Setting Realistic Expectations in a Relationship
Understanding the Dos and Don’ts of Relationship Expectations
Relationships are supposed to bring joy and companionship, but often times, they can become a breeding ground for pointless arguments and conflicts. We’ve all encountered couples who seem to constantly bicker, and maybe we’ve even found ourselves in such situations. It’s important to ask ourselves, is this what a healthy relationship should look like?
Shifting Your Mindset for a Happier Relationship
The foundation of a happy relationship lies in understanding what to expect and what to let go of. By shifting your mindset, your relationship can become more peaceful, productive, and fulfilling. Learning how to set realistic expectations forms the basis of a successful partnership.
Standards vs. Expectations in a Relationship
Guidelines for Accepting What You Deserve
Standards are the guidelines that we set for ourselves in the present moment. They define what we want in a partner – similar values, sense of humor, attitude, and perspective on life. Expectations, on the other hand, are focused on the future. They are the actions we wish someone would take or an event we wish would happen. However, when these expectations are not met, they can lead to disappointment, sadness, and even anger.
The Power of Proximity
We are who we surround ourselves with, and our standards are influenced by those around us. Higher standards can lead to greater success, productivity, and self-belief. While it’s important to raise our standards, it’s equally important to recognize that our partner can meet all of our standards and still fall short of our expectations in a relationship.
The Problem With Unrealistic Expectations
The Root Cause of Bickering
Expectations in a relationship are subjective, biased, and can differ from person to person. The root cause of bickering is often unrealistic expectations. If both partners assume that the other person knows what they want without ever having a conversation about it, it can lead to tension and conflict.
The Importance of Communication
The key to avoiding conflict and setting realistic expectations in a relationship is communication. When both partners are on the same page about what a healthy relationship looks like, they can work together to create reasonable expectations. By articulating each other’s needs, they can create a happier and more fulfilling partnership.
Reasonable Expectations For a Healthy Relationship
It’s essential to understand that expectations have a place in a relationship, but they shouldn’t overshadow the importance of treating each other with love and respect. Having intimacy, passion, and support in a relationship are reasonable expectations, which fall under the category of standards.
On the other hand, unrealistic expectations can cause problems, such as wanting your partner to change who they are or expecting perfection. It’s essential to acknowledge that both you and your partner have different perspectives, and expecting them to feel the same way as you can lead to conflict.
Managing Expectations in a Healthy Relationship
A solution to dealing with mismatched expectations in a relationship is to focus on appreciation instead of differences. Fighting over trivial matters, like folding towels, can create unnecessary conflict. Rather than arguing over the small things, focus on what you appreciate about your partner and your relationship.
When disagreements do arise, consider if the argument is worth the emotional turmoil. Most likely, the answer is no. Remember, there are more productive and beneficial ways to strengthen your relationship.
Understanding what constitutes a quality partnership is crucial to overcoming expectations in a relationship. Tony’s 10 cardinal rules of love can provide a framework for building a healthy and fulfilling relationship.
1- Choose Appreciation Over Expectations
Trade expectations for appreciation, and your relationship – and life – will transform. Instead of dwelling on the negatives, focus on your partner’s positive qualities. It will take you a long way in your relationship. Maybe they didn’t do the dishes the way you wanted them to, but they made an effort to help out. They may have listened to you when you needed someone to talk to, or made you laugh when you were feeling down. There’s always something to appreciate, so pay attention. Remember why you fell in love with them in the first place. It wasn’t their domestic skills, but their warmth, kindness, and zest for life.
This mindset applies to all aspects of life, but it’s especially important in relationships. Appreciation can end the cycle of unhealthy expectations.
2- Show Compassion
Compassion is crucial in any relationship. Prioritize love over expectations to navigate your relationship successfully. Although managing expectations is necessary, keep in mind that expectations facilitate warmth. At the end of the day, your partnership is the most important thing.
3- Respect Your Partner
Respect is the foundation of any healthy relationship, whether it’s romantic or not. Show respect by valuing your partner’s perspective and needs. This is the key to effective communication. Instead of correcting them, redirect an argument in a playful and empathetic way. This helps you find solutions without causing unnecessary tension.
4- Be Considerate
Consideration is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship. Value your partner, their interests, and their expectations. Focus on your relationship, rather than your relationship rules. Although the rules may seem important, prioritizing your partner over them allows both of your expectations to be fulfilled.
5- Prioritize Quality Time
Spending quality time with your partner is an essential expectation in any relationship. Don’t let your relationship take a back seat. Strengthen your connection during tough times by creating rituals and traditions that reinforce your bond. By doing so, you show that your relationship is a top priority.
6- Trust Your Relationship
When learning how to manage expectations in a relationship, avoid questioning your partner’s intentions. It erodes trust and can damage even the strongest partnerships. Remember that just because you’re facing issues doesn’t mean the relationship is the problem.
7- Break Negative Patterns
If you find yourself in an argumentative cycle with your partner, change your approach. Continuing the same pattern leads to a circular loop where neither party feels heard or validated. Take the high road and step back from the argument. Use the time to regroup and consider the root cause of the disagreement. When you make this a habit, you set a high standard for your relationship.
8- Avoid Threats
Mutual dialogue and give-and-take are crucial expectations in any relationship. Threatening your partnership with ultimatums shuts down communication and is counterproductive. If you feel like you’re at the point of making threats, take a break and reevaluate the conversation.
9- Continuously Improve
Learning how to manage expectations in a relationship is a constant process. Regularly touch base with your partner to ensure that both of your needs are being met. Don’t settle for stagnation or assume that everything is fine just because you haven’t argued that day. Commit to constant improvement, and build an extraordinary relationship.
10- Don’t Compare
Avoid comparing your relationship to others’. Everyone has their own unique personalities and needs, and your partnership is no exception. Don’t adopt other couples’ expectations and standards. Work with your partner to develop your own expectations in your relationship.
Building a healthy partnership takes effort, but the rewards are immeasurable.