You may not even realize you have certain expectations until you find you keep finding you’re disappointed. Everyone has expectations but you may be expecting too much from your partner, and this can cause serious problems in a relationship.
There are aspects of a relationship that are non-negotiable but when it comes to your expectations, you may find they need some adjustment, or they can cause resentment, anger and bitter disappointment.
Expectations trap you in the past
You may have grown up in a home where your father handled all the finances. You unconsciously expect your husband to do the same and you become very frustrated with him when he neglects to pay a bill or keep track of what he spent. This puts a strain on your relationship, and you end up nagging him constantly. Perhaps it’s your husband who has expectations that you will take care of the house and the chores just like his mother.
When you realize where your expectations are coming from and that you may be holding your partner up to unachievable expectations, you can talk about it openly and honestly.
If you do this, you will probably find that it brings you closer. For instance, you may be able to come up with a plan to handle your finances in a way that satisfies both of you. Perhaps you could be responsible for paying all the bills if this is your strong point.
Expectations set you up for failure
You may expect your partner to spend every moment of free time with you. You think you should be ‘enough’ for your partner and you resent time spent on hobbies or friends. Putting a leash on your partner is unhealthy in this way is unhealthy and you are not meant to fulfill all of someone’s needs.
Another damaging expectation is to believe that you can change your partner. You don’t want your partner to be anxious and insecure due to failing to meet your expectations. You are setting him up for failure, and this will keep making him feel uncomfortable and ill at ease. Allow him to be himself without always trying to improve him, and he will respond by being more vulnerable, open and authentic.
Expectations build up over time
When you first meet someone, you don’t have expectations but as your relationship develops, so do your expectations. You want that person to find a better job to earn more money, buy a better house, spend more time with you etc. etc.
Expectations may become so high that no-one could maintain them, but that does not stop you from making your demands. This can build up over time, so you don’t even realize how demanding you’ve become because it happens gradually. If you keep using phrases that begin with “You never …”, “All I ask…”, “Just for once I wish …” or “You always …” you need to check and see if unrealistic expectations haven’t been building up.
Unmet expectations cause resentment
Having unachievable expectations can cause great resentment, and this is very destructive in a relationship. You resent your partner for not living up to your expectations, and he resents you for expecting him to perform.
We all make mistakes and fail to live up to expectations. Even if the expectations are warranted, we feel bad when we don’t live up to them. When they are not warranted, resentment seeps in. You naturally feel resentment when you fail to live up to unrealistic expectations.
When a relationship is void of unrealistic expectations, it is liberating and authentic. It may be a little messy and sometimes hard, but it is also fun, passionate and intimate. Your partner isn’t expected to act in any way that’s not him. You don’t expect him to know what you need if you don’t tell him. You show him, love, ask him for what you need and trust him without expectations.