An expectation is nothing more than an assumption. Scientifically or pragmatically, expectations are a tool. You approach a scenario, hypothesize or rationalize a result, and then learn from what happens. For the sake of planning and learning, expectations are a stepping stone.
They have literally no value outside of that limited scope.
When expectation intrudes into the realm of emotion or unconscious perceptual assumptions, then ignorance, confusion, and suffering all become possible.
However, expectations are not a contagion. Even if you are in the habit of expecting certain things, you don’t need to wait until that habit is extinguished before freeing yourself from expectation. All you need to do is pay attention to your mind and your motives. What are you expecting and why? What are you seeking through those expectations? Is that really where you will find that which you are seeking?
Sometimes an expectation forms in the mind. That’s not really a problem unless that expectation goes unnoticed and unexamined. Then it can unknowingly run your life and drown you in misery. So be wary of your expectations and keep attentive to when they crop up. It is like watching a thief. You aren’t hoping to gain something but rather to avoid losing something: clarity.
On another level, your question also involves the element of lack. You still feel as though being given love is a more important and fulfilling experience than loving. But the truth is that so long as you are beholden to someone else in order to have love in your life, you will not be free. At the same time, you will not really have any love to give others. You will only have conditional love to offer, the kind of love that comes because of circumstances and expectations.
Conditional love is a rather weak brew compared to the fortifying blissful torrent of unconditioned love that unfucks both mind and heart. Without a clear heart, there will never be a clear mind.
So now you can see the way that loving and freedom from expectation (or from taking your expectations seriously) are integral aspects for knowing the peace within that is your birthright.
Lastly, expectations dampen the experience of life overall. They are an attempt to control the uncontrollable, an attempt to shy away from the uncertainty of life.
There are three outcomes from having an expectation:
1. Your expectations are met. Big whoop.
2. Your expectations are not met. Fuck the world!
3. Your expectations are exceeded. Oh, marvelous.
Expectation forces you to interpret this moment and then live within those interpretations. Where is the spontaneity? The surprise? The joy? Such divine whims are only possible when you leave room for them.
Imagine the difference between walking through a forest where every leaf and flower and tree is where you expect them to be and walking through a forest in which their arrangement is continually new and unknown to you.
Now ask yourself how you wish to live your life.