Every time you enter into a relationship, especially a romantic one, you bring certain expectations with you. Maybe you’re expecting this person to be “the one”; maybe you expect this person to be the perfect lover; the perfect conversationalist; the boy next door; or some other descriptor. Whatever you’re expecting, you’re most likely going to be disappointed simply because you have expectations.
Expectations are the biggest cause of relationship malfunctions, because the moment someone doesn’t meet your expectations you’re hurt, angry, and frustrated; yet, rarely do we even understand why. Most of the time we don’t even realize that we have expectations, and since we don’t recognize them for what they are, we can’t communicate them to the person we have the expectations of. Yet still, the expectations are there, and when the person doesn’t meet these unstated demands, we become upset.
I can’t tell you how many times people tell me how upset they are with a spouse or significant other because this person didn’t get the reaction they expected from the spouse or significant other. When I ask them whether they told their spouse or significant other what they expected, they either shake their head or look at me blankly.
If you don’t tell someone what your expectations are, how can you be upset if they’re not met? It just makes no sense. And yet, you know what, I used to do the same thing myself.
How many times would I come home from work and expect that my husband had done some chore that needed doing, even though I hadn’t left a note, hadn’t emailed or phoned to let him know it needed doing. And how often did that expectation turn into anger? But how wrong is that? He didn’t know I expected him to do this chore, he had no idea I was expecting anything from him.
We all do it, and then we wonder why our relationships are so fraught with anger and upset.
Of course, then there are those who continue the same pattern of behavior with their spouse or significant other always expecting that the spouse’s or significant other’s reactions will change. To me that is the height of absurdity. It’s like looking in a mirror and expecting to see a super model even though you know you’re still you. Yet, people do it all the time. They’ll charge in nitpicking on the same topic, in the same manner, using the same tone and words that they always do, and then complain when the spouse or significant other reacts the same way as last time (usually with anger and defensiveness).
Expectations. Sometimes, you have to forget what you want, ignore what you’re expecting, and just accept what you have.
For example, if you wanted Orlando Bloom, but you married Travis Tritt, then stop expecting Travis to be or act like Orlando. If you married a dreamer, but you want to live like Rockefeller, well, guess what…it probably won’t happen unless you become the major breadwinner.
Expecting someone to change to suit your wants, is one of the worst expectations of all. People are what they are, and while we can all change, changing to meet someone else’s expectations of us, is not a good motivator. Expecting a dreamer to buckle down and dedicate themselves to making money so you can live like Pares Hilton is bound to lead to disappointment, both for you and for the dreamer. They won’t be happy doing the 9 – 5 thing working just to make money, and you won’t be happy when they fail to live up to your expectations.
Best to find someone whom you can accept for who and what they are, rather than creating a relationship based on expectations that will most likely never be met. Either that, or learn to tell each other what expectations you each have, so you can both decide whether they can be met. Communication is a wonderful thing, and sometimes knowing what someone expects of you can alleviate the disappointment for both of you.
Talk. Accept. Love.