Expectations in a Relationship

Keen Category: Love Advice

A couple frustrated with each other in a restaurant

Are the expectations you have in a relationship really yours, or are they an accumulation of what you've read or have been taught? Have you accepted the idea that, this is the way it should be? What you want in a relationship and what you have could very well be causing an inner conflict. You may be looking at your partner and saying, "Whoa, wait a minute! He should be doing such and such" … but who determined what he should be doing?

There are scads of books available today about fixing relationships, how to catch the perfect man, why men love bitches, how to behave in a relationship, whether or not he's just not that into you, how to tell if he is into you, that men are from Mars … well, you get the idea, and the list is endless. Point is, are you deriving what a relationship should be based on what Oprah, Dr. Phil, countless books and talk show hosts have to tell you? Or, are you allowing the person with whom you're in a relationship to be who he or she is and learn to adjust your perspectives?

Granted, certain behaviors are disrespectful, and no one that I know of wakes up in the morning with an enthusiastic, "Oh, yippee, I sure hope I get treated like scum today!" Mutual respect in a relationship is paramount to make a partnership work.

What I have discovered is that we all have an ideal in the corner of our mind of what our interaction with our loved one "should" be. Whether this is derived from watching, Leave It to Beaver (June as the perfect wife in her pearls) or Married with Children (Al secretly loves Kate, but is very degrading to her) – or, as mentioned above, from the books and famous people that tell us what we should expect. If your relationship is falling short of the commandments that dictate the shoulds and should nots, are you expecting it to change? Better yet, can you discard what the powerful "they" say, and just learn to adjust to what your relationship is instead of what you think it should be?

More disagreements and squabbles between two people are born out of what others dictate to us; someone else who doesn't have a clue about who you are or who your significant other is, insists on telling you that this is the way you should behave, resolve issues, and live happily ever after.

Happily ever after only comes in books. Relationships are a continual work in progress, keeping your ego in check, accepting certain things, and learning to choose your battles. Leaving the cap off the toothpaste isn't a battle worth the effort. Not telling you where he's going when he suddenly decides to go out for the evening- that one is worth the pursuit.

To genuinely allow your relationship to work, you have to get into a space where you allow each other to simply be the person he or she is. No one needs "fixing." Perceptions can be shifted. Behaviors can be altered. The key is to make sure that it's what you want, and not what you've been told!

Related Articles

Other Articles by Advisor "Jane Wilcox"