10 Relationship Expectations to Avoid
We are all prone to forming expectations, especially when we’re in a relationship. Sometimes, though, what we expect and what we get don’t line up. “We probably cannot exist without forming expectations of our partners, but it is when our expectation subconsciously becomes an inflexible (unrealistic / irrational) demand, when it clashes with reality, that we become distressed.” says Heid Burmeister-Nel, a clinical psychologist in Windhoek. She adds, “An unrealistic expectation, however, can sound so rational; like “my partner should know how I feel” or “he should at least be able to change the light bulbs.” (Unrealistic) expectations are resentments in the making.”
Let’s look at a few common expectations that can ruin your relationship if you let them take hold:
10 Expectations That Will Ruin The Perfectly Good Relationship You’re In (If You Let Them):
1. Your Partner must be able to read your mind
Perhaps one of the biggest irritations in life is that your significant other can’t read your mind, right? Wouldn’t it be so nice if all you had to do was look into each other’s eyes and instantly know what the other is thinking?
The unfortunate reality (or fortunate, when you have really embarrassing thoughts!) is that no one will ever be able to know exactly what you know or think or feel. That’s what communicating is for.
But it’s so easy to fall into the trap of assuming that your significant other shares your plans for the weekend, or knows that you prefer orchids to roses, without you telling them.
Instead of being angry at your partner’s inability to “get you”, try talking to them instead. Share your thoughts, and get rid of your assumptions that they know what’s going on in your head. By communicating, you’ll find that *suddenly* they do.
2. You must complete each other
True life is not a Rom-Com; there’s no Tom Cruise waiting to declare his love for you, all teary-eyed, with a “you complete me”. In fact, you’ll find, as Alanis Morisette put it, “One plus one makes two!” You weren’t born somehow lacking, and now some man or woman has to fill you up to become a complete human being. The idea that we are “completed” by love is connected to the idea of a soul-mate that exists for every single human being. Even if you do believe in soul-mates, there’s no reason why you should believe that you are not perfect exactly the way you are. And that means perfectly inadequate, perfectly silly, perfectly awesome. But perfect the way you are, just the same.
3. You will always agree, on everything
Finding someone who enjoys the same things you do is a glorious find. It’s not everyday that you can share one-liners with someone who appreciates your quirky taste in movies. Thing is, when you do find someone like this, it’s not definite that they’ll share your taste in everything else, too.
Part of the fun of being in a relationship is in being with someone that challenges you to think differently. They might not feel as strongly as you do about Animal Rights, but that’s no reason for you to ditch them by the way-side, and also not an opportunity for you to condescendingly educate them. Being with someone that thinks differently is a chance for you to expand your own thoughts. It gives you the opportunity to see things from the other side of the fence, or in fact, to maybe realize that there is in fact another side to any story and neither is necessarily bad.
4. Both of you want to spend every waking (and sleeping) second together
It’s said that being in love is like a drug; our brains pump us full of chemicals that make us feel all gooey and happy. It also makes us a little bit crazy. Those first few weeks it feels like you could last on nothing but love. That’s the time when you just want to be with this person all the time. But as time passes, your hormones and chemicals and whatnot get back to normal and you find yourself becoming your old self again. That’s not such a downer. It just means that you’re not as crazy about your partner as you were. But that’s okay. In fact, you’re likely to feel the passion go down after about three months. Just because your passion is down, doesn’t mean you guys aren’t great together.
No two people love spending time together 100% of the time. If they say they do, they’re lying. So enjoy the time you have by yourself, even if it means confronting your insecurities of being alone. No one will think you’re strange if you go to the movies by yourself. If you want to do it, do it. And if your significant other wants to do it, don’t get angry; appreciate that they are a full human being that is confident enough to do things by themselves, and you’re lucky enough to have them in your life.
5. You will never fight or argue
Who on earth enjoys fighting with someone they love? There’s always that possibility that that one fight can turn into the fight that ended it all. In that case, there’s much to learn. Having a fight with someone means that certain issues have cropped up and have taken on a significance that cannot be brushed aside.
