How to overcome different relationship expectations

By Dr.Lurve – Leading love and relationship coach

When it comes to relationships in this day and age, we often assume people are on the same page as we are. Whether it’s to do with political views, moral standards and relationship expectations, we can be taken aback when someone doesn’t agree with our opinion. Though we live in a world where digital communication is on the rise, our connectedness with real people is becoming diminished – and communication in relationships is at an all-time low.


When it comes to what to expect in relationships, our standards are built from a variety of factors such as previous relationship experiences, what our parents' relationship was like, and how relationships are shown in media, TV and films. We create these images in our heads of what relationships should be like, and when our real-life relationships don’t turn out that way it can hit us with this wave of disappointment and resentment.


Though our expectations when it comes to relationships can differ wildly from others, it’s important to have similar expectations when it comes to your partner. Being on the same page is vital to having a successful, healthy relationship, so what happens when you and your partner have different views of your relationship expectations?


You and your partner have experienced relationships in different ways and it’s shaped the way you both view romance and love; we’ve come up with a few ways to work through your different expectations so you can be on the same wavelength (hopefully!).


Review your current relationship expectations

It can be hard to take a step back and question why you have certain expectations of your relationship, but this step is crucial for self-awareness and development. You need to look at your expectations from your partner’s point of view – are you demanding too much from them, and would you want to meet those expectations if your partner put them on you? This time to reflect means you can work out what expectations you want to keep, and which ones you can abandon.


Rather than lowering your standards, you’re simply cutting the list down a bit. If your list has more superficial expectations like “he must be 6 foot tall or over” or “always pay the bill for dinner”, you can probably get rid of those. You don’t find happiness based on someone’s looks or their traditional chivalry, it’s about who they are and how they make you feel. Keep the essentials on your list of expectations, like “sharing the workload”, “having a spark”, and “mutual respect”. With a short and simple list, you’ll be able to work out everything else along the way.


See things in a new perspective

Demanding perfection can be easy but very rarely executed – your disappointment levels will go through the roof if you only want things to be perfect all the time. Perfection doesn’t exist in the relationship and dating world. You don’t need to settle for less than what you deserve, but you also don’t need to fester over the small, irrelevant details either. So your partner doesn’t clean the kitchen exactly how you clean it? Rather than being resentful and never letting him clean it again, why not take the opportunity to show him how you like it done, or better yet just let him do his thing and say thanks for putting in the effort.


What matters more than perfection is effort after all, and you don’t want your partner to feel like they’re letting you down all the time even when they try their best. Talk about how you can both help each other meet the expectations you have in your relationship, and you’ll be able to come to a compromise. Learning to appreciate the effort and gesture rather than only seeing how they didn’t meet your high standards will create a happy, healthy and harmonious relationship. Don’t forget, saying thank you and showing your appreciation goes a long way!


Talk isn’t cheap

I always say that having open lines of communication in a relationship is the key to success because it’s true! The best way to get you and your partner on the same page is by talking it out and discussing why you have certain relationship expectations. Sometimes saying things out loud can be cathartic and make you realise how inflated some expectations can be. Have you ever had those moments when you think about something for so long, and finally say it out loud, and then say “now that I’m saying it out loud it sounds silly”?


That’s exactly why you and your partner need to keep the talk up, especially when you’re feeling disappointed about a certain situation. Don’t keep them in the dark, let them know what’s bothering you and encourage them to speak up when something’s bothering them!


Communication is a two-way street, so being able to listen to your partner and putting those things into action will help you be a better partner to them, and bring you closer as a result. Your expectations might not line up all the time and you might not always be on the same page – as long as you’re reading the same book, you’ll experience less disappointment and more happy times.