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Are Faulty Expectations Ruining Your Relationship?

Once upon a time…there was a beautiful young girl called Goldilocks…and I don’t know what expectations she had when she went into that house of the 3 bears…but she was curious and she did have expectations…didn’t she…because we all do…at one time or another…and I do know this…

The Problem with Setting Expectations that are Too High

Expectations that are too high are “unrealistic”. The problem with having those kinds of expectations in a relationship are:

We expect our partner to be perfect and without flaws. We expect them to read our minds and know what we need, without our ever asking. They are set on a pedestal and heaven help them if they step off of it.

We become anxious because we think we need to be perfect or behave in a very specific, rigid role. Then when we fail to achieve that, we become our own worst critic…calling ourselves names and being mean by taking away privileges and looked forward to treats.

We procrastinate doing the things that would make the relationship better, such as developing effective communication skills. Because the expectation is SO high, we can’t get it done. We have set ourselves an impossible task. So why start something you know is bound to fail?

And when that little girl wandered around that house…she came across three bowls of porridge…and she was hungry…and she expected them to taste great because…and when she tasted them, the first bowl was too hot…the second bowl was too cold…

When Expectations of your Relationship are Too Low

Often, when one has been in a relationship for a while and have been burned by expectations that weren’t met because they were unrealistic, the pendulum swings the other way.

Either you leave that relationship and start a new one, or you downgrade the expectations you have for the current relationship. Either way, on some level, you decided that you would “settle” and even in a new relationship, you set expectations that are too low.

And then this happens:

Boredom sets in. There is no energy, excitement or good challenge in the relationship.

There is a sense of dissatisfaction like there is something missing…something that you can’t quite put your finger on.

Fights happen because you are desperately trying to infuse energy into the relationship.

And possibly, addictions set in…eating, drinking, gambling, overspending…anything to take the edge off the boredom.

…and the third bowl of porridge was just right…

When Those Expectations are Just Right

You love and accept the person you are in relationship with (this means you, too)

You honor your values and allow yourself to express them fully in your life through activities that are important to you

There is that sense of achievement, of flow and being able to meet reasonable goals that are important to you

There is that undeniable feeling of connection, of feeling loved and understood

So look at your expectations…ask yourself…are they too high…too low…or just right…it really comes down to telling the truth and being honest with yourself. Talk about it with your partner or write it down.

Your definition of just right expectations is the only one that counts…and once you can see it…you can change it…it may take time but it can be done. Because you deserve to have a relationship that works…and one of the steps is to clarify those expectations.

“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?”  Sherie Venner

*P.S.  I'd love if you Liked my page!

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I am a Relationship Coach who helps others create happy, healthy, loving relationships…including the relationship they have with themselves…by breaking through those blocks and barriers to success. I use various techniques gathered through training as a Master Practitioner of NLP, timeline, hypnosis and common sense gathered through life experience.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Theresa Cifali June 12, 2012, 9:29 pm

    This is fantastic, Sherie! I love the analogy you chose…it really helped to demonstrate your points.

    • Sherie June 12, 2012, 9:37 pm

      Thanks, Theresa!

  • Beth Heilman June 10, 2012, 11:00 pm

    I love this article Sherie!! Having realistic expectations results in a much healthier (and way more fun) relationship. Thank you for a much needed reminder!

    • Sherie June 10, 2012, 11:35 pm

      Beth, thank you for your kind words! Yes, realistic expectations are the way to go!!

  • Linda Jenkins June 6, 2012, 7:09 pm

    loved the article Sherie! It is so true acceptance for who the person is and not trying to change them is so very necessary in honoring each person invovled.

    • Sherie June 6, 2012, 8:04 pm

      Totally, Linda! Thanks so much for your comment!

  • denny hagel June 6, 2012, 6:54 pm

    This is one of the best articles I have read in awhile!! Love the way you present both sides of expectations…key is truly to find that fine line that is so personal. Thanks for sharing this…wonderful topic to ponder!:)

    • Sherie June 6, 2012, 8:03 pm

      Denny, thank you so much for your kind words!! You are so right…finding that fine line is the key!

  • Alexandra McAllister June 6, 2012, 3:21 pm

    Thank you Sherie! Enjoyed reading your post. I believe we should set the expectations to something that both partners agree upon in advance. Too often no one says anything until it is too late!

    • Sherie June 6, 2012, 3:51 pm

      Exactly, Alexandra…and that is a problem! Thanks so much for your comment!

  • Tony Taylor June 6, 2012, 1:27 pm

    Great post Sherie! Today, everyone have so many expectations set in relationships. I try not to set so many because I find most of the time I end up being disappointed.

    • Sherie June 6, 2012, 1:59 pm

      Thanks, Tony. I think the key is to set realistic expectations that partners can agree on…and not too many! : D

  • Stacy Stevens June 1, 2012, 9:28 pm

    Thank you Sherie! The correct expectations fall into all of our relationships! Wonderful reminder!

    • Sherie June 1, 2012, 9:30 pm

      Thank you, Stacy!! I am glad that you liked it!