How Unrealistic Expectations in Marriage Can Lead To A Divorce

How Unrealistic Expectations in Marriage Can Lead To A Divorce

When we have unrealistic expectations in marriage (or anyplace else), we set ourselves up for more than just disappointment. Because it’s unlikely that our spouse will ever be able to meet them, our disappointment can fester and transform into other more defeating emotions and choices.

Persistent disappointment can lead to stress, frustration, anxiety, sadness, despair, anger, and eventually a decision to give up on the marriage. The choice to end things after persistent disappointment is often seen as the only answer because our unrealistic expectations can make it seem as if we fell for the wrong person.


The opportunity in unmet expectations

“Peace begins when expectation ends.” – Sri Chinmoy

However, if you have unmet expectations, that doesn’t necessarily mean your expectations are unrealistic or unable to be met.

Begin exploring your expectations on your own. Look at the list above and see if you’re your expectations are similar to any of them. If they are, chances are you’re harboring some unrealistic expectations about yourself, your spouse or your relationship. And you have the opportunity to set more realistic expectations.

If, on the other hand, your unmet expectations don’t seem similar to those listed above, talk with your spouse about your expectations and hers/his. By doing so, you open the door to begin working together to resolve the issues.

We all have expectations about how things should be in our life – including our marriages. Sometimes our expectations are met and sometimes they’re not. And we feel disappointed when they’re not met regardless of whether our expectations are realistic or not.

Since unrealistic expectations in a marriage are involved in nearly half of all divorces, if you’re struggling with an unhappy marriage, it’s time to evaluate your expectations and invite your spouse to do the same. It’s only by getting realistic about what you expect from each other that you’ll be able to address the disappointments before they fester.


Here’s an interesting video that you may like:

“Expect much from yourself and little from others and you will avoid incurring resentments.” – Confucius

A healthy, lasting marriage requires you and your partner to talk about your individual expectations, understand each other and honestly communicate your emotions & differences. Having impossible expectations from your partner can often lead to regular conflict and passive-aggressive behavior which can create a lot of distance in the relationship. 

When it comes to expectations, you should start by having the highest expectations from yourself. When you invest in your self-development and building the relationship, the marriage will get stronger. Explore your expectations from the marriage and from your partner and make sure they are realistic and healthy. Then communicate your expectations to your partner while knowing they are not obligated to meet your expectations. Once you realize this, you will take charge for your own happiness and both partners will bring in positive vibes and happiness into the marriage.

Written by Dr. Karen Finn
Originally appeared in

I’m Dr. Karen Finn, a divorce and life coach. If you would like additional help healing after a divorce or breakup, I can help. You can join my newsletter list for free weekly advice. And, if you’re ready, you can take the first step toward working with me as your personal coach by scheduling a private consultation.

Looking for more information about healing after a divorce or breakup? Check out the other articles in Healing After Divorce.


You May Also Like:

5 Science-Backed Reasons People Get Divorced
Lack of Communication in a Relationship Sometimes Lead to Divorce according to Studies
4 Marriage Myths That Cause Divorce
The One Thing That’s the Biggest Predictor of Divorce
3 Strategies To Wisely Deal With Divorce Threats or “I’m Not “In Love” With You”


How Unrealistic Expectations in Marriage Can Lead To A Divorce
How Unrealistic Expectations in Marriage Can Lead To A Divorce

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