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Stop Being Annoyed By Your Partner By Managing Expectations in Relationships

stop being annoyed by your partner by managing expectations in relationships

So, going back to the example about taking out the rubbish…

Rather than thinking that our partner didn’t forget about the rubbish, and instead simply didn’t bother to take it out because they’re selfish (an analysis built on the combination of stable and inherent qualities), we may instead think that our partner had a lot to do this morning. That our partner simply didn’t have the time (an analysis built on temporary, external qualities).

When we think in this way we increase the happiness in the relationship, and thus also, the durability. Now, take a minute and think about something your partner did today or last week, that irritated or upset you.

  • How does your partner’s behavior make you feel when you look at the different categories: temporary/stable, and internal/external qualities?
  • Are you open to working on your thoughts by using these categories and seeing what happens during the course of a day or a week?
  • If not – how come?
  • If yes – how can you best remind yourself to use this exercise throughout your day or week?

An Exercise On Idealizing Our Partner

One really interesting and contradictory way of managing expectations in relationships has to do with idealizing our partner. Now, crazy as this may sound, give me a minute and I think you’ll find it pretty intriguing!

Researcher Sandra Murray found that those who idealized some of their partner’s traits actually stood a better chance of creating a long-lasting relationship.

Idealizing our partner’s qualities hasn’t only been proven effective in a given situation, it also positively affects the way we perceive our partner’s less attractive traits.

If we for example idealize our partner’s ability to always look after others, it may soften the way we think about our partner’s less endearing qualities. Like them never remembering Valentine’s Day, or forgetting to give our children their vitamins in the morning.

Another way of doing this exercise is applying it to the positive things our partner does. By thinking of their positive aspects – like baking a cake for us on a Sunday – as depending on internal and stable qualities (our partner’s a nice and caring person), this behavior becomes even more positive to us. 

Compare that to thinking that the cake baking was only due to our partner having more time on their hands (temporary and external quality). Then that cake won’t taste half as good in your mouth. 

Related: 12 Prescriptions for Happiness That Will Change Your Life

Take A Minute And Think About Your Partner:

  • What are their most attractive qualities?
  • Now, what are some things your partner does that you appreciate? Try and think of a slightly mundane. For example, the baking of a cake
  • What happens if you try and idealize one of these more mundane things they do?
  • How do you feel about your partner now?

Maybe you don’t feel much of a change after doing this exercise – or maybe you do. The trick is to keep at it and notice the shifts over time!

Long-Lasting Love

When it comes to creating a relationship that lasts over time, the goal isn’t to try and eliminate all annoyances. We are only human and most relationships can withstand conflict.

However, if you want to make your relationship even better, and feel less annoyed, working on things like managing expectations in relationships, can be really helpful.

Next time you notice you’re getting a bit heated because your partner left the rubbish behind (despite promising not to) – pause. And try to think differently. By changing your view of your partner you might just notice you start to feel more of those butterflies and less annoyance.

Originally published on LeighNoren.com.
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Stop Being Annoyed By Your Partner By Managing Expectations in Relationships
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Leigh Noren, MSc

Leigh Norén is a sex therapist and writer specialized in low libido, orgasmic difficulties, communication and relationship difficulties. She's been featured in Glamour, The Tab, Babe, Sexography, The Good Men Project and more. Leigh offers free online resources for a better sex life and happier relationship, sex therapy and online courses at her website www.therapybyleigh.comView Author posts