ERP 004: Expectations In Relationship (5 Considerations You Want To Be Aware Of)
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Expectations can fuel and motivate how we relate and react to our partners. Commonly, we expect our partners to treat us in a particular way and love us in the way that we want to be loved. Often, our expectations go unchecked and unevaluated, while they steadily have a big impact on our perceptions and reactions. In this episode, I discuss the first 5 tips (of 10 tips) to consider when exploring your expectations in relationship.
1. Expectations are often unconscious.
Have you ever found yourself feeling sad or upset and not known why? If you notice some disappointment or sadness in relationship to your partner, you can ask yourself these questions to gain further insight and understanding:
- What would I have wanted to be different?
- What did I want my partner to do or say?
- If I could have had it any way, what would I have wanted to happen?
- Is this really important to me? Is this something of high priority to me?
2. Expectations can be detrimental to relationships.
- Unchecked expectations can be stifling and constrictive to the natural flow of the relationships or even to your partner.
- We can miss the real beauty of what is available, when we are so attached to our expectations.
- Holding tight to expectations can get us into a power struggles, which lead to conflict and unhealthy dynamics.
- Couples can feel disappointed, frustrated, betrayed, or resentful and move to end the relationship because of unmet desires and unfulfilled expectations.
- If you can look openly and honestly at your expectations, then you can use this as information to communicate with your partner more effectively and constructively.
- You can evolve the dynamic to a new level, which may be better than you had originally imagined.
3. Knowing the difference between expectations, needs, and desires (and agreements).
- Expectations are hopes and beliefs that are focused on the future, and may or may not be realistic.
- A need is something that is necessary for healthy relating and living. Do you know what is essential for you to have a healthy relationship (i.e. fidelity, kindness, lack of drug or alcohol addiction, etc.)? What are your deal breakers or non-negotiables?
- A desire is a preference about something you would like to have or receive.
4. Taking responsibility for your needs and desires.
- The truth of the matter is –we know what we need better than anyone else.
- To expect our partner to read our minds is a setup for assumptions and misunderstandings.
- We are not static individuals with one mood, one preference, and one focus. We are dynamic. We change, grow, and learn day-to-day. We have different moods, desires, and plans. Yes, we may like our coffee a particular way, but even that can change over time.
- We can take all the confusion and mystery out of the equation, by letting our partner know and communicating (see tip #5).
- It is our responsibility to get our own needs met. If we give ownership to someone else for getting our needs met, than we can feel dependent, powerless, and misunderstood.
- Taking ownership inspires action. We realize we have the power to create change. We have the opportunity to nurture ourselves in the ways that we need it most. This is a difficult practice, but it can be very empowering.
5. Expressing your needs, desires, and expectations.
- Have you ever consciously expected or desired something from someone, but didn’t give voice it? Or said another way, have you ever secretly wanted your partner to do or say something?
- Usually, this is a recipe for disappointment. How is someone suppose to know what you want if you don’t tell them? Even if they get it right a time or two, it sets up a dynamic where people are operating on assumptions, which often leads to miscommunication and frustration.
- We hide our expectations, needs, and desires because we fear that we will be rejected or that our partner will not be able to meet our needs. But how do we ever get our desires met if we cut ourselves off before we even try?
- This may seem scary and vulnerable because it requires you to open yourself up and acknowledge that you have needs to your partner. But imagine being able to ask for what you need in a clear and clean way (i.e. by owning it, without making it someone else’s responsibility), and then experiencing your partner give to you in a very genuine way. This can truly be a very rewarding and transformational experience.
- By taking ownership of our needs, desires, and expectations, we can work with our partners. We can help teach them what works and doesn’t work for us, and then we have the opportunity to learn and grow together.
- Link from the example that I gave – Startup Weekend: A weekend intensive to collaborative with other professionals to bring an business idea into development in just 52 hours. http://startupweekend.org/
Stay-tuned for episode #5, which goes over the next 5 tips to considering – when looking at your expectations in relationship.
If you would like more discussion on this topic, I wrote a blog about this topic – to read it click here.
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