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20 Healthy Expectations in a Relationship that Define a Good Love Life

We all have some expectations in a relationship – what are yours? Understand the key healthy relationship expectations and look forward to a great union! 

Healthy Relationship Expectations

There are no strict rules to relationships. For the most part, we bumble along and deal with whatever comes up at the time. However, is that the best way to move forward? Will you move forward at all? You see, you need to have at least some expectations in a relationship in order to be treated in the way you want to be. That doesn’t mean expecting to be treated like royalty, but a basic amount of respect is key. Understanding the healthy relationship expectations you should have will solve the problem.

If you go into a relationship with no expectations, you won’t be treated with respect. Instead, you’ll be shocked when your partner does something nice for your birthday. In reality, this is what they should be doing.

So, it’s not about lowering your standards, you just need healthy expectations and boundaries.

[Read: 19 unrealistic expectations in love we want to believe but shouldn’t]

Why should you have expectations in a relationship?

You might think that it’s better to go into a relationship expecting nothing. That way, everything is a surprise. The problem is, not all surprises are the good kind. You might end up being disappointed and hurt time and time again, simply because you didn’t understand what you were getting yourself into.

Relationship expectations are the standards you set for yourself in a relationship. It’s about how you want to be treated, what you will and won’t tolerate, and what you want out of the whole thing. Do you want to work towards something serious or do you want something casual?

You need these healthy expectations in a relationship because here’s the reality – if you don’t have certain standards for the people you date, where’s your self-respect? [Read: Should you lower your expectations to find love?]

This is your life and you should know what you want. It’s true that people tell you not to judge others and to expect nothing so that you won’t get hurt, but that’s serious crap.

You should have healthy relationship expectations, that way, you choose a partner who respects and appreciates you. This isn’t about predicting the future and handing your partner a set of rules, it’s about knowing what you want and what you won’t deal or put up with with. There’s nothing wrong with that. [Read: How to respect yourself – 14 secrets of self-worth and self-belief]

The basic but important healthy relationship expectations you need to have to be happy in love

Everyone will have different expectations but there are some that everyone should have if they want to embark on a healthy and enriching relationship.

Not every relationship you have will go the distance – that’s just the way love goes. However, you may be lucky enough to meet the one you want to spend the rest of your life with very early on.

Perhaps you don’t even want to meet someone for a serious relationship yet, and you want to keep things casual. All of that is fine and valid. But, you need to have healthy expectations in a relationship so you can enjoy every experience and not come out of it feeling scarred and as though you never want to date again.

Here are some healthy relationship expectations everyone should have. [Read: What does a healthy relationship look like?]

1. Know the difference between needs and desires

This is what most of us get confused about which is why we try not to expect anything. But there’s a clear difference between your needs and desires. You should have expectations which fulfill your needs. These are things that are necessary for living a healthy life.

For example, a need could be that your partner doesn’t have an addiction issue or that they’re faithful. A desire is something you’d like to have but isn’t essential for your life such as an expensive car or money. [Read: The signs of a healthy relationship you should always look for]

2. Sex is not absolutely necessary as one of the expectations in a relationship

Now, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be having sex. For most relationships, sex plays a crucial role in the relationship because it creates intimacy.

However, a healthy relationship expectation doesn’t mean you need to have sex on a daily basis.

When we go into a relationship, sometimes we assume that regular sex is a part of the package, but it’s not. A healthy relationship is where both people respect each other’s sexual needs. You might go a few days without sex and that’s fine. But, if you’re having it every day and you’re both super-happy about it, good for you! [Read: How often do you need to have sex for a healthy relationship?]

3. Your partner will screw up occasionally – and so will you – One of the key expectations in a relationship

When we’re with someone, we sometimes assume that they always know how we feel or what we want in that specific moment. However, a healthy relationship consists of communication and expressing needs and desires.

Your partner can’t read your mind and though they may know you pretty well, they’re not you. A healthy relationship realizes that and understands that no one is a mind reader.

