Monthly Archives: June 2017

My Miscellany: Avoiding Unrealistic Expectations


So we’ve been talking in the last few posts about unrealistic expectations.  I talked about what they are, why they happen, and I created a great 30 question quiz you and your partner can have fun answering.  The main reason I have been posting on this is that I have been unfairly using unrealistic expectations with my girl, and I wanted to learn how to stop before I pushed her completely away.

I’d like to get into how to manage expectations and ways to openly express realistic expectations and how to make those expectations agreements.  Here are the links to the previous 3 posts:

Relationships Unrealistic Expectations (1)

Relationships Unrealistic Expectations (2)

30 Great Relationship Questions

Steps in Identifying and Handling Expectations

1.  Identify Faulty Assumptions–For some reason, when we get close to a person, we start to demand that this person act in a certain way.  We reason that “if you loved me, you would…”  This type of reasoning is based on two faulty assumptions

  1. That love can be defined in a certain way
  2. That the other person agrees with this definition

Neither assumption is reasonable, and once you accept that your way of thinking is not the only right way, you’ll find it easy to reject the assumption and therefore adjust or even completely drop your expectations.

2.  Seek To Understand–People show love in different ways, as explained by Gary Chapman in his book “The Five Love Languages”:  words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, gifts, and physical touch.  Someone else may speak a love language that you do not understand because your love language is different.

When someone tries to love you in their own way, it is you who may not understand.  This does not mean that they are not trying.  It is not their actions that you need to change, it is your understanding.

3.  Observe Carefully–When you stop expecting a certain behavior from others, you free yourself to see more clearly.  You will start to observe what they actually do, instead of constantly seeing the gap between what they do and what you want them to do.

4.  Recognize The Consequences–You would probably be upset if somebody loved you only when you behaved a certain way.  Spouses or partners who feel they are not good enough for their partners may seek acceptance somewhere else.

Relationships are not transactions.  If you’re in a relationship because of what you get out of it, it is a transaction.  We all have needs that have to be met, but it is futile to expect the other person to meet these needs.   It is easy to let go of expectations once we accept responsibility to meet our needs ourselves, and are in a relationship not for what we can get but for who we can be.

5.  Ask For Agreement–If an expectation you have is important because it touches on non-negotiable values or morality, seek to convert that expectation into an agreement.  Agreements are not expectations.  Expectations exist in your own mind, often without the knowledge of the other person.  Agreements are explicit verbal commitments by both parties on a set of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors.

Decide on what is non-negotiable to you.  Highlight these to the other person and explain why it is so important.  I’ve found that calm discussions work much better in this case than yelling matches.  IF you cannot convert a non-negotiable expectation to an agreement, you’ll have to make a tough choice.  You have to decide whether to let go of the expectation or the person.

Let go of your expectations.  With one simple change of thinking, you free two people at one time.  The other person is free from having to behave in a certain way, and you are free to love better.  Letting go is hard, but definitely worth it.

6.  Talk Openly About Your Unrealistic Expectations–Telling your loved one that you realize, for example, that it is unreasonable for her to always be available for texting, and explaining you will no longer have such an expectation, will surely relieve her that the burden of your unrealistic expectation has been lifted from her back.  And yes, that is an example of an unrealistic expectation I have had for my own partner.

Three Keys To Managing Relationship Expectations

  1.  Identifying Relationship Expectations–It may be near impossible to identify every expectation we have of every relationship in our lives.  Still, we can try to identify as many as we can for the most important relationships.  This is especially important for relationships that are already under strain.  This happens when one or both parties are not living up to the other’s expectations, or quarreling about whether these expectations are reasonable.

Make a list of all the expectations you have of your partner relationship.  It helps to start each sentence with “I expect…”  This reinforces the fact that expectations don’t exist out there, but only in our minds.  It also helps us take responsibility for our relationship expectations.

Making this list can be quite a wake up call, as we usually don’t realize how many expectations we have of a person.  Seeing our list in writing can also help us to get rid of the unrealistic expectations, so that we can focus on dealing with those that are most important.  Once you make your list, cross off all the ones YOU YOURSELF do not do 100% of the times.  Then, put yourself in the other person’s shoes and honestly ask yourself if what you are expecting is reasonable or not.  That should pare your list down pretty significantly.

