Sunday, June 15, 2014
An Ounce of Prevention: '4 Completely Unrealistic Expectations in a Relationship That Ruin Love'
It's the candor that captured my attention in this S-C-A-P:
I have a dear friend who recently became engaged.
He was often thrown into the whirlwind of his fiancee’s family events that happened more often than he would have liked. He was unaccustomed to his fiancee’s family dynamic due to the difference in his own upbringing.
This particular issue has caused a lot of strain in their relationship and in the past, they have actually broken up over this.
The root of the issue has to do with more about the difference in their expectations, their childhood experiences and creating personal boundaries. Perhaps you’ve struggled with this in your relationship as well.
All of our experiences are a result of certain expectations.
You work extra extra long hours at work, you expect to get a bigger paycheck. You dedicate yourself to working out and eating healthy, you expect to see certain results in your physical appearance. You refill the toilet paper roll when it’s empty and you expect others to do the same. You expect to do ABC in your relationship and you expect XYZ to happen, right?
But what happens when our expectations aren’t met? Just like with my friend mentioned earlier, his expectations of family togetherness was shockingly different from his fiancee’s own expectations that it’s always been sore spot in their relationship.
Our childhood experiences affect a lot of the choices we make today.
Most of our expectations differ from one another because we had different experiences growing up. Usually these differences are what causes many problems in a relationship when it’s not met with acceptance and compassion.
Here are a few ways how unrealistic expectations in relationships causes unnecessary pain and drama.
1. The Myth of Happiness
Do you believe that relationships are supposed to make you happy?
I used to believe that my relationship was supposed to be my unending source of happiness.
As if my life was supposed to fall into place like the pieces of a puzzle. I carried this unrealistic expectation to many of my relationships.
I used to think that something was inherently “wrong” with me or the relationship when I didn’t feel high on love.
As time passed by, I noticed a pattern. Whenever I wasn’t feeling bliss in my relationship, I created drama. Yup, that’s right, I was an emotionally unavailable woman which caused me to look towards my partner to feel validated and love.
2. The Mentality Behind "Meant to Be"
I can’t help but raise my eyebrows when people bring up the subject of “meant to be” or “Soulmates.” The whole mentality behind all this sets each partner up to lose themselves in their relationship.
The “Meant to Be” mentality creates this false notion that your relationship is supposed to be effortless and easy… all the time.
And when your relationship hits a rough spot it becomes so easy to automatically question your relationship.
Making your relationship the center of your life forces you to have only one outlet for love and fulfillment and this puts a lot of pressure on your relationship to be an endless source of pure bliss.
But we all know that all emotions are fleeting and just like with life, relationships have their ebb and flow. When your relationship hits a point where it’s not always “rainbows and butterflies,” the daily ins and outs of your relationship may fall short of your expectations which will only cause disappointments and resentment.
This mentality loses your sense of self as your relationship begins define who you are as a person.
Not only does this suffocate the relationship from any potential room for growth, but indifference creeps in and causes you stop seeing your partner as an individual person with their own thoughts, feelings, fears and desires apart from your own.
3. Why Romance Is for Cowards
Have you ever tried to save your relationship and hoped that by setting the mood, you can get that spark back in your relationship?
Forget what you see on television.
Real romance happens when you don’t have to try so hard.
Candlelit dinners, roaring fireplaces, or flowers and presents may give off a romantic vibe but it will not revive a broken relationship. Instead of doing a Google search on “how to revive your relationship” take a deeper look as to why your relationship is falling apart in the first place.
When you apply surface level solutions to a problem, you get short term results that fall apart as soon as you look away.
4. Self-Inflicted Torture and "The Ring"
The other day, someone emailed me about how his ex often pressured him to propose to her. She even went to the extent of buying her own engagement ring.
When he told her that they had bigger problems in their relationships that needed to be resolved before they took the next step together, she broke up with him.
If you’re a woman who agonizes about when your man will finally slip that ring on your finger, STOP! The more you focus on the future of “what ifs” the more you’re missing out on a chance to make a really wonderful connection with your partner.
Successful relationships don’t happen when you get that ring or on romantic getaways, relationships live and die by the moment to moment choices you make or don’t make on a daily basis.
Learn to appreciate and cherish the small moments you have together.
The expectation of “having it made” once you and your partner decide to take the plunge together is an unrealistic expectation that causes so much disconnect and dissatisfaction in a marriage.
Relying on on external factors in your relationship to make you feel “complete” as a person is self-inflicted torture because in the long run, relationships are built on a lot more than that what you can physically touch.
Well said. On a lot of levels.