Sometimes your partner may screw up and hurt you without meaning to. As long as it’s not a terrible mistake, such as cheating, you can work through it and communicate what hurt you and why you won’t tolerate it. But, know that you’re not perfect yourself and there will also be times when you screw up too. [Read: How to apologize and say sorry to a lover]

4. Knowing and accepting each other’s flaws

If you’re new in a relationship, right now everything may feel fine and dandy, but let’s be honest, we’re all flawed. Yes, that means you as well. But this isn’t about hiding your flaws from your partner.

Eventually, they’re going to show. A healthy expectation is knowing that your partner is flawed and you accept their flaws for what they are. You don’t try to mold them into something else or change fundamental parts of who they are.

5. Accepting responsibility

No one likes admitting that they screwed up, but have you ever been in a relationship where your partner blames you for everything? Did that feel good? Did that feel healthy?

Of course, it didn’t feel good. But that’s obviously a reason why you’re not with them anymore. See, a healthy relationship will have its ups and downs, but both people take responsibility for their actions and can admit and apologize for their mistakes. [Read: 15 signs of a healthy relationship you should always look for]

6. Communication is always key

This is not only a healthy relationship expectation, but it’s a crucial one to have. You need to be able to communicate with your partner in a safe, open, and honest environment. If not, well, your relationship isn’t going to last.

This is something you need to have in any relationship. Can you imagine not being able to talk to your partner about your feelings? If that’s the case, what’s the point of having a partner?

7. Promises can be broken occasionally

We’ve all watched so many chick flicks that most of us have that narrative stuck in our heads. Put simply, that isn’t healthy for anyone. First of all, it makes the guy have to act like prince charming, and secondly, it gives women the idea that we need to have a happily ever after.

Here’s the thing, we’re all human. So, sure, you may have made your partner a promise to go running every day with them but now you’re bored of it. It’s perfectly fine to break that promise because you’re not actually hurting anyone.

However, know that it’s not every promise that can be broken. If you promise your partner something very important to them, or vice versa, you should understand the gravity of that situation and never break the promise you made. [Read: Why you need to get off your white horse and save yourself first]

8. Priorities change throughout life

When we enter a relationship, at least during the honeymoon phase, we’re usually the highest priority on our partner’s list. Naturally, this will change with time. Of course, you will always be a priority and if you feel that you’re less important than a football game, well, then you need to evaluate your relationship.

However, you and your partner have obligations and relationships outside of your own, so, from time to time, your priorities will shift. Knowing and understanding that they’ll shift from time to time is a healthy expectation to have.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can allow your partner to take you for granted or always put you last. If that’s the case, you need to have a whole other conversation. [Read: The right priority in your relationship – How to find & focus on it]

9. You support one another – one of the important relationship expectations

This is a healthy and needed expectation to have for your relationship. You should always feel that your partner is supportive of your decisions and you should support theirs.

Even if they don’t agree with the choice you’re making, they’re by your side while you make it *unless it’s illegal*. You shouldn’t feel that you’re going through something alone when you have a partner. If that’s the case, then you’re better off single. [Read: 15 rules to be a good partner in the relationship]

10. We all learn through making mistakes

We all make mistakes, but what’s important is if we learn from them. This is a healthy expectation to have. Imagine being with someone who continues to make the same mistake over and over again? Of course, it’ll take a couple times for them to get it right, but you want them to understand and learn from their mistakes.

If not, then you’re doomed to circle around the same old conflict again and again. It’ll drive you insane.

11. You both need alone time

Some people become upset when they’re not around their partner every day and night. Now, we completely understand this feeling, however, it’s normal to want some time on your own to do things by yourself.

Your partner may not want to go to the gym but you want to, so go alone. Emotional dependency isn’t a sign of a strong relationship. The sign of a healthy relationship is when both partners enjoy doing things together and apart. It’s about balance. [Read: How to stop the codependency for a healthy relationship]

12. If you have expectations in a relationship, know that you can laugh together

If you can’t laugh with your partner, then why are you with them? A healthy relationship expectation is being able to sit down, watch a movie, and laugh with your partner. This is the person who brings joy and love into your life. Laughing shows that you are connected. If you can’t laugh together, how will you be able to cry together?