2.  Communicating Relationship Expectations–There are two things to bear in mind when communicating relationship expectations.  Firstly, focus only on the most important so we don’t overwhelm the other person.  Secondly, choose the right time.  Ideally we should communicate only the single most important expectation we have and deal with that.  However, it may be tiresome to have this conversation about relationship expectations several times, so focusing on the most important three at one time is a good compromise.

Whenever possible choose the right time.  Communicate the expectation BEFORE there is a chance to fail to meet it.

3.  Seeking Agreement on Relationship Expectations–An expectation that is not identified nor communicated remains an expectation.  Once an expectation is communicated, however, there is a chance of reaching agreements.  It is crucial that in seeking agreement, we respect the other person’s right not to agree.

If the other person is aware of your relationship expectations and accepts these are reasonable, there is a high chance of reaching agreement.  Present your expectation in as reasonable a way as possible.

The other person may not agree to our relationship expectations for two reasons:

  1.  They find the expectation unreasonable.
  2. They cannot commit to meeting it.

When there is no agreement, your expectation remains an expectation.  You will then have to decide what to do about it.  It’s very difficult to let go of expectations you have of the future and of your partner.  Still, it’s the one thing that can improve your relationship dramatically.

Allowing our happiness to depend on someone else will make us miserable since we can’t control another’s actions.  It also places a huge burden on the other person to make us happy, a burden that is not fair because no single person can fulfill all our needs.

Final Tips

 1.   Live In The Moment–Not everyone has the blessing of being with a person who loves them.  Whenever you find your mind wandering into the future, bring it back into the moment and enjoy it, whether you’re with her or doing something else in your life. This moment will never come again.  Live it to the fullest.

2.  Be Grateful–It’s very human to desire certain outcomes.  Only those who learn to be grateful can escape the never-ending spiral of wanting more rather than being happy with what we have.  And we have so much, if only we had eyes to see.  Whenever you find yourself wishing for more in the relationship, shift your focus instead to what you already have, and count your blessings.

Final Thought

I have learned quite a lot over the last day or so about my shortcomings in my relationship.  I have certainly come to appreciate not only why I have been doing this, but also what to avoid and how.  I do plan on one other post regarding using CBT and Emotion Regulation when you might find your emotions getting caught up–usually because of an unrealistic expectation–and how to keep yourself centered and avoid further harm to your partner and yourself.

Having realistic expectations for others involves realizing that all of us are less than perfect.  Instead of looking to others to meet our needs, we must take responsibility for our own life and make necessary changes that are in our best interest.  We must leave our self-blame behind and find ways to untwist our thinking and behavior to make our lives more fulfilling and manageable.  It is important to value and accept our partners and friends for who they are.  It is in our best interest not to spend our energy trying to change them to fit an image of what we believe we need and what they can provide for us!

My Miscellany: Unrealistic Expectations (2)


So in my other post Relationships Unrealistic Expectations (1),  I basically introduced you to the fact that I have slowly burying my girl under unrealistic expectations.  My goal in posting some things over this weekend is that I could gain a better understanding as to WHY I was doing that, WHAT unrealistic expectations are and HOW I can prevent myself from this type of behavior.

Unrealistic Expectations

Often we have an idea of what our partner should be like.  We might expect them to clean up after themselves, be considerate, to always think of us first, to surprise us, to support us, to always have a smile, to always be present.  Not necessarily these expectations, but almost always we have expectations of our partner.

Having some expectations is fine–we should expect our partner to be faithful, for example.  But sometimes, without realizing it ourselves, we have expectations that are too high

to meet.  Our partner isn’t perfect–no one is.  We can’t expect them to be cheerful and lo

ving every minute of the day–everyone has their moods.  We can’t expect them to always think of us, as they will obviously think of themselves or others sometimes too.  We can’t expect them to be exactly as we are, as everyone is different.

High expectations lead to disappointment and frustration, especially if we do not communicate these expectations.  How can we expect our partner to meet these expectations if they don’t know about them?  More importantly, how can we expect our partners to meet expectations that are too high or unrealistic?  How do we know if they are unrealistic in the first place?  Here’s a thorough list of unrealistic expectations.  Check off each one you think you are guilty of, or perhaps that someone expects of you.

((I have put !! next to the ones I feel I sometimes engage in, a few more than I thought, being brutally honest with stuff like this can be extremely uncomfortable, but do you really want to lose your love?  I know I sure as fuck don’t.))


