10 Ways to Avoid Trap of High Relationship Expectations
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His parents had a relationship like this, and her parents had a relationship like that. Put man and wife together and bam! Their expectations of what a marriage should be like are quite different.
Neither of them is wrong, per se; they just had thought marriage should be blue when it turned out to be red.
So many couples fall into the expectations trap. People in general use their past experiences or observations to try to predict what will happen in the future. But why do we even try to predict the future? It gives us a sense of security.
We generally dislike the unknown; it scares us like a kid is scared of the dark. When we can’t see what’s ahead, we tend to get cold feet. So we try to formulate a possible future, which is what they can morph into what we then expect will happen.
What is the trap of expectations in relationships?
The trap of expectations in relationships refers to the tendency to have unrealistic or uncommunicated expectations of your partner, leading to disappointment and frustration when they are not met.
It can create a negative cycle of blame and resentment and undermine the emotional connection between partners. It’s important to communicate expectations clearly and work together to meet each other’s needs rather than placing unrealistic demands on one another.
What happens when reality doesn’t equal our expectations?
Disappointment and more fear. That’s the likely result when you have high expectations in a relationship.
The bad thing about expectations is that it becomes a way of life, even when life doesn’t turn out the way we expect. Instead of discounting our expectations, we simply discount the person or the situation in which we find ourselves. All of this continues to make us feel like we have some sort of control or insight into our lives. It’s a huge trap we probably don’t even realize we are caught in.
10 ways to avoid the trap of high expectations in a relationship
Expectations rarely help anyone. While we can think about possible future scenarios at times, we cannot come to expect certain outcomes. How can we stop the trap of relationship expectations? Here are ten ways:
1. Have a little faith
Stepping into the dark will require you to trust your partner and yourself. Have a little faith! You’ve made it this far together, right? Take your partner’s hand and just go for it. When you both encounter a new situation, place, venture, or what have you, try to focus on the fact that you are both going through it together instead of the scariness of it.
Have the attitude that “whatever will be will be.” Of course, you can prepare for the worst, but also hope for the best.
Related Reading: 15 Ways to Make Interfaith Relationships Work
2. Focus on today
When you are too caught up in figuring out what tomorrow will bring, you are missing out on the amazing things that can happen in the here and now. Maybe you’re nervous about your husband leaving for a long business trip.
Instead of thinking about all of your expectations about how you will say goodbye and when you should call each other, focus on today. You are still together now, so make the most of it. Don’t let future expectations spoil the happiness you could have now.
Here’s a motivational video on taking one day at a time, in case you need it:
3. Talk it out
The only way you and your partner will know what the other person is thinking and expecting is to talk about it. Facing your first holiday season together? Talk about your family traditions, and discuss which ones you really want to keep going forward as you form your own family.
This will help keep expectations at a healthy level and not leave anyone in the dark while having high expectations in a relationship.
If you fail to talk about things, someone will end up being disappointed; they will expect you to just “know” how things will go. Don’t be afraid to speak your heart, even about the little things.
4. Cut yourself some slack
Too high expectation leads to disappointment.
When we think of our future selves, we probably picture a thinner, more successful version of ourselves. Is it attainable? Maybe. Is it healthy to try to be that person?
Sure, within reason. But let’s be clear here. Sometimes we make our goals unattainable, or maybe something happens in our lives that get in the way, such as health problems or career setbacks. So our expectations for ourselves never get met, and in the process, we just feel miserable and like a failure.
Cut yourself some slack! Stop expecting so much of yourself. Find the balance between being your best self and being who you can be in this moment. Realize that there is no deadline, and there is also no one grading you but yourself.
5. Meet your partner where they are
Just like you did in #4, do the same for your partner. They are going through some stuff. They have faults they are working on that they want to do better at, but sometimes they will fail. Don’t set your expectations of them so high that they can never attain them.
Chances are, they are already doing that for themselves. Simply meet your partner where they are. Know that they are a great person capable of great things, but that they are human. And you love them no matter what.
Related Reading: 10 Signs You’re About to Meet the Love of Your Life
6. Be realistic about the relationship
Evaluate what are your expectations in a relationship.
It’s important to remember that your partner is a human being with flaws and imperfections. Nobody is perfect, and it’s unrealistic to expect your partner to be flawless. It’s also important to be realistic about the relationship itself and avoid having high expectations in a relationship.
Every relationship has its ups and downs, and it’s not always going to be perfect. Having realistic expectations will help you appreciate the good times and work through the challenges.
7. Take charge of your happiness
Many people enter into relationships with the expectation that their partner will make them happy. However, this is an unrealistic expectation. Depending on your spouse for your fulfillment is one of the examples of expectations set too high.
Your happiness should come from within, not from your partner. Instead of relying on your partner for happiness, focus on finding joy in your own life. Pursue your hobbies and interests, spend time with friends and family, and take care of yourself.
8. Communicate openly with your partner
Communication is key in any relationship. It’s important to be open and honest with your partner about your needs and expectations. If you have concerns or fears about the relationship, it’s important to discuss them with your partner.
By communicating openly, you can work together to set realistic expectations for the relationship.
Related Reading: Open Communication In a Relationship: How to Make it Work
9. Avoid comparing your relationship to others
It’s easy to look at other relationships and feel like your own falls short. However, comparing your relationship to others is a recipe for disappointment. Every relationship is unique, and what works for one couple may not work for another.
Instead of comparing your relationship to others, focus on what makes your relationship special and meaningful.
10. Don’t rush things
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a relationship when it is new and you want things to be exactly the way you’ve pictured. It’s important to note that as the relationship progresses with time, it also gets mature and more practical.
Give time for things to fall into place and make sense. Rushing into every aspect of being in a relationship or marriage will only complicate things for you two. Having too high of expectations in a relationship will only lead to resentment.
Some more questions
Expectations are attractive and hard to give up when in a relationship. But getting out of the expectation trap is important to stay in sync with reality. Here are some questions to help you get out of the complex cycle of too many expectations.
Do expectations ruin relationships?
How expectations affect us is a practical matter.
High expectations in a relationship can put pressure on a relationship, leading to disappointment and resentment when they aren’t met. However, it’s important to have some level of expectation in a relationship in order to establish boundaries and maintain healthy communication.
It’s all about how you manage your expectations and find a balance between expectations versus reality to maintain expectations realistically.
Is it okay to have high expectations in a relationship?
Having high expectations in a relationship is natural, but it’s important to have realistic expectations that align with your partner’s capabilities and boundaries. Unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointment and frustration, so it’s crucial to communicate and compromise with your partner to ensure a healthy and fulfilling relationship.
Balancing your expectations is the key
Balancing high and practical expectations in relationships is key to maintaining a healthy and fulfilling partnership. It’s important to communicate with your partner and establish realistic expectations that align with both your needs and capabilities.
Often, going for couples therapy can also provide much-needed relationship support. By finding a balance between your expectations, you can build a strong and satisfying relationship that lasts.
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