13. They’ll always have your back

A healthy expectation in a relationship is that your partner will always have your back. If someone is talking behind you, they’ll stick up for you. If you need someone to back you up, they’re there.

You’re a team and that means always being there for one another when you need someone in your corner. Of course, you have to do the same for them too! [Read: 10 signs your partner is truly supportive of your goals]

14. You will go through hard times

If you’re going into a relationship expecting everything to be perfectly happy and roses all the time, you’re deluded. Relationships are hard. Sometimes you’ll butt heads and the conflict will go on for days. But, you communicate and work it out because the love you have for one another is more important than what you’re fighting about.

Don’t expect everything to be perfect all time and understand that sometimes things will be tough. But, know that you’ll get through it and the tough times won’t last forever.

15. You can agree to disagree

For sure, your partner should have your back and always be on your side, but that doesn’t mean you have to agree with each other all the time.

You might have totally different political views, you might believe something completely different, or your opinions might clash. None of that matters if you can agree to disagree and respect the other person’s view. [Read: Are relationship fights normal? 15 signs you’re fighting too often]

We’re all unique and different and that’s the wonderful thing about being human. If you expect that you’re going to agree all the time, you’re in for a shock. Never start to clone yourself into your partner so that you nod along with everything they say, and don’t expect them to do the same for you.

It’s true that you need to agree on some important things, such as whether you want children or not, but not everything. Remain yourselves and live in harmony instead. It’ll make for a much more enriching and fulfilling relationship. 

16. Loyalty and zero cheating

Unless you’ve sat down and decided that you’re going to have an open relationship, there should be no cheating going on. For sure, if you’re in a casual relationship, that’s a different scenario. But a monogamous relationship shouldn’t feature one or both partners going off and having relations with other people unless it’s been agreed as fine beforehand.

Loyalty and monogamy are healthy relationship boundaries that should be discussed and followed by both partners. [Read: What is cheating in a relationship? The truth most people ignore]

17. You can trust one another

You should 100% expect to be able to trust your partner come what may. If you don’t trust one another, the relationship is going to break down pretty quickly.

Trust is so important. Far too many people assume that love is the glue that holds two people together, and in a huge way it is, but trust and respect are also parts of that. Without trust, your relationship is going to be a miserable experience and you’ll always be looking over your shoulder. Do you really want that?

18. You always tell the truth

If you catch someone in a lie just once, it is enough to make you question every single thing they’ve told you. After all, if they can lie about that, they can lie about anything, right? Of course, it might sound a bit of an overreaction but one lie can erode away at trust in an instant. 

A very healthy relationship expectation to have is that you can rely upon them to tell you the truth always. Lies should not feature in your union.

Of course, that always means that you do the same – even a white lie can be damaging if you’re caught in it. Trust is so easily broken. [Read: Why do people lie in relationships? 10 reasons why we fib]

19. The relationship should be equal

We don’t live in the dark ages anymore. A relationship should be equal regardless of how much money one partner makes, gender, or any other thing that might have once got in the way. You should definitely expect to be an equal partner in the relationship and you should treat each other as such.

Without that, you’re going to start to feel lacking in confidence and overwhelmed by your partner. And vice versa. Equality is a baseline expectation and it’s more than healthy. 

20. Spending quality time together

It’s so easy to become overwhelmed with work, studying, family life, and everything else that gets in the way. But you should make time for one another and never cancel on dates unless something extremely serious has got in the way.

Making time for one another is a vital part of any relationship. If your partner is always off with their friends and rarely gives you much time, that’s a problem. If when you’re out together they’re always chatting on their phone, that’s a huge issue that also signals a lack of respect. [Read: 33 awesome date ideas every couple should try]

Remember, sometimes we all mess up and that means a relationship expectation might not be met. However, as long as the mistake is recognized, apologized for, and not repeated, you can overcome it with communication and sticking together as a team. 

[Read: 30 must-follow relationship rules for healthy love]

See? Healthy relationship expectations aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Know what you want in a relationship and that way, your needs are covered.

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Preeti Tewari Serai
Preeti Serai
Preeti, the founder of LovePanky, is an eternal optimist and believer in the beauty of love and life. With an exhaustive experience in love, relationships, and ...