Do we expect too much from our relationship as a couple? Despite all the dreams and expectations, sometimes this bond leaves us very little, a love that does not satisfy us and does not nourish us, gaps that lead to solitude.
Written and verified by the psychologist GetPersonalGrowth.
Last update: 15 November 2022
One of the most common problems in couples today are unfulfilled expectations. Many of us engage in an unreserved, open-hearted relationship. We repeat to ourselves that it is the right one, that this time it really is, and that we will finally achieve that emotional stability to grow together with another person in a shared project. Until, little by little, the cold of disappointment peeps out.
"It's just that you have too many illusions and you are not realistic" they keep repeating to us. “You have too many hopes and for this you are disappointed”, they keep telling us. It might be true. Some people tend to make themselves castles in the air and place too much hope in a person they ultimately don't know yet.
However, if there is one thing we need to keep in mind it is that having expectations is fine, and desirable. Thanks to them, we see on the horizon the most basic of our aspirations: to be happy, to feel reciprocated, loved, and to start a new life path for which it is worth getting involved despite the difficulties.
If one of these aspects is missing, emptiness, lack of affection and the distinct feeling that we are missing something come in.
Unfulfilled expectations in the couple relationship: what to do about it?
Expectations weave the texture of our relationships, whether they are in a couple, friendship or family. In them we place our trust in others in the long and short term; we make clear our desires, our hopes and the elements that make us feel safe, satisfied and happy. As anticipated, feeding expectations is good, as well as delineating them and bringing them back to our horizon.
The problem arises when "what I expect" does not arrive, when the expected reward does not exist in reality. This can happen in two cases. The first is that the assumptions about the future were huge and unreal. In other words, we shoot ourselves in the foot by aiming for the impossible.
The other reason is obvious: expectations are adequate and possible, but the relationship does not reach the minimum standards of satisfaction. Because sometimes disillusionment makes its way like a crack that creaks under our feet. What we experience in everyday life is not what we expected. Love is there, it still exists, but it doesn't seem enough to us.
Does it hurt to place our expectations in a couple's relationship?
Spesso it is said that you live better by making room for the unexpected. It may be true. Yet, as thinking beings, we need to have a minimal perception of control over the facts that are happening around us.
Expectations are personal beliefs, assumptions about the future that we would like to come true. They are also sophisticated mechanisms that allow us to predict or imagine certain aspects to know how we might react.
Having clarified this aspect, it's natural to ask yourself if it hurts to put your expectations in a relationship of couple.
No, it's not counterproductive to lay out some expectations in our minds about what we'd like the relationship to be like. These assumptions must be realistic, adapt to reality and be as objective as possible.
For example, it is normal to expect not to be cheated on, as is to expect the relationship to last and not end after two months. Likewise, it is fair to expect to receive support from your partner on difficult days.
How to act in case of unfulfilled expectations in the couple relationship
There are many people who feel dissatisfied with their relationship as a couple. They feel disappointed and, in some cases, even betrayed when they realize that what they have imagined does not happen.
There is love and we know we are reciprocated, however there are many out of tune notes in this couple score. What can we do in these cases?
- I'm realist? First of all, we need to think. Have we placed unrealistic expectations about our relationship? It is always good to clarify the origin of our ideas and needs. If we find that many are mere illusions, and that little or nothing reflect reality, then we must replace them. Doing so will help us avoid frustration and disappointment.
- Do your expectations coincide with mine? When we feel dissatisfied, when we perceive that things are not going as we thought, then it is time to stop and talk; it's time to clarify what we expect from each other. Sometimes these conversations can reveal to us that our partner has different goals or that perhaps we are neglecting important aspects.
- What are we doing to meet our expectations? If the couple aspires to the same goals, it is useful to investigate the person's degree of involvement. Sometimes we take everything for granted and that kills our relationship.
A trip for two in which expectations and unforeseen events can coexist
Unfulfilled expectations in a couple's relationship are often a reason for breaking up. What happens is when we feel that the partner does not accompany us on the journey undertaken. The wagon is the same, and so is the ticket, but the destination does not coincide. These are complicated situations that all of us have had to face.
The ideal is to always set realistic goals that adapt to our desires, which take into account our priorities and our values (betrayals, lack of communication, lies, emotional detachment, etc.).
Once these expectations have been established and mutually shared, it is always good to leave room for the unexpected, for the inconveniences that allow us to discover ourselves, to face challenges together to grow.
Finding a partner, starting a new chapter, does not mean being with a person who 100% reflects all our expectations and our wishes. It means finding someone whose journey is complementary to ours.