“Expectations are resentments waiting to happen.”
Esther Perel, Belgian-American psychotherapist
It’s certainly normal and common to have expectations for your partner.
The question is, what type of expectations do you have?
They’re not all created equal.
It turns out there are some which are more damaging than others.
If you can limit them, you stand a far better chance of relationship success.
Here they are:
Tradition – this is based on your family of origin. Why is this type so harmful? Because it projects someone else’s qualities (your mom or dad’s) onto your partner. Here’s the classic one – the man who expects his wife to stay at home, clean the house and take care of the children. No bueno.
The Unexpected – this is one where you expect your partner to read your mind. “You didn’t make a big enough deal out of my birthday.” This begs the question, “Did you ever communicate what you expected?”
Change – this one is super damaging because it strips away at who your partner is at their core and communicates a message of rejection. “You’re constantly talking to your friends. It’s too much.” Get the picture?
Your own – this one might be the worst of them all. You put pressure on yourself and then resent your partner for it even though she had nothing to do with it. It could be pressure to be the provider, pressure to have all the answers – you name it.
Why are our expectations so hard to manage?
Because they don’t sound damaging.
We convince ourselves they’re reasonable.
Here’s my top one: I expect my partner to be kind to me.
Sounds reasonable, right?
Here’s the twist.
She has to do so all the time.
It’s that last part that makes it unreasonable. The reality is, my partner will eventually hurt me, whether she intends to or not.
Placing that high a standard on anyone is unrealistic.
What’s your top expectation?
It’s crucial you know what it is before you start a relationship.
Because it’s the very source of the resentment that will creep into your relationship eventually.