Expectations – the Power to Build or Destroy a Relationship

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Nobody does anything in this life without starting with expectations about how it should work. From the moment we get up in the morning until we go to bed, we constantly have expectations about our day.

We anticipate getting to work without having an accident; we have expectations about traffic conditions and expectations about how much work we can get done in the day.

Despite having expectations, we don’t consciously think about them most of the time. Even if we do consciously think about what we expect to happen, they are usually not well defined.

Many people have expectations along the lines of I expect to have more money. Unfortunately, this is not clearly defined. It is more like a wish than an expectation.

Dangers of Our Needs Not Being Met

When our expectations are not met, we quickly lose our happiness and look for someone to blame, even if they are not well defined. To look at the money example again, even though I do not have a clearly defined idea about what more money means, I get upset because I haven’t got enough money.

Often we hear the disappointment of broken expectations in the statement “I expected so much more.”

Expectations hold immense power.

If we can clearly define them and work towards them, then they have the power to drive us to achieve and create. If they are not clearly defined, then we cannot work towards them, causing great discontent with our situation. This discontent has the potential to drive us to walk away from things and to walk away from people.

Understanding and being clear about your expectations is paramount to success in your relationship.

Most of the time, our expectations in relationships are unspoken, or we are not fully clear about what they are. Unmet expectations quickly give rise to feelings of incompatibility in a relationship.

For instance, a common anticipation in a relationship is “If I need the support of my partner because I’m going through difficult times, then I expect that they will listen to me, try to understand and support me.”

Many times, however, this doesn’t happen. We try to get support from our partners but they don’t listen, don’t try to understand, or they shut us down. As a result of this unmet expectation, resentment starts to creep into the relationship.

Repeat this a few times and add in some other unmet expectations, and quickly the feeling of incompatibility and resentment rises.

Work Out What You Really Want From Your Relationship

Take the time to examine your expectations in a relationship, share those with your partner, and understand what is essential to each of you. Those expectations will help you to strengthen the relationship.

Shared expectations allow each partner to be clear on what the other is wanting. When each partner meets their partner’s needs, it shows commitment, empathy, and understanding. These are building blocks in a relationship.

Take the time to work out your expectations in your relationship. Try to write down at least five of them. Don’t just stop with generic things like I want to be happy.

Take the time to define what makes you happy. Now share these needs with your partner. What of these needs are achievable easily, and what may require some compromise? Have the discussion.

The Boomerang Effect

If you take the time to put any effort into your relationship, then the improvement in the relationship will come back to you as a reward. It’s a boomerang effect.

Defining expectations is a fundamental part of the work in restoring and enhancing relationships. If you want to know how I can help you in your situation, contact StartPoint Counselling.

You’ll be amazed how counselling can help you better communicate your expectations

You will find that talking with StartPoint Counselling Beenleigh is your starting point for happy relationships and mental wellbeing.

StartPoint Counselling Practice is conveniently located in Beenleigh close to Logan, Mt Warren Park, Stapylton, Homeview, Waterford, Loganholme and Yatala areas. However we also offer phone and telehealth consultations for your convenience, see more about Booking Appointments here.

We offer a 15-minute complimentary phone session with one of our experienced counsellors. Find out how we can enable you to communicate your expectations and change your relationships into ones that you will want to be part of

Written by StartPoint Counsellor Tracey Janke