Expectations in couple relationships

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Robert Maurer


Expectations in couple relationships

Excessive expectations can create serious problems for the stability of a romantic relationship. They are a real trap that is best avoided.

Last update: Augusts 30, 2022

Relationships are undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of life. Maybe that's why they often cause some headaches. But why do so many people end up getting entangled in complicated and suffocating love affairs? One of the main reasons concerns the expectations that, in the long run, become a real trap.

Surely you too will have an idea of ​​what a perfect love story could be. In most cases, however, we tend to abandon the sphere of reality, imagining and idealizing the partner not for what they are, but for how we want them to be. It ends up creating a high number of expectations which, inevitably, are not met. Repeatedly.

When a story begins to take flight, the imagination can get out of control, causing disappointment and bitterness. Until the lack of love arrives, that is the moment in which the wrong comparison between "ideal" and "real" is evident. Faced with this, many people decide to throw in the towel, since they do not agree to give up the dream they have created.

Because expectations cause problems

Some human behaviors can cause pain and suffering. Albert Ellis, the father of rational emotional therapy, said that what causes pain is not what happens. On the contrary, the fault lies in what we tell ourselves about what happened.

As soon as we start a new relationship, we know exactly how we want it to be. But if our new partner starts to disappoint our expectations, even in the slightest part, it will produce in us a lot of anger and frustration. And then there will be negative thoughts like: "I can't take it anymore, I can't stand it!" or "He's acting weird, he's changed."

With just a trivial example, it is clear that expectations are a dangerous trap for any relationship. The problem is complicated because our expectations often remain secret, that is, they are not shared with the partner. Unfortunately, most people "hope" that the other person understands for himself how he should behave. And this inevitably complicates things.

True repentance is triggered as soon as expectations are broken, we wonder why we started this relationship. But is it really necessary? Is there any alternative to this behavior, so useless and harmful to our well-being?

Avoid the negative consequences of expectations

Here are some tips that will allow us to keep the trap of expectations out of our relationship:

1- Be more flexible

Sometimes it seems that we are looking for a partner following the shopping list. We establish a priori a series of requirements that the other person must satisfy at all costs, demonstrating a rigidity that, however, we do not use even with ourselves. This is very unfair. The problem is that humans are rarely perfect, so it's nearly impossible for someone to fully meet the expectations created around an ideal partner.

Let's stop trying to find someone 100% perfect - they don't exist. Instead, let's try to experience the moment with a little more naturalness. Having expectations is fine, but we need to make sure they are not too rigid and focus on those aspects that are really important to you.

2- Explain what is not negotiable

What has been said so far, however, it does not mean that we must be satisfied. On the contrary, it is essential to ask ourselves what we really want, by exposing our limitations (and recognizing our shortcomings). After identifying what we are not willing to give in, it is time to talk about it with your partner.

This way, he will know exactly what is bothering us. It will be much easier to avoid arguments and quarrels. And, almost magically, what we considered to be insurmountable problems will disappear, giving a new opportunity for growth to the relationship.

3- Ask the partner to tell us about his faults

It is very good to know the other's point of view as well. In order for the relationship to be truly functional, we must discover and be aware of the defects and limitations of the person next to us. The easiest way to do this is, of course, to use dialogue.

Unfortunately, not everyone is honest about what's really important to their well-being. Therefore, if you see your partner faltering or unable to tell you what he needs and what really bothers him, you need to help him do it. Only by knowing his points of conflict can you avoid together the problems created by expectations that can trap the relationship.

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