We will meet all of each other’s needs. (!!)
They will know what I’m thinking or feeling without me having to say (and vice versa).
They will never want to discuss feelings or talk about the future.
We will spend all our time together. (!!)
We will agree on everything.
They will earn a certain amount of money or have a certain status.
I will not budge from my ideals of how they should look.
They will never challenge me.
They will always make me feel happy.  (!!)
We will immediately know that we belong together, so we will definitely get married.
They will always do what I say.
I will not have to change, but they will change for me.
They will be stronger in their faith, so they will always know what to do.
I will only date the person I know God has told me to marry.
It will be easy.

My partner should always give me unconditional positive regard and constant reinforcement (!!)
My partner should always take responsible for all my feelings, happiness, and well- being.
My partner should always compliment me- and always tell me he/she loves me. (!!)
My partner should be the person I imagine her to be- or- who I want her to be.
My partner and I should have all the same likes, beliefs, wants, and needs.
My partner should be able to know what I am thinking, feeling; and always know my wants and needs.
My partner should spend all of his/her free time with me- never apart. (!!)
My partner should be sexual – all the time- anytime. (!!)
Relationship should always have passion and excitement- never boring. (!!)
When I assign my attention, value, and time to my partner, he/she will reciprocate (!!)

Yeah, doesn’t look pretty does it?  Well, if you read my earlier blog post you will know that much of time this is not a conscious choice you make.  There are many factors involved in this type of behavior–unless of course your are a sociopath, and why would you be reading this blog anyway?  The good news is there’s help.  It’s called KNOCK THE SHIT OFF!

Actually, I’ve got a pretty good mass of information I boiled down here, and then I want to talk about using CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), and Emotion Regulation skills that will tidy up this behavior for you.  Finally, it is very important for you to be honest with your partner and ask them to help recognize when you are engaging in these expectations!  Before you know it, your relationship will rocket ship to a new orbit—oops, unrealistic–will be at a much more harmonious place than you even thought was possible!


We will have fun together.
We will be open with each other and grow in trust and commitment.
I will remain true to myself as I seek to change for the better.
We will work through disagreements.
We will have a similar view of relationships.
Sometimes we will need some space, but we will always try to communicate well.
We will share core beliefs and values, and enjoy debating areas where we differ.
We will seek to bring out the best in each other.
We will consider each other’s needs.
We will spend time apart.
We will encourage each other.
We will make every effort to talk to one another openly and honestly.
We will share a connection that we will want to nurture into something more.
We will be open to God speaking to us, together and individually, about our relationship.
To be treated respectfully
To have a partner who is caring, supportive, loyal
To share common interests (not all)
To compromise and negotiate when problems arise
To feel safe, secure
To respect personal feelings
To be trustworthy and honest with each other
To be empathetic or sympathetic
To be connected/close, more often than not
To have a satisfying sexual relationship
To be emotionally and physically faithful
To not abuse alcohol or drugs
To feel like best friends

The one thing that shatters relationships and ruins friendships more than any other is expectations.  When we say that someone is not meeting our ‘needs’, we usually mean that he or she is not living up to our expectations.  True needs are very few, but expectations are limitless.

When a person’s behavior does not match your expectations, you can try to change their behavior, or you could let go of your expectations.  The first is an exercise in frustration and causes untold damage to relationships.  The second is also difficult, but possible and worthwhile.  Learn to let go.

Coming Up:

  1.  Understanding Unrealistic Expectations
  2.  Steps To Avoiding Unrealistic Expectations
  3. CBT and Emotion Regulation
  4. 50 Question Relationship Quiz
  5. Letter To My Love

Have a great Relationship PDF, on me!  Click below to actual file:

Relationship Guide

My Miscellany: 30 Great Questions


As part of this brief series on Relationships and Unrealistic Expectations, I took the following quiz and tried to be as honest as possible.  There is a link to the printable version.  Take some time and do this with your partner, it’s a great way to see what is going on with you and with them!

1. Do you completely trust each other?

Yes, I believe we completely trust one another.  That being said, I am aware that some of my behaviors with her may be seen as lack of trust.  I believe now they are just symptomatic of me pushing unrealistic expectations onto her.

2.  Do you believe in soul mates, and if so, do you believe you are each other’s?

I am not sure I believe in soul mates as it is generally understood.  I do believe that we are highly compatible souls with an uncanny energy connection.

  1. When was the last time you said, “I love you?” If it’s been a while, why?

Today, and everyday.