Sometimes a fight may seem to be about something small, when the reality is that the real issue is hidden beneath layers. If you’re in a fight, you might not even realize the true motivation behind all the arguing, but that’s what you should aim for. Try to uncover what’s really going on. What is the fight really about?
Every couple fights, and just because you and your partner will, doesn’t mean you’re not good together or that you will ultimately fail. It just means there’s some conflict that needs to be sorted out and that it’s time for you to put on your adult-hat and get on it.
6. You should get along with each other’s family and friends
The dream is that you meet someone, you like them, and as the relationship progresses, you meet the other people in their life, who adore you and who you adore in return. The reality is a little different.
Mother-in-laws get a bad rep for being nasty, but it could be that you just don’t get along with each other’s families, period. This expectation can be hard to let go of, when what’s staring you in the face is such a bitter pill to swallow. When it comes to being in a relationship, you inevitably come into contact with your lover’s peeps, but they shouldn’t dictate whether or not you give your relationship a chance.
7. Your partner can and will fix you, and you them
Contrary to the Coldplay song, your partner cannot fix you, and nor is it their job to. More than that, though, it isn’t your job to fix them, either. The key to a healthy relationship is acknowledging that there are things within yourself that you’d like to change, and that you, and only you, have the ability to change them. But it’s also in understanding that you are not perfect, never will be, and your flaws make you who you are.
If you are looking for someone sporty to mould your couch potato-self into a marathon-runner, don’t. Just don’t. Whatever it is that you want to change about yourself, that’s fine, change it, but don’t expect your relationship to do it for you. You’d be far better off with someone that loves you for your great cooking skills, even if you can’t run 5k’s.
8. Your partner must be perfect, according to your ideal
Now that you’ve accepted the flaws within yourself, it’s time to accept the flaws in your partner. Yes, it’s true, your partner isn’t perfect, either.
When you first met, your significant other was the man/woman of your dreams. You saw in them everything that you wanted. And then, you got to know them some more. The drug-induced state that you inevitably were in, what with all those love hormones, blinded you to your lover’s flaws, but as they begin to wear off, these little imperfections start to show themselves. Do not panic. Just embrace them. It’s a cliché, but really, no one is perfect. Least of all your partner.
9. You will never be bored
There might have been a time when everything you did together, whether it was walk in the park or watching Friends reruns, was just better. Now you find yourself day-dreaming mid-way through a conversation, where previously you’d talked through the night!
It’s not great to be at that stage in a relationship where the excitement starts to wear off. It’s a little like coming off a great ride. But look, if you’re gonna let it bum you out, you’re missing the opportunity to potentially go on that ride again. There are moments in every relationship, whether between you and your dog, your mom, your best friend, where you will feel slightly bored. And the absolute truth is that it’s not them, it’s you. That’s right. Make peace with it right now, because once you realize that it’s not everyone else’s responsibility to entertain you, you step up the ladder to becoming a fully-fledged adult and proper person.
Here’s the deal. If you’re feeling bored when you’re with your special somebody, maybe you’re just not in the right mood, regardless of who you’re with. Or maybe you guys are seriously doing something boring. Look, it’s not always going to be fun, but that’s just like life. So don’t expect it to be a wild party; sometimes the band needs to take a smoke break.
10. There will be no bumps in the relationship, ever
The last expectation that needs to be shattered is the idea that, similar to you and your boo, your relationship should be absolutely 100% perfect. You should have no fights, no problems, no irks, no irritations, no nothing – just unending, superhuman bliss. Where’s the fun in that?
A relationship that’s a little bumpy is interesting, exciting, different. It gives you the chance to explore who you are, get to know someone and all their different facets, and come to an understanding of the human condition. Eventually you’ll find that spending time with someone else is a pleasant experience, even when it’s not.
For more on relationship expectations, take a look at these articles:
10 Relationship Expectations Every Woman Should Have In Her Twenties
5 Ways Couples With Realistic Expectations Are Happier, More In Love, And Have Better Relationships.