Have you ever felt dissatisfaction in your relationship? It is possible that this is because you have different expectations regarding your relationship .
In this article we will explore just this topic: how our expectations of the relationship lead us to live the relationship in a certain way, for better or for worse.
Expectations in the Relationship
From childhood we form in our minds concepts of how the world works, about how things are around us and, of course, how a couple “should be”. For example, there are many people who believe that man has to be the one to take the initiative, to conquer, etc.
In fact, a large number of studies point out that the central aspect of relationships is not the characteristics of our partner or the present moment we are living with her, but the idealized perception and expectations we have about our relationship (García Figueroa, 2005).
According to Galindo (2002), expectations of the partner are one of the factors that influence the choice of one partner or another. And these expectations work as a trigger for conflicts and even lead couples to divorce. Why does this happen?
It seems that we perceive reality influenced by our desires and needs , attributing attributes that help us to overcome these obstacles in life. The risk involved in basing a relationship on the satisfaction of our expectations is dangerous, because we may find our expectations unfulfilled and a gift, a love failure. Isn’t this something to think about?
The worst part of all this is that it is something that people don’t know about and don’t even think about when they start their relationship. In other words, there are many couples who come together because of the attraction of the first moment, and that is how, without a word about what each one expects from the other, the relationship begins.These two people will not realize their different expectations until a conflict arises. A conflict about what? For anything.
- Maybe you’re interested in: “The 14 types of couple: how is your relationship?”
The spark that ignites conflict
If one of the members starts to see that his partner is not behaving as a boyfriend or girlfriend should, this will already be a reason for discussion . The more the expectations and concepts of what a relationship should be like differ between the two, the worse it will be; the greater the disagreement. People become disillusioned or more satisfied with their relationship as their expectations are fulfilled.
The Journal of Family Psychology published research by Sivan George-Levi comparing the expectations of couples with the satisfaction they showed. The results showed that people who expected too much from their relationships were consistently dissatisfied .
How does it hurt to have expectations that are too high?
The expectations of how a couple has to be are formed at a very early age, from what we have been told, we have seen around us or even in the movies. Too high expectations of how the other person should behave can result in the person not meeting our requirements . This will inevitably cause a conflict in the couple, so it is worth checking whether what we are asking for is, in fact, realistic.
How does it hurt to have too low of a set of expectations?
If this is your case, watch out. Having low expectations can lead you to make no demands on your partner. You say, “Well, that’s all there is to it” and end up settling for little when you could have much more. Don’t fall into this trap . Besides, if you don’t demand, you might not get and you will think it is because life or your partner is like that. Don’t settle for less.
How does not having expectations hurt you?
Without expectations you don’t know what you want. And if you don’t know what you want… how are you going to go about it? How are you going to tell your partner which things feel wrong or which things don’t? Just because you don’t realize it doesn’t mean you don’t have expectations. Even when a person is in a casual relationship and says that they have no expectations of the other person, they have them; in this case, the idea of having a good time and leaving. What do you expect from the other person? Nothing. A “no commitment”. That the other person does not behave like a couple with whom they have a commitment. And that’s an expectation. Have you ever considered this?
The need to find emotional balance
If you notice that you and your partner have different expectations of your relationship, it may be time to address the issue directly. Exposing your opinions will help you to be clear about what you can expect from each other, as well as not to get frustrated when your wishes are not fulfilled and to understand your partner’s behaviours and attitudes.
- Galindo Leal, H. (2002). Unfulfilled prenuptial expectations and their relationship to marital failure (Master’s thesis). Universidad Autónoma de Nueva León, Monterrey, Mexico.
- García Figueroa, A. V; Sánchez Aragón, R. (2005). Expectations: Building an ideal? In the II Meeting on the participation of women in science. Conference held on the 25th anniversary of UNAM, Mexico.
- Sánchez Aragón, Rozzana; (2009). Expectations, perception and maintenance strategies in love relationships. Teaching and Research in Psychology, July-December, 229-243.