  1. Are you satisfied with the intimacy you share?

For a long distance relationship I can say that it is most satisfying.  I have mentioned to Bec that I would like her to take more of an initiative, but I recognize now that it might be a bit before she is comfortable doing that.  I was taking this personally, but now I see again that I had been pressing an unrealistic expectation onto her.

  1. How often do you laugh together?

Everyday, and often.

  1. Do you feel you have made personal sacrifices for your relationship, and have they been reciprocated?

I don’t think I have had to make as many personal sacrifices as she has.  She stays up well beyond her bedtime so we can talk.  She spends an inordinate amount of time during her working day texting with me.  She has done far more sacrificing than I have and I need to tell her that I appreciate that more often, though I do

  1. When you think of your partner, do you smile?

Always, always, always.

  1. Do you feel threatened when others find your partner attractive, and why?

No, not threatened, but I have told her it is something I will need to adapt to the fact that she has male friends.  But threatened?  Not the way we have sex.

  1. Do you believe your partner is your biggest advocate?

Most definitely.

  1. How do you feel about your partner’s views on finances?

We share pretty much the exact same views.

  1. Do you enjoy spending time with your partner’s relatives? Friends?

Doesn’t apply, she’s almost 3,700 miles away lol.

  1. Do either of you dredge up resentments in arguments, and why have you struggled to let them go?

We haven’t really had all that many arguments.  I think we have had maybe 4, mostly caused by me.  In one instance it might have been mutual.  That being said I know that I don’t have any resentments, and I believe she does not either.  But I am not 100% sure.

  1. How do you feel when your partner arrives home after being away?

Well, I’ll relate it to not being able to text her or talk with her after 3 or 4 hours, it’s exciting and rewarding to be in her presence, always.

  1. Is your partner your best friend?

Many times over, for the most part.  Though recently I have noticed less of a tendency toward friendship and more toward the emotional partner side reacting to a few of our more difficult situations.  It’s hard to balance those two aspects.

  1. Is there a secret you are keeping that if your partner knew, you feel you would lose them?


  1. Do you feel that your partner accepts you?

Absolutely 100% unequivocally.

  1. When did you realize you had fallen in love, and how do you feel when you think about it?

Well, the emotions became clear to me the day she produced two lists itemizing many important aspects of her life and character.  But it would have to be 2 or 3 weeks after that when I identified it as such.  It felt amazing that I could be so lucky to find such an incredible woman and even more incredible person.

  1. Have you seen each other at your best and worst?

She probably has seen me close to my worst, even though she is not here lol.  I am not sure I want to know what her worst is.

  1. Would you ever consider having an affair? Why? Why not?

Never.  Why would I have an affair on my love, my life?  I’d just stay single.

  1. Are you excited about your future together?

More than excited.  But I realize that I have to temper that feeling with reality and a healthy dose of patience.

  1. Do you feel your relationship is a true partnership?

I think it is on the whole.  I still feel, and even with the fact that I have placed unrealistic expectations on her from time to time, that I would like to see her blossom into the person she really is sooner than later.  But I am patient, I’ll wait a very very long time.

  1. When was your last romantic outing?

Well we can’t take outings, per se, but you gave me something to think about there.

  1. Does it bother you if your partner has friends of the opposite sex, and why?

Yes, but not to the degree that it will hamper our relationship.  I am aware, however, that it is something I will learn to accept because it is important to her.

  1. Do you accept each other’s belief systems?

Yes, luckily we both seem to share these essential believes to the singlest idea!

  1. When was the last time you talked about your future together, and were you on the same page?

We talked about our future on Friday, and I was shocked to learn that, while she agrees with our plans and our future, she was not willing to stake a vow on it.  That really and truly hurt me.  I have to figure out where to draw the line on my romantic notions.

  1. Do you feel as if you can communicate without saying a word?

Yes, I believe we can when we just look at each other.  Not literally, but we feel that emotion shining through.  I can see her face now.

  1. What is your happiest memory of your time together? Your worst? Are there more happy memories than unhappy ones?

When she told me she loved me.  When I pissed her off over some stupid texts.  Many, many more happy memories than unhappy ones.

  1. What is a relationship deal breaker for you, and have you overlooked one in this relationship?

If she ever cheated on me, I could never recover from that.

  1. How do you feel about the last, in-depth conversation you and your partner had?

I don’t know how in depth it was.  I am not sure I was 100% satisfied that she was empathetic about me position.  I am also not sure how convinced she was that she was wrong about a few minor things.  But we were able to discuss it fairly thoroughly.

  1. Do you show your love for each other often, and if not, why?

Yes, I think we do for the most part.


