Love and Relationships

Expectations: How They Are The Destroyers of Relationships

Have you ever been let down because something did not turn out the way you anticipated? We all have high expectations at one point or another, only to be disappointed when things do not turn out the way we desired. When those expectations are not fulfilled, we need to keep in mind the way it affects us. Hence, the purpose of this article: to outline how relationship expectations can be damaging.

“Expectation is the root of all heartache.”

William Shakespeare

It is common for most of us to carry a set of high expectations when we are pursuing a relationship with someone, whether that someone is our significant other or one of our close friends. That said, we once had somebody who had placed high relationship expectations on us. They expect to behave in a particular manner, while we expect them to portray themselves according to what they have posted on their Instagram bio.

Usually, our first serious relationship is the harshest one. Then again, sometimes life lessons must be acquired the hard way. It is fair to say that when our first relationship ended on a sour note, we have this hope that the next one will be like the first. For the purpose of this article, only the positive elements of the relationship that you liked and served you favourably will be highlighted. Perhaps when you were in your first relationship, you appreciate someone who knows your favourite meals. Even if the relationship did not go well, you know what you expect in your next relationship.

As humans, we are hard-wired to hold on to the favourable aspects of previous relationships and look for someone whose thinking is no different than ours, holding our successor to challenging, and at times irrational, expectations. Regardless of the nature of the expectations, their presence alone can tear a relationship apart. We recognise the dangers of imposing high expectations on our mate. We actually do. However, we are irrational creatures; we assure ourselves that we deserve the best of the best and nothing less. We inform ourselves that it is acceptable to carry high expectations just because everyone does the same.

“When you have expectations, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.”

Ryan Reynolds

When I was single, my personal life and the lives of others around me served as inspirations. I took note of it all to gain the wisdom and lessons of romance, relationships and being a loner. In that process, I identified what I want and do not want in a relationship. Even though I am no longer single, my partner and I do not have high expectations for each other, and I am proud of that. My exes thought they knew every detail about me, but eventually, when the truth about me surfaced, they could not be more wrong.

Diving into a relationship with a bag of high expectations is no different than seeing someone for the first time and expecting to marry that person – it will be miserable, embarrassing and the probability of the relationship failing is high. For all the first-timers and those who have been together for years thanks to the influence of expectations: you are bound to be disappointed. Now, I am not saying that having low standards for yourself is the way to go – we deserve the best. What I am conveying here is that when you start a relationship with someone, expect nothing so that when something fabulous occurs, it is a wonderful thing.

Having a set of expectations in a relationship is a recipe for failure. No single soul wants to be with someone who expects them to go to the moon and back. If you have been in a relationship for a significant amount of time and expect your partner to go down on one knee to propose, but you have not communicated it to him, you too are on your way to a world of disappointment. We are not born to read the minds of everyone around us. So, even if you decided to drop numerous hints for him to take note of, chances are, he still does not have a single idea that you are expecting a ring on your finger.

Be with someone who surprises you in both little and big ways, out of love and not because of the expectations you have set for them. Be with someone who is willing to do things for you because they love you, not because you tell them you want them to behave in a specific fashion. If that relationship crumbles, do not move on to the next one expecting the same. Everyone is unique – every individual has different ways of expressing love and appreciation for you.

As opposed to what Beyonće communicated to you, not every guy needs to kneel before you. Guys, the same applies to you. Just because your father has sacrificed so much for you does not mean that you should pursue a relationship and expecting your partner to display the same level of commitment. Additionally, not everyone adheres to the gender stereotypes where the female likes performing mom-like duties and the male enjoys being a workaholic.

“I don’t have expectations. Expectations in your life just lead to giant disappointments.”

Michael Landon

I believed the most prominent misunderstanding of expectations in relationships is the honeymoon stage. Who does not love that magical time when your partner is still perfect, you are very much in love, and there are no problems between both of you? However, for many of us, that period only lasts for a couple of months, and the ranting begins to rear its ugly head. I have discovered that successful relationships are the ones where the honeymoon stage goes on indefinitely—just pure heart to heart communication, all day, every day. Now, that is the kind of relationship everyone should strive for.

Do not think every relationship you pursue will go smoothly. That is just wishful thinking. Successful relationships avoid this pitfall from the very first date. They continue to love each other in their own ways on their own time, unite as one to address conflicts, and treat each other respectfully and with dignity.

No relationship is perfect—every relationship has its highs and lows. On the one hand, having a romantic relationship is easy. On the other hand, maintaining it is difficult because it requires the cooperation and commitment of both partners. Successful relationships are also the ones where there are no expectations between both partners. Again, a genuine relationship is where both partners appreciate each other’s shortcomings, love each other, and demonstrate this through their words and actions.

Partners in successful relationships can serve as reminders, letting you know that you must not put in place any expectations on your partner and that if something beautiful comes out of this relationship, it is because of the love and appreciation for one another.

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