Expectations In A Relationship – Everything You Need To Know

Written by Harini Natarajan

So, what is your relationship really like? If you engage in pointless arguing, know that you are not alone. Many people do this, and most of them don’t even understand why they do so. In fact, they are completely perplexed by this behavior themselves! Everyone and their mother knows a couple who is constantly bickering. Are you that couple, though? Maybe it’s your thing now! You argue so frequently that it has become the norm in your relationship. Is this really what a healthy relationship looks like?

What if all that bickering and conflict could be reduced or even eliminated completely – like, right now? Yes, it’s possible. Expectations are at the core of all your relationship issues. They form the basis of whether or not your relationship works for the both of you. By shifting your own mindset, your relationship can become more peaceful, happier, and productive.

Why Do Expectations In A Relationship Cause Problems?

To understand that, we first need to answer another question – why do couples fight in the first place? The answer: expectations. What we assume a relationship should be like shapes our contribution to the relationship. Expectations, when in a relationship, are subjective. They are biased and differ from one person to another. Some people expect their partners to cook. In turn, they may be expected to provide. But, both partners assume that the other person is aware of this automatically, without even having a conversation about it. This can lead to stress, heartbreak, and tension in the relationship.

The issue with expectations is that they’re just like opinions – everyone has one! The problem is, they usually don’t match up to the other person’s behavior. This is where bickering begins. It’s important to talk to your partner about how mismatched expectations can lead to conflicts. However, don’t think you don’t have a right to expect something from your partner! Expect kindness and decency – you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, and so does your partner! This is why knowing what to expect is important. When you both are on the same page about your partnership, you will learn how to manage expectations better in a relationship.

Now, let’s answer the biggest question that’s on your mind.

What To Expect In A Relationship?

Learning what to expect and how to manage expectations in a relationship is essential to building a healthy relationship. Here are ten healthy expectations you can have in a relationship.

1. Appreciation Over Expectations

To effectively manage expectations in a relationship, you must show your appreciation for your significant other every day. Don’t focus on the negative – make it a point to value your partner’s positive qualities. This will improve your relationship like nothing else. Yes, your partner may not have folded the clothes the exact way you wanted them to, but at least they tried to do their fair share of work by folding the laundry and putting it away! If you pay close attention, you will realize there’s always something to be thankful for and appreciative about. Remember what it was that attracted you to them in the first place – it definitely wasn’t their folding skills! Was it their kindness, warmth, and love for you? Appreciate that!

When we apply the art of appreciation in our relationships, it can end unhealthy expectations and conflicts.

2. Compassion

Compassion is one of the most important things you should be expecting in a relationship. To successfully navigate the highs and lows of a relationship, you both need to practice compassion. Prioritize your love over your expectations. When you get in a disagreement, be kind to each other and don’t intentionally say or do something to hurt them. It is essential to manage expectations in a relationship. However, they are there to facilitate warmth and happiness. At the end of the day, it’s your relationship that’s most important, not your need to be right.

3. Respect

Respect is essential in any relationship, romantic or not. When you respect your partner, it means you value their needs and perspective. This is the basis of not only effective communication but also a happy relationship. If you love your partner, never disrespect them! Instead, try to find a constructive, empathetic way to resolve a conflict. Try to look for solutions without creating unnecessary stress and tension.

Time With Your Partner

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4. Time With Your Partner

Giving time to your significant other is absolutely a must in a relationship. Don’t brush your partner to the sidelines of your life, and don’t let them do it to you either. Make the time and effort to maintain and improve your relationship. When you both follow rituals and traditions that enhance your sense of connection, you show each other that your relationship is your real priority.

5. Consideration

A healthy relationship relies on consideration – you both need to consider each other’s feelings, interests, and relationship expectations. You must value your relationship over your “rules.” It’s easy to view these rules as the basis of your relationship, but they were actually created to make you and your partner happy. If they don’t serve that purpose and you both are unhappy, there is no point in sticking to them. If you both value your rules over each other, the relationship suffers.

6. Not Questioning The Nature Of Your Relationship

If you want to manage expectations in a relationship, one of the worst things you can do is question your significant other’s intent. When you question your partner and the very nature of your relationship, it destroys trust, which can take a toll on even the best of partnerships. Just because you are having problems currently doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed.