Get The Quiz File Here!

My Miscellany: Unrealistic Expectations (1)


You might want to refill your coffee for this.  I have been in an incredible relationship with Bec for just over 3.5 months.  (HI!)  My temptation here is to write it all out for you, but I won’t; it’s not the purpose of my post.

There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that will be together forever.  I thought I knew what love was, boy was I wrong! And you know what?  We WILL be forever together, if I manage to get my head out of my ass.  Let me explain:

With very few exceptions, things have been going along incredibly well.  But over the last two weeks or so I began to feel more and more distraught.  Why didn’t she seem to respond as I thought?  Why wasn’t she putting out the emotions I expected?  Why wasn’t she answering my questions about “issues” I was having?  Notice any trend in that paragraph?  Ya, too many she’s and not enough I’s.

Also, pretty much through our entire relationship I have not been handling my emotions very well.  Feeling emotions too intensely, feeling them too often, creating emotions and situations, and on and on.  I knew better than to not apply my Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Skills to my relationship; they have been working so well in other areas of my life.  But I failed to take notice of my lack of work on this.  Bottom line:

Yesterday I had two major emotionally demanding episodes that made me realize, I had to take a step back and take a hard look at what was happening.  There was no way I was going to crash and burn Bec and Me. YOU CAN BET THE FARM ON THAT!  So I told her I was taking the weekend to figure things out.  Ya, a whole two days.  But I’m a quick learner.

During my morning coffee I was contemplating how I got us into this mess, and how I was going to go through an entire weekend without my best friend,  A friend who I had been in contact with every single day without fail since February 22, 2017.  And suddenly two words just hit me like lightning:  emotional pressure.

Yes!  That’s what it must be like dealing with me sometimes!  I put her in an emotional pressure cooker…wait a minute, that sounds a bit odd.  I grabbed my phone and within a minute I came across truly dreadful words:  UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS.  Ugh.  The very thing I promised her I would not do, I was doing with full force.  I had always told her that I never wanted to overshadow her, that I always wanted to make sure she has the room to be who she was and how she was.  And I wasn’t delivering.

A favorite thing I love to say to her is that “I will not walk behind you, so you might feel me pushing.  I will not walk in front of you, so you might feel me pulling.  I will walk beside you, so you might feel my love.”  In the interest of satisfying my own unrealistic needs and wants, I lost sight of the importance of maintaining that.  Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t been a complete ass, there are many many fantastic things about us–and my part in this relationship–but this needs fixing pronto!

It’s no wonder I felt so terrible.  It’s no wonder I am sure she started to feel it.  It’s no wonder she had fewer and fewer answers for me:  Some of my expectations were so unreasonable and so impossible to meet, she must have started to feel smothered, started slowly to shut down emotionally, and I was feeling denied.  Isn’t it fun when you’re sitting around one day, a year of recovery under your belt, and you discover that work on yourself is not nearly as completed as you think?  No, not fun at all.

And as if that’s not good enough, guess what the number 1 and number 2 killers of relationships are?  #1.  Lack of Communication  #2.  Unrealistic Expectations!  And most of the research I’ve gone through on this is usually unkind to the “perpetrator” of said expectations.  As if I am intentionally trying to be control, wield power, cause victimization.  It’s actually a bit funny.  Here’s some of the reasons I have discovered for why people are likely to create unrealistic expectations both on themselves and their partners:

Childhood Abuse    Abandonment Issues    Low Self-Esteem

Sexual Abuse    Lack of Healthy Examples    Substance Abuse 

Lack of Adequate Parenting    Repeated Relationship Failures     Poor Interpersonal Skills

This list in and of itself is pretty much self-explanatory.  I did find it quite interesting that a majority of psychiatric sites blamed this, as well as maladaptive relationship tendencies, primarily on the individual’s need for re parenting.  Yeah, looking to be parented again because the first go around was so much fun.  No thanks!

So what’s up with all the talk about unrealistic expectation stuff?  Funny you should ask!  I happen to have been headed in that direction, what a coincidence, IN THE NEXT POST!  In the next post I will discuss:

  1.  How to identify Unrealistic Expectations
  2.  A list of Unrealistic Expectations
  3.  Using CBT and Emotion Regulation to cut the shit!
  4.  30 Questions For Your Relationship
  5.  50 Questions To Share With Your Love
  6.  A Brief Letter To My Love
  7. Multiple PDF Resources on Relationships