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How unrealistic expectations can ruin a relationship

We all have expectations when we enter into a relationship. However, it’s important to ensure those expectations are realistic and that you are not putting them onto your partner, who may not be able or even want to live up them.

No one person can meet all of our needs, and in this modern world, our needs are far more sophisticated than in previous generations. Several generations ago only basic needs were generally sought. A roof over our head, enough food, a regular job, and a partner who could provide those. Anything else would likely to have been a bonus.

But nowadays couples want more from relationships and their partner.

  • An equal partner.
  • A soul mate.
  • A financial wizard.
  • Good parenting skills.
  • A great lover.
  • Someone to share leisure activities with.
  • Problem solver.
  • A person to share problems with.
  • A great cook.
  • A DIY expert.
  • An emotional rock.
  • A best friend.

That’s a tall order for any one person to be able to achieve and completely unrealistic expectations. But if that is what you are expecting, and your partner doesn’t meet them it is likely to cause real problems in your relationship.

Let’s move onto the daily expectations

Imagine this scenario:

You have had a really busy day, and you are feeling stressed, and tired, and all you want to do is have a nice meal, and relax in front of the TV, or read a book. So in your mind, you have all of that planned out. Instead, you arrive home to find your partner has decided to start decorating (now you had talked about it – but not when it was going to happen). All of the furniture is piled in the middle of the room, there is nowhere to sit. You go to the fridge to find there is no food! Your partner was so engrossed in decorating that the food shop had been forgotten. Your partner wanted to surprise you.

Your expectations of a quiet evening are blown out of the water, and this could easily end up in a row, especially as you are both likely to be tired. These daily expectations can have a disastrous effect on your relationship.

Communication is key to expectations, together with a reality check.

What needs can your partner meet in your relationship and if not, where can you get them met? For example, you may find someone else to share those hobbies your partner doesn’t enjoy or you may find a friend you can share some of your problems with.

As for daily expectations, things do crop up that we don’t envisage, and each of us has to learn to adapt to them. Cancelled trains, traffic jams, unexpected illness etc.

But if for example you are feeling tired and stressed from a difficult day, then communicate that with your partner. Then you can make plans on how to deal with that together.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Written by Wendy Capewell - Anxiety, Stress and Relationship issues

Wendy Capewell is an experienced integrative counsellor who specialises in working with couples who find themselves struggling in an otherwise happy partnership. Life events can cause unresolved arguments. By working through them, learning to communicate more effectively with a professional couples are more likely to get back on track.… Read more

Written by Wendy Capewell - Anxiety, Stress and Relationship issues

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