be prepared for the worst…just in case.”
He was willing to give the filling, a much cheaper and less extensive procedure, a chance to work before doing a crown unless ,of course, they just wanted to go ahead and do the crown. Most dentists would just do the crown. My dad hoped. It’s one of the reasons so many of his patients loved him.
We had this one guy who was terrified of coming to the dentist even just for a cleaning. One time he fled the office right before his appointment, just bolted. After a bit the guy got to the point where he’d stay but he was always pretty nervous. He used to say that when people asked him what dentist he went to he would lie because he didn’t want my dad getting so busy that it’d be difficult to get in to see him.

When I was nineteen I went to work for my dad. I had just had a baby and he needed open heart surgery which meant I had to keep the same insurance through that whole process. Pre-existing conditions were an issue with changing insurances fifteen years ago. I was paying for the insurance since I had stopped working at the job I had when my son was born that provided it. I didn’t really know about things like Medicaid and Government assistance so I moved back “home” and started working in my dad’s office. This was a less than ideal situation for both me and my parents; there was a bit of resentment about the whole teenage pregnancy thing.
Up until that point I didn’t like my dad very much. I was the classic stubborn, rebellious, independent teenage and he the very strict, conservative father.
That never goes very smoothly.
It wasn’t until I begrudgingly went to work for my dad that I saw him as a person and not just a parent.
Working with my dad and seeing how much his patients valued and appreciated him made me respect my dad as a person. It was an unexpected benefit of the job. Many of the lessons I learned through working with my dad have stayed with me over the years. The whole “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.” philosophy is just one of them.
But the point of this isn’t to brag up my dad or tell tales of my teenage years, really it’s about dating.
Maybe it’s a little weird that I started a post about dating with a story about my dad but I promise this is not going to be about “Daddy issues”.
I repeat, there are no Daddy Issues here.
Just wanted to make that clear.

It’s been about three months since my first real, actual, bona fide post divorce date. This is my first foray into the world of adult dating. I’m pretty sure I’m doing it all wrong. Is there even a right way to do this? But I am learning a lot, about people and about myself.
I don’t really consider myself a cynic, though I’m pretty sure things come out sounding a little cynical once in a while. (At this point my co-blogger is probably thinking A little?? Once in a while?? )
I prefer to call myself a realist, especially when it comes to people. You have to deal with people as they are, not as you think they should be or as you really, really want them to be.
People are who they are (I wrote a whole post about this a while back) and they are going to be who they are. No matter how much you hope for a person or a situation to change it’s not going to. It’s just not…unless something about it changes. People don’t change unless they want to change and even then it’s hard. Being realistic about this makes for less disappointment in life.
I know this.
But sometimes I act like I don’t and think and behave like people will be different.
Dating has been one of those situations.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not deluding myself into thinking that I’ll find my “soul mate” (I think the concept of a soul mate is pretty much bullshit) or that some knight in shining armor is going to come sweep me off my feet and take care of all my problems so we can gallop off into a rosy sunset and live “happily ever after” (another concept that I think is bullshit…happily ever after sounds pretty boring anyhow).
No, I know that that’s just not reality; it’s a common misconception based on the lies that Hollywood and Disney have conspired to sell us in a mostly successful attempt to keep us unhappy with our “normal” lives so we’ll buy the shit they’re selling.

I recently found myself getting upset because people behaved exactly how they told me they would. People will show you or even tell you who they are. Believe them. I know, I know you think they’ll be different because the situation is different. Because you are different.
They won’t and it’s probably not even if you are which, face it, chances are you’re not. We all have a tendency to recreate the same situation over and over again. I’m trying really hard to be aware of this and avoid some of the situations I’ve been in as far as relationships go.
There have been some not so fun ones and I don’t want to do that again…ever.

Originally I was going to title this post “But What if he Doesn’t Call?”
See there was this guy I had (have? I’m not really sure at this point) been seeing. It was a fun little thing; I liked him (thus far) and was pretty sure he liked me (since he said so) and we were enjoying each others company. Of course, I’ve got a lot of demands on my time and so did he so we weren’t actually seeing that much of each other but, really, that was okay.
This guy, he did this weird thing though.
He called me…regularly… like on the phone.
Yeah, apparently that little text machine I carry around in my pocket is good for talking on too.
Who knew?
At first I thought “Huh. This is interesting.” but then I got used to it and kind of liked talking to someone who actually wanted to have a conversation with me on a regular basis. It was pretty cool.
And then it stopped.
Okay, maybe not stopped but became significantly less frequent. We played phone tag for a few days which was followed by a couple real short conversations. There were a few “I’ll call you later”s that didn’t happen. That’s just irritating.
There was a little bit of a shift in the dynamic somewhere in there. I was calling him (or texting things like “Call me when you get a chance.”) more and more. It seemed like he was “getting the chance” less and less.
I started to wonder if I was pestering him. Wait, isn’t the guy I’m seeing supposed to be interested in talking to me too? What’s going on here?
So I decided it was time to give it a rest and let him come to me so to speak.

This is where hope comes in.
I really hoped that he would call me. It was constantly on my mind, obnoxiously so.
I am NOT one of those girls who obsesses over whether a boy will call or not. I’m not! As I let time pass and waited for this guy to call me I realized I had to prepare myself for the possibility that he wouldn’t.
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. It’s pretty difficult, even for a realist like me, to be mentally prepared to essentially be rejected.

And there it is, the downside of hope.
Disappointment. Rejection. Possible pain.
Is it worth it if that’s the possible outcome?
That is the question.


About nights7

A metamorphosis in progress...always.

3 thoughts on “The Downside of Hope

  1. Thanks for so bravely bearing your soul out here in your post, and sorry to hear about how the new ‘relationship’ is turning out. Been there. There’s a very popular host of a syndicated daily radio music program that I listen to but not not going to name out of embarrassment, who always says that if a person is not – in so many words – crazy, desperate in need to be with or be in contact with you, then he/she is not the person for you.


    • nights7 says:

      Yeah, that’s one of those things you know intellectually but is still difficult to apply.
      Soul bearing and brave, those are not descriptors I get every day. Glad you enjoyed…er, appreciated this.


  2. […] have been silence. That’s the whole point of there being two us! And she really has had some interesting topics […]


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