Great Expectations of the UES

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trying to find love in the new york jungle

by kait remenaric

as all of us new york singletons know, flying solo in this city is no walk in central park. none of us move to the big apple to find and conquer true love, but rather to have successful careers and fabulous social lives with the best pizza and shopping in the world to ease our stress and hangovers all along the way.

so after having recently gone through a break-up (and by recent i mean last week), and before jumping back into the abysmal dating pool of manhattan (which was time and again murkier than the east river itself), i thought it most important to determine the key elements of a successful relationship-especially considering that i had clearly just failed at having one. so i sat in front of my laptop in the starbucks on 81st and york and attempted to make a list of the fundamental building blocks to lasting love in a city that never sleeps, overworks and drinks 'til the sun comes up. as i repeatedly hit backspace, i realized that it all came down to one thing-expectations.

i had been dating oliver for almost six months and was crazy about him. it had been all too long since i had connected with a man on so many different levels-from sexually and emotionally to even more trivial matters such as ice cream flavor preference and movie genre predilection. the time we spent together was fabulous, but it was the time we spent apart that took us down the wrong way on a one-way street.

lost among introducing him to my family, attending each other's work happy hours and exchanging our apartment keys was the fact that we had failed to address what we were looking for in the relationship that we had formed. then, a change in my work schedule resulted in us seeing less of each other, which led to separate social lives and one too many ignored calls while he was out drinking with his friends. i was suddenly deemed demanding in his eyes, yet neglected in mine.

my efforts, consisting of countless cab rides to murray hill, haagen-dazs in the freezer for after work, notes around the apartment and home-cooked meals, were met with excuses of stress at work, lack of time for his friends and less time for himself. this being fed to a girl with only two free nights a week, the red flags were raised and the relationship quickly came to an end.

i was hurt and confused, questioning where i went wrong in our relationship. i allowed myself one night of overindulging with a bottle of jameson, burdened my friends with an emotional breakdown and cried myself to sleep with david gray belting out "real love" until 3:30 a.m., much to my neighbors' dismay. the next morning i woke up hungover and puffy-eyed to realize that i didn't go wrong anywhere.

my expectations were quite simple, actually. i wanted to be with a man who looked forward to our time together, a man who would be more than willing to step outside of a bar and speak with me for even just five minutes. i didn't want to be an obligation. i wanted to be a fabulous addition to someone's life, as i would want them to be to mine. i wanted a man who would appreciate my small but thoughtful gestures and would gladly reciprocate without thinking twice. so i came to realize that any relationship based on unmet expectations and clouded with excuses would never last-and more importantly, i shouldn't have to lower my great expectations to meet oliver's, or anyone's, lack of expectations.

as charles dickens wrote in great expectations, "i'll tell you what real love is. it is blind devotion, unquestioning self-humiliation, utter submission, trust and belief against yourself and against the whole world, giving up your whole heart and soul..." while i didn't move to new york to find real love, i was hoping to find it along the way. until i find an oliver with just as great expectations as mine, it was back to the happy hour circuit with my girlfriends. who needs haagen-dazs in murray hill when there's cheap beer and single men to meet on the upper east side, anyway?


kait remenaric drinks, dates and dwells on the upper east side.

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