We set many expectations when it comes to relationships. It’s only a matter of time before disappointment sets in, and we end up falling from grace.
Nicholas Sparks has singlehandedly ruined everyone’s expectations when it comes to falling in love. Stop right there and realize that every word encapsulated within those glossy covers depicting lovey-dovey couples is a figment of a romantic novelist’s imagination. We live in the real world, and it isn’t a pretty place.
The media plays a huge role in making us believe that love is a simple thing. Romantic comedies, chick lit, and even Disney cartoons portray love and relationships in a very different light than real life does. We are led to believe that falling in love and maintaining a relationship is as easy as ABC.
More than half the marriages in the United States end in divorce. Many factors come into play, but more often than not, couples break up because they were let down. They realized too little too late that the expectations set were unrealistic and therefore unachievable. Failure is a tough thing to swallow, and most couples choose to end things instead of setting more realistic goals. [Read: 15 strange and unknown facts about divorce you had no idea about]
Expectations can ruin your love life
Both men and women are guilty of associating relationships with simplicity. They set unrealistic goals and expect everything to work out to a T. Don’t be naïve and fall into that trap. Here are 14 unrealistic expectations that can downright ruin your love life.
#1 I come first. Many people get into relationships thinking that they will come first in their partner’s lives. Constantly being number one is a myth. We live in a demanding world that requires us to focus on multiple things at once, namely keeping our jobs, making time for ourselves, investing time in friends and family, and getting through the daily grind.
Sometimes, there just isn’t enough time in a day to please your partner too. You have to realize that it’s okay to come in second every so often. The same way you have stuff to do, so does your partner.
#2 No fighting. Another unrealistic expectation that could ruin your relationship is thinking that fights are a bad thing. You have to change your mindset and realize that conflict isn’t the worst thing that could mar your relationship.
#3 No need for anyone else. The idea that you don’t need anyone else in your life once you’re in a relationship is a silly myth. One person isn’t going to fulfill all your social needs, and the sooner you realize it, the better. You need people around you who can offer support that your partner can’t.
Don’t neglect your friends, and remember to stay in touch with family members. The more people you have in your life, the more enriched your relationship will be.
#4 Understand my feelings. Your partner isn’t a mind reader, so don’t expect them to know what you’re thinking and feeling. If you don’t express yourself, they’ll be left in the dark and won’t be able to fix whatever’s bothering you. If the channels of communication between the two of you aren’t solid, it’s only a matter of time before your relationship fails. [Read: 12 real reasons why most couples drift apart over time]
#5 We have to be together. There’s no need to be together 24-7. Make time for yourself and invest in your friendships. If you smother each other and don’t spend a sliver of time apart, you will eventually get tired and bored. It may not seem like it’s possible now, but give it a couple of years and you’ll know just what I mean.
#6 Our relationship is easy. Thinking that your relationship should be easy is an unrealistic expectation. Anyone who tells you that their relationship is easy is bullshitting you. Longtime lovers will tell you that relationships are hard work and that they’re built on compromise, trust, and understanding. If you get into a relationship thinking that it’s going to be a walk in the park, you’re in for some nasty surprises.
#7 Disney is right. Critics have written countless papers on how flawed Disney’s way of projecting relationships is. To some extent, they’re all right. Real life is nothing like Disney. Princes and princesses don’t just fall in love and live happily ever after.
#8 Make me happy. It is unrealistic to expect your partner to make you happy every minute of every day. They have a life to live and don’t have time to cater to your every whim. Don’t forget that it’s a two-way street, so if you want your partner to make you happy, you have to work hard to do the same.
#9 My way is right. Don’t think that your way is the right and only way. You got into a relationship with another human being and not with yourself, so it’s common sense that they have their own way of doing things. Everything from how they deal with conflict to how they clean the toilets may be different, so learn to embrace the differences and not criticize them.
#10 We share one mind. You may have found a partner to have and to hold, but you don’t share one mind. Understand and accept that your partner has different opinions and beliefs. Being with you is not going to change their political preference. It’s not going to make them convert out of their religion, and it’s certainly not going to get them to forgo their friends and hobbies.
#11 I’ll always be satisfied. It is unrealistic to believe that you will be 100 percent satisfied in your relationship, especially if you don’t work on it. Like a houseplant, relationships require nourishment, love, and care.
If you’re not willing to put the time and work into it, you won’t be satisfied for very long. Rifts will grow between you, fights will escalate, and before you know it, you’ll be alone.
#12 The sex will be great forever. It’s a fallacy to believe that the sex will be awesome till the end of time. As explosive as it is now, it’s only a matter of time before both of you run out of sexual tricks to impress each other. Sex will become routine, and you’ll get jaded. That’s the thing about monogamy.
#13 Everyone’s going to love my partner. Another unrealistic expectation that you need to watch out for is the belief that everyone is going to love who you’re dating. On the contrary, there’s a chance that someone you care about isn’t going to think very highly of your lover.
Whether it’s your dad, best friend, colleagues, or worst of all, everyone you know, you need to know how to handle this without alienating your partner and those you care about.
#14 The power is shared. Everyone assumes that there won’t be a power struggle in their relationship. They’re absolutely wrong because just like everything else, a leader is needed. More often than not, the power lies in the person who earns more money in the relationship.
This is very subjective, and thankfully isn’t true for some cases. There are many couples out there who have managed to maintain the delicate balance of power between them despite their income differences.
In order for your relationship to stand the test of time, you have to let go of unrealistic expectations. They put way too much unnecessary pressure on you and your partner; they taint what you have and then set you on a mission working toward false goals.