One of the fastest ways to create unhappiness and instability in a relationship is through disappointment.
And very few things create disappointment as quickly as unmet expectations.
But, I made the comment in that article that there are typically two problems with expectations in relationships:
- Unrealistic Expectations
- Unclear Expectations
Often times, couples struggle to meet each other’s expectations because they are simply unrealistic. They can, of course, be unrealistic for various reasons.
It’s important to understand that our expectations typically derive from other people, past experiences, beliefs, or internal values, and we tend to simply transfer those things into our “new” relationship.
Sometimes with catastrophic consequences.
Alternatively, couples sometimes struggle to meet each other’s expectations because they simply don’t know what the other one expects from them, or in their relationship.
Now, maybe you are pretty certain about what YOU expect from your relationship and your partner, but that doesn’t mean that your partner can read your mind, which means they most likely have no clue what you expect. This can lead to problems later on.
So, if you want to avoid unhappiness in your relationship, it is your responsibility to be very clear about your expectations and share those with your partner.
And, if in doing so, you come to realise that some of your expectations might be slightly unrealistic, or even impossible to meet, you might want to review where that expectation comes from and what is more important – being unrealistic or being happy.
The reality of any relationship is that we will always have expectations of our partners. That is normal and to be expected.
However, when our expectations become unrealistic or we never communicate with them, we shouldn’t stand surprised when unhappiness and relationship dissatisfaction show up.
At the end of the day, a relationship requires work and energy to grow and thrive, but having misguided or unclear expectations can slow that growth down.
To the question becomes, how do we need to deal with expectations in our relationships, in order for our relationships to thrive?
I think the simplest answer comes from Tony Robbins who once said,
“Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that most people enter a relationship in order to get something: they’re trying to find someone who’s going to make them feel good. In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see your relationship as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take.”
Ultimately with this comes down to is that in order to create a great relationship we must turn our expectations on ourselves rather than our partners.
When we expect more of ourselves than our partners, our relationship stands a great chance to thrive.
But when a relationship becomes a place that you go to take, or difficulty put, to get YOUR expectations met primarily, that relationship cannot grow and definitely not thrive.
To build a happy relationship have realistic expectations, and aim most of them it yourself.
Give more than you receive.
Love even when it’s difficult.
Questions for reflection
- What type of expectations do you have of a love relationship?
- How are these affecting your relationship right now?
- What type of expectations do you have of your partner?
- How are these affecting your connection with your partner right now?
- How can you be more clear about your expectations?
- Which of your expectations might be a bit too unrealistic?
- What will you do about it?
- Do you know what your partner expects from you?
- If not, what will you do about that?
- What expectations can you and your partner create collectively to improve your relationship even more?
In module 2, we will look at secret #2 for creating a happy relationship.
Make sure to check your inbox to get access to it.
If you have any questions, issues, or queries, contact support here.