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Are you poisoned by your relationship expectations? I propose that most relationship problems are created by unrealistic expectations… read on to find out more from a relationship coach.

Let me list few common expectations for our spouse, partner, lover:

  • We are supposed to share the home workload, equally.
  • He should show up on time for the social events I’ve organised.
  • We should have sex four times a week.
  • She should treat me with more respect.
  • He should make wiser financial decisions.
  • She should invite my parents over more often.
  • He should spend more time with kids.
  • She should stop being lazy and go back to work.
  • He should be more ambitious and earn more money.
  • We should have a nicer house.
  • He should take me out for a romantic dinner.
  • She should sort out her emotional issues.
  • He/She should get fit and lose weight.
  • She shouldn’t criticise and boss me around all the time.
  • He should stop treating me like his servant.

The list can go on, and on and on. Does it do you any good to have a long list of expectations of your partner?  What they should, shouldn’t, must always, must never do, say, feel, think…

I propose that most relationship problems are created by unrealistic expectations. If you are anything like I was four years ago, you are at a boiling right now.

Perhaps you are saying “Ivetta give me a break, what is so unrealistic about expecting to share the home workload equally or spending more time with kids, or having more sex, or inviting my mum over more often?”

To these questions I say there is nothing wrong with these expectations, but they won’t necessarily make you HAPPY.  Sometimes you have to choose what is more important to you. You can be right or you can be loved.

Stop trapping your partner, looking for them to make a mistake. Criticising, belittling, and finger pointing, “I knew you would screw it up.” If you expect the worse you will get the worse, people live up or down to our expectations.

Have you ever gone to a traditional marriage therapist?

I know I’ve been to few. They taught me how to communicate my expectations, feelings and needs in a more constructive way.  This is an important skill.  However, better communication skills without love, empathy and gratitude will make one a better fighter, not a better lover. A sharper knife can only cut deeper.  One can also get lots of significance from using “communication skills” according to therapist rules.  “Now I am expressing myself assertively according to therapist rules.  You can’t blame me anymore, you have to accept me.”

Last week I saw a client who told me few years ago they saw a marriage counsellor over an “in-law” situation. Essentially, the husband wanted his parents to come over every other weekend and the wife thought it was too much. This was grounds for frequent arguments. The therapist pointed out to the wife that this is not an unreasonable expectation and that she should comply. A few years later, after therapy, the in-law issue is still unresolved for this couple.

What would be my recommendation?

For the husband…

I would suggest the husband to drop this expectation and stop “beating” his wife up with things like “you don’t love and respect my parents.” He should accept “What is”. Express his love and gratitude for his wife every time she does invite her in-laws over for dinner. Stop counting his losses (every time his parents were not invited) and start count his blessings.  (I have a kind and wonderful wife who adores me.) ). Every time his parents do come for a visit he should, in front of his wife, tell them how wonderful his wife is, what a great mother she is and that he loves her so much.

For the wife…

I would encourage the wife to be kinder and more loving to her husband. Your husband is the most important person in your life, treat him like he is the MOST person in your life, with love, empathy and compassion. You love him so learn to meet his needs in ways that are meaningful to HIM, not convenient to you. Why? Because you are a loving and giving person who want to shower her husband with unlimited joy. If you could give your children a gift of joy, love and significance I am sure you wouldn’t hesitate. Why treat your spouse differently?  If your husband wants his parents over more often, do it because you love him and want to bring him joy.  Don’t do it because you feel obliged or cornered, these feelings will only breed more resentment that will poison your soul.

When two people operate from a place of love, respect, compassion and friendship they will work out a solution acceptable for both of them, without compromising their relationship, love or commitment to each other.

“Trade your expectation for appreciation and the world changes instantly.” -Anthony Robbins

To create more appreciation within your relationship consider writing your spouse or partner a love letter. In it tell them how much you appreciate them, how much you love and respect them.  Tell them how grateful you are for having them in your life. Tell them what a caring, loving and dedicating parent they are. Praise, love, complement and adore your spouse. Don’t spare your love or attention. Make them feel special, they deserve it.

If you need help with creating more peace, love and passion in your relationship contact me and I will guide you to create a relationship that you envision.

Live with passion!

  • I actually agree with most of those things on that list, not that they have ever happened on a regular basis through my life

    Reply

  • I don’t have high expectations for anything in life, yet I am constantly disappointed and let down

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  • some interesting discussion points here

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  • I don’t think it’s my expectations that are poisoning my relationship. I think it’s the relationship is poisonous

    Reply

  • Great! Really interesting article! Thanks for sharing this!

    Reply

  • this is a very detailed article. i think that it contains so many good points. i am so happy with my hubby anyway but it was nice to read this

    Reply

  • This article is so relevant to my life right now. Thank you Ivetta.

    Reply

  • I never mind talking something over, taking criticism or suggestions if it showed me a different perspective of how I thought I was reacting but others were seeing it differently, but I very much mind if it’s done in a belittling or condescending manner.

    Reply

  • good read lots of lessons learnt in the past 2 years

    Reply

  • Both my husband and I have mellowed over the years and are happier with our life together now than when we were younger. We realise there are things about each other we still don’t really understand but accept those things with as much humour and grace as we can without expecting the other to change. In our older age we try to make the most of whatever time together we have left and not waste perfectly good days fretting about things.

    Reply

  • Being appreciated is something we all like to feel.


    • That is true, and communication is extremely important also.

    Reply

  • Woulda, coulda, shoulda … three of the most destructive words in a relationship. Less expectation and more acceptance.

    Reply

  • After 30 plus years of marriage my hubby is still a work in progress. We do appreciate one another and have our little ways of showing it. Don’t know about writing love letters though.

    Reply

  • very informative information about what we expect, I could relate to this

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  • we need to accept people for who they are – sometimes lowering expectations is required

    Reply

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