“Expectation is the root of all heartache.” – William Shakespeare
Clearly, high expectations of what your life should look and feel like are helpful for guiding career decisions, life purpose and basic boundaries of how the relationships in your life should operate.
Expectations clearly aren’t all bad, however, women often start getting into trouble when they harbor expectations for their partners that are not obtainable or that they have never expressed. Whether these expectations come first from movies, TV, romance novels, rap videos, your parents or watching your friend’s relationships, expectations can be really damaging to your relationship in the real world.
Expecting your guy to cater to your every whim– even the ones you don’t tell him about– he’s supposed to be a mind reader, right? Is a recipe for disaster. On the flip side, expecting that all men are going to screw you over can be just as damaging.
If your relationship is starting to get disappointing, and you’re feeling resentful, it might be time to check your expectations.
Here are a few things to remember:
Examine Whether Your Expectations Are Realistic
Most relationship expectations rarely live up to reality. Sometimes it’s a good idea to write down or say aloud (to yourself) what your expectations are to examine if you’re spouting off something seriously weird and unfair.
When I say “I expect my man to know exactly what I want for dinner and make that for me without consulting me” it sounds a little crazy, right? Just like if I said “I expect all men to screw me over, because all men are pigs” not exactly fair either (this one in particular is horrible for ever sustaining a healthy relationship).
How would I act if I had either of those expectations? Probably pretty silly. On one hand, I’m never eating dinner and just hoping he’ll come through. On the other, I’m assuming he’s going to screw me over in some way and constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop which is a total man-repellent.
When you feel the sting of your feelings being hurt over something he did/didn’t do, think about whether or not your expectation was realistic in the first place and whether you expressed it to him. This brings me to my next point.
Speak Up About Your Boundaries
If you’re expecting someone to do something for you and they have no idea that you want that or what it is, this is a problem. Expecting your partner to suddenly turn into a better mind reader is a recipe for failure.
It should go without saying that your partner can’t meet your needs if they don’t know what they are. Often we expect guys to react to signals that we aren’t even sending out. Holding him responsible for your nuanced hope that he’ll bring you dinner without asking him to do so, is just plain unfair.
Quit Comparing Your Relationship to Others Right Now
I get it. It’s hard not to look at your “perfect” friend and think she’s really got it figured out. Keep in mind that what people portray their relationships to be like, as well as what they’re portrayed as in the movies and on TV are just that, fantasy.
It’s easy to get a skewed perspective of what other people’s relationships are like because they don’t share every nitty gritty detail. Also, the reality is always colored by their perception of events. Reality just doesn’t live up to fiction. If you’re holding out for movie love, you’re going to get really old before it shows up.
Expectations don’t seem like they are such a big deal on the surface. Some will argue that high expectations are a good thing. For the most part they are, but keep in mind it’s crucial to express them to your partner so he can make you happy– which is most likely what he was trying to do in the first place.
What are your relationship expectations? Are they realistic?