Last time we talked about low and high expectations, and we ended by remarking that we should avoid confusing high and low expectations, on one hand, with realistic and unrealistic expectations, on the other. So, in this new chat we want to begin with realistic and unrealistic expectations.
Realistic and unrealistic expectations
Expectations, whether they are high or low, will be considered as realistic if they are achievable. And they are unrealistic if they are only utopia, that is, if they lack the possibility of being realised. Indeed, for example, it would only be fair to expect from your partner in a love relationship: affection, respect, intimacy; to mention but just some.
On the other hand, you have unrealistic, or unreasonable, expectations when you over expect. You are expecting much more than is possible. That can be stressing, as you cleave for things impossible to realise. That is not helpful to you or to your partner either. It creates unnecessarily stress in the relationship. Here we don’t go into detail as what may constitute over expectations, couples vary from one to another. But you are expert of your own couple –you know your situation. You know what’s possible and what’s not. And certainly, it would not be necessary to stretch your partner with demands that only leave them stressed. That doesn’t do good service to your relationship.
Pros and Cons of expectations
Like any other thing, there are two sides to expectations; positives and negatives. Let’s look at some of them.
You get what you stroke
Expectations, especially the demanding ones, help holding your relationship to high standard. You strive for high quality interactions. And because you work in that sense you are likely also to get excellent results. You get what you stroke.
However, if you aim high and expect a lot, chances are high for disappointment. It’s true in a case of anxious partners who can be quite demanding because of their tendency to feeling unsatisfied and wanting more. They feel not loved enough. Others may even admire their couple, the good husband or wife they have –but they don’t just see and appreciate that.
Psychologically, an expectation is somehow a belief about what you think will happen in the future. It inspires your behaviour, thus, things may turn out to be as expected, because you actually worked on it. In that way, the expectation served you as stimulant. Expecting good things becomes, hence, a self-fulfilling prophecy. Contrariwise, expecting not-so-good things becomes also a self-fulfilling prophecy. You don’t get much because you didn’t expect much either.
High expectations of your partner’s behaviour lead you to be your best self too; low expectations of your partner’s behaviour lead you to let yourself off the hook, too. You become mediocre; you are average in everything you do.
Risk of stress
The stress and the pressure from expectations, especially if accumulated for long time, may lead to resentment, anger and disappointment towards each other. When you have expectations about your partner, in a way, you wait for them to fit in your way of seeing things; leaving them little room to be themselves. You don’t respect the other for who they are but by how much they please you by meeting your demands. That can be quite self-centred.
It’s in that way that expectations can potentially strain the couple’s relationship. Locked up in your own expectations “should” becomes a recurring term in your couple, with rigid rules that you want to impose on your partner. However, remember, your spouse is not a child to be parented by you; they are your companion with whom you should work things out, consensually. That’s why you need to take into account your partner’s expectations too.
In fact, it’s necessary as partners to harmonise your expectations in your couple. How do you do that? That will be for our next chat.
For now, feel free to encourage and inspire others by a comment or a contribution in the comment space below the post. Join us on WhatsApp or Facebook group named: COUPLES’ CORNER. You can also subscribe on my blog, https://singlehumanity.com/ to receive new postings by email.