7. Not Threatening The Relationship

One of the basic expectations in a relationship is that there will be mutual dialogue and give and take. Threatening your partner with ultimatums doesn’t help – it only shuts down communication between the two of you. If you’re really at a point that you are threatening to end the partnership, it may be time to take a break from each other and rethink the conversation.

8. Not Having The Same Argument Over And Over Again

If you both are always arguing, change your method of approaching each other. If you don’t do so, you risk creating a never-ending cycle where neither party is understood, leaving both of you feeling hurt and defeated. Be the bigger person and bow out of a few arguments. Take a break from each other, regroup, and think about what you are really fighting about. When you make this practice a habit, you will set a high standard of expectations in your relationship.

9. Effort

Learning how to deal with expectations is not a one-time thing. It’s a continuous conversation where you need to touch base to see whether your needs are being met. Don’t let your relationship stagnate, assuming you both are doing fine because you haven’t fought that day. If you commit to continually improve, you will be able to build an extraordinary relationship.

10. Not Being Compared

Many people fall into the trap of comparing their partner to other people and their relationships to other people’s relationships. The truth is, everyone has their own share of relationship issues. As tempting as it is to expect a “textbook” relationship, this approach doesn’t work in real life. It doesn’t deal with your or your significant other’s needs. It also doesn’t value what makes your relationship special and unique.

Now, let’s talk about how to manage expectations in a relationship.

How To Manage Expectations In A Relationship

Don’t worry, there is a solution for dealing with mismatched expectations! Conflicts arise from differences in a couple’s expectations rather than the things they appreciate in each other.

Think about all the things you and your significant other have fought over. How many of these arguments are actually worth fighting for? Have any of them resulted in a productive resolution? Most likely, no. Many people often say, “We argue about everything – even the smallest things.” It is absolutely true. Consider your expectations in your relationship. Are your conflicts really worth the emotional turmoil you both go through when fighting with each other? Probably not. Chances are, there’s something much more productive that you could be doing with your time. Focus on working on enhancing the strength and longevity of your relationship, and you will be good.

And when it comes to managing expectations, the only way to go about it is through open and honest communication. As long as you both are open and willing to talk about your expectations from each other, you are on the right path to building a healthy relationship. Be honest with your partner about which expectations you can deliver on immediately and which ones you will need time to work on, and encourage your partner to do the same.

That being said, listed below are some expectations that are unreasonable.

Signs Your Expectations Are Unreasonable

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Signs Your Expectations Are Unreasonable

These signs can help you realize patterns of unrealistic and unhealthy expectations:

  • You have very specific rules and visions and find it impossible to accept other possible outcomes or opinions.
  • When your partner doesn’t fall in line with your plans, you feel resentful and irritated. It’s quite normal to feel these things sometimes, but if they play a major or recurring role in your life, you may need to rethink your expectations.
  • You feel upset and stressed when things do not go as planned. You get irritated when your routine deviates even slightly.
  • You constantly criticize yourself, your partner, and others.
  • You fixate on small issues and obsess about getting everything right.
  • When things go wrong, however little, you feel stressed, let down, panicked, or frustrated.

The good thing about arguments and conflicts is that they are absolutely normal – even healthy – in a relationship. After all, disagreeing and expressing differing opinions means you are comfortable with each other and find it easy to express your frustrations and opinions. Building a healthy relationship takes a lot of work, but it’s worth the effort. Just make sure that you set realistic and achievable expectations and focus on healthy conflict resolution to address any major – or minor – disagreements you may have.

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As Chief Editor, Harini sets the tone and editorial direction for StyleCraze to deliver engaging, interesting, and authentic content revolving around women's health, wellness, and beauty. She has over 14 years of experience in content writing and editing for online media. She specializes in the areas of Beauty, Lifestyle, and Health & Wellness and is proficient in Medical Sciences (Biology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Biochemistry). Her background in Biomedical Engineering helps her decode and interpret the finer nuances of scientific research for her team. Harini is a certified bibliophile and a closet poet. She also loves dancing and traveling to offbeat destinations.