Three Part Series, written in 2017, Unrealistic Expectations discusses the pressures we can place on ourselves, but mainly others, in our various dealings with folks. Personally AND professionally.
So in first post, 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.
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 loving 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 you’re 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.