You can blame it on social media, the movies, or the love stories you’ve read and have been told when you were younger. Love has always been depicted as the picture of a happy couple gazing tenderly at each other’s eyes. It is a proposal on bended knees. An oversized bouquet of flowers. A person shouting one’s declaration of love at the top of their lungs. Or someone running through the sunset towards their beloved’s arms.
When it comes to love, we could have a tendency to expect an overly romanticized unfolding of events. We’re sure that is what we’re supposed to tell our future grandkids about. We’ve grown up with fairy tales showing us how perfect love can be.
It is good to have high standards when it comes to your relationships. It means you cherish your partner so much that you are aware of their value. There is a study on having high expectations by a University of North Carolina University psychology professor Donald H. Baucom. He found that people with high expectations have the tendency to be in relationships where they are nurtured well.
But, when expectations are unrealistic, they can only lead to the ruin of a relationship.
When you find your own love story so far from what you see in the movies, do you automatically think that it may not be real? What happens when you don’t receive a big box of chocolates or a life-sized teddy bear? Do you immediately suspect that your partner no longer loves you? What would you do when your significant other is not able to book that trip to the most romantic city in the world? Do you consider your relationship now a mess?
Here we list the ways your unrealistic expectations are ruining your relationships:
1. It sets up your partner for failure.
When perfection is what you’re aiming for, your partner is bound to fall short at one point or another. If you expect that romance will always be present, it will just put pressure on your partner.
Do you require them to spend almost all their waking time with you? Do you want them to be available to reply to your messages 24/7? Or attend to your needs before anything else? Then you are most likely being unfair. They may have said they love you, but they probably did not sign up to be tested against your perfectionist ways.
Remember that your relationship will have its ups and downs. Expecting romance to always be there is like asking only for sunny weather all year round. It’s not possible nor will it be beneficial.
2. It prevents you from enjoying reality.
Being fixated on only one idea of love can be destructive. It prevents you from appreciating other ways affection is expressed. Especially if your partner’s love language is different from yours. You might not be able to see that they are already communicating their feelings to you.
You might be expecting lavish gifts. You may envision other grand gestures of love, but your partner may be better with words or actions. They might prefer writing notes or doing chores for you. It doesn’t mean they love you any less, they just have a different way of expressing it. Knowing your partner’s love language can definitely improve your relationship
Keep in mind that your partner may not be the knight in shining armour you have always imagined and hoped for. But they may have different ways of making sure they catch you when you fall.
3. It keeps you away from others.
Have you ever admonished your partner for looking at other people? Are they not allowed to express admiration for anyone else except you?
Sometimes, your unrealistic expectations call for exclusivity. Loyalty and faithfulness are vital for a lasting relationship. But don’t think that your partner should have no need for other relationships in their life. You will only be placing undue and impractical limitations on them.
You may be an important part of their life and vice versa. But this should not keep you from letting them have their own circle of friends.
There are benefits to having relationships with the people around you. Being with friends and family from time to time enriches what you already have. It gives you a wider perspective from the insights you gain.
4. It can cause communication barriers.
Do you expect your partner to know what you are thinking? Are they required to be able to finish your sentences?
It’s pleasing to hear that our partner knows us so well. So much so that they understand our moods and facial expressions. But there isn’t anyone who could really know us that well to predict all our ways, all the time.
At times when expectations are so high, your partner will not prefer to talk it through. Your partner will just shut down. They see this better than taking the risk of letting you down. If unresolved, this may become a pattern until it is too late.
Studies now reveal that even good communication may not be enough. It has to be a better, more positive way to achieve satisfaction in the relationship.
So try not to put them on the spot, that they would only fear facing your disappointment. Talk them through your expectations. And then hear them out when they express their opinions on these.
5. It can lead to bitterness and resentment.
Do you believe that perfect couples never argue or fight? Or that good relationships do not need work?
The disagreements and discussions are the tedious, boring parts of a relationship. They don’t get portrayed much in movies. But just because they don’t get talked about that much doesn’t mean they’re not there.
Conflicts are inevitable in a relationship. It’s because with two people means there will most likely be two opinions at a given time. You have to make peace with the fact that you have to work your way through the disagreements. This is the only way to solve problems.
If there’s no proper communication, it will only fuel bitter emotions. It’s because you are comparing your partner to something that you don’t even have the full picture of. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, comparison is the thief of joy.
6. It makes you rigid.
Having rigid expectations means you are forcing your partner to fit into a mould. It doesn’t allow them any room to change. Sooner or later, they would feel choked that it will only lead to problems in the relationship.
Allow your expectations to change, because it is part of life. Happiness comes when you let go of your unrealistic expectations. It makes you find joy in the unexpected.
Evidently, unrealistic expectations can cause a lot of harm to a relationship. It doesn’t matter if you intended to adopt these standards voluntarily. Or you may have unconsciously acquired them. It’s time to reexamine how you set standards for your partner.
We’re not saying that you should lower your expectations in order to be happy. Instead, try to determine whether they are unrealistic. Are they the kind that only superheroes in movies will be able to measure up to? Remember that you are in a relationship with a human being. They are someone who has lovable traits as well as acceptable flaws. Make sure that you look to your partner through the eyes of love, and not unjust criticism.
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