If there is one single thing that could destroy your relationship its ignoring relationship expectations. If you and your partner set expectations for your relationship and one or both of you ignore them, your relationship will suffer and, most likely, fail.
Relationship expectations can, and should, be set by couples when they are in a relationship. Expectations are things that each couple needs to feel loved and respected.
When my boyfriend and I started dating, I asked that he do his best to do what he said he would do. He asked me to respect the importance of him having a car project going at all times. We both accepted these expectations or conditions, and we have both worked hard to meet them. It wasn’t always easy but it works.
I can promise you that, if we ignored these expectations, our relationship would be in shambles.
So, why does ignoring relationship expectations spell out disaster for relationships? Here are 5 reasons why.
1. It causes loss of trust.
When people are ignoring relationship expectations that have been defined and set by two people, one of the reasons that it is a recipe for disaster is because of the trust that is lost when one person doesn’t respect the other’s needs.
When I was married, once the children were born, it was very important to me that my husband gets home in time for dinner. We had talked about how important it was for both of us to have a family dinner and, as a result, we agreed that his getting home on time was important.
Unfortunately, work often got in the way. He would be absorbed in what he was doing and couldn’t break free or his boss would stop him in the parking lot and need to talk about something or a co-worker would need him right then and there. And those excuses are reasonable but they soon became the norm and not the exception.
As my ex had an increasing tendency to be late for dinner, my trust in his willingness to meet my expectation that he gets home for dinner on time was lost. Because I didn’t trust him around this expectation, I struggled to trust him around other expectations. And the less I didn’t trust him the harder I was on him and the harder I was on him the less motivated he was to meet my expectations.
Losing trust because of ignoring relationship expectations was the beginning of the end of our marriage.
Want to know more about how ignoring relationship expectations can ruin your relationship? Read Unmet Expectations: 5 Ways It Is Ruining Your Relationship
2. It means guessing which can wreak havoc.
Many of my female clients, and friends, often say to me ‘If he loved me, he would know what I want. I shouldn’t have to tell him.’ This, I tell them, is a pipe dream and not setting clear expectations, but instead asking them to figure them out, is a recipe for disaster.
Think about that time you tried to make your wife happy by taking out the garbage and doing the recycling on the weekend. You do those things because you want to make your wife happy and you feel like you are doing your part. Unfortunately, while she appreciates your efforts, it might not be the expectation that she has about the weekend.
Perhaps she wanted to be able to go for a walk with friends and have you stay home with the children. Or perhaps she wanted to do something with you. Whatever it is was, if you ignored it, or didn’t remember it, she will feel let down and unloved.
This paradox happens in the other direction, of course, that a woman is ignoring relationship expectations that she and her husband have agreed on but, in many cases, women are more intuitive and can anticipate what her man needs and make it happen.