Unmet expectations are can be one of the biggest banes in a romantic relationship, to the point of even destroying it completely.
Are you wondering how to stop unmet expectations from ruining your relationship? Do you find yourself constantly disappointed with your partner and thinking about ending it?
Did you know that it’s only since the Victorian era that relationships were meant to be what they are today – a partnership based on love, fidelity, friendship, and laughter?
Before the Victorian era, relationships were business based, often set up by parents in an attempt to form allegiances to farms or countries. There was no pressure to love forever or be your partner’s best friend. And fidelity was rarely even discussed.
Today, the idea of a relationship has evolved, in most part due to movies and reality TV, into something that is supposed to define us and be the focal point of our lives.
And, oftentimes, as seen by the high divorce rate and the transitory nature of relationships outside of marriage, this idea of a relationship is not sustainable. The expectations of our marriage are such that, if they are not met, the relationship will be damaged, perhaps irreversibly.
There are ways to stop unmet expectations from ruining your relationship. Here are a few.
1. Identify Your Own.
One way to stop unmet expectations from ruining your relationship is by questioning your own.
What do you think you need from your partner? Do you need him to give up his friends and hobbies for you? Do you expect to have sex every night? Do you want her to keep the house spotlessly clean as your mother did? Do you expect him to anticipate your every need?
Expectations like these are exactly the things that can kill a relationship. I would encourage you to think about what you want from your partner so that it’s clear in your mind. I also want you to consider if your expectations are reasonable.
If your expectations aren’t reasonable your relationship might be dead upon arrival. If you don’t know what your expectations are, your partner will have a hard time reaching them because you might always be moving the goal post. So, before unmet expectations destroy your relationship, make sure you know what yours are.
2. Set Boundaries.
I always encourage new couples to set boundaries in their relationships as soon as possible.
To understand healthy relationship boundaries, look at the four walls of your house. Those walls are the structure that holds your life together. They hold your food and your bed and your possessions and it’s where you live your life.
Healthy boundaries are the same as those four walls of your house. They are the things that support your relationship as it matures. To have a healthy relationship, one that can grow and be fruitful, it is important that it has structures, boundaries, that support it.
Healthy boundaries come in many shapes, sizes, and colors.
A few examples:
- Make sure you stay yourself
- Allow yourselves time apart
- Communication is important
- Mutual respect at all times
- Keep the power dynamic equal
- Making time for both sides of the family
- Respecting each other’s friends and hobbies
Of course, it’s important for each couple to decide what works for them but it is important that every couple establish some boundaries early and stick to them. For the sake of their relationship.
3. Be Truthful.
It is essential that, if your expectations aren’t being met, you discuss this with your partner.
One of the most common complaints that I hear from women is ‘he should know what I need. I shouldn’t have to tell him.’ And this, I am afraid, is mostly impossible.
Men would love to be able to anticipate and meet our needs but many of them just don’t always have it in them. This is not a deficiency of character but based on the fact that men have no idea how women think and why. It’s a mystery to them, so expecting them to be able to do so will set you up for disaster.
If your person isn’t meeting your expectations, tell them. Not in the heat of the moment when you are angry and yelling but at an opportune time when you can discuss it calmly.
Discussing your expectations will allow the two of you to figure out if the expectations are reasonable and, if not, how you can compromise around something that would work for both of you. If you don’t, if you sit and simmer about your needs not being met, your relationship will not stay healthy.