How to Manage Expectations in a Relationship?

Expectations in a Relationship - Insightful Counselling

“Far too many people are looking for the right person instead of trying to be the right person.” Gloria Steinem

We are familiar with loads of fantasies and dreams we tie to our partners or loved ones. We’ve all been in a situation like this at least once, both asking for more and receiving more.

When we love or care for a person, we naturally expect something good in return. That is inevitable. After all, if not for love and respect, then what is a relationship?

A person should only be asked to do what they can reasonably achieve. 

What Are Relationship Expectations?

In this article, we will examine the long-term effects of our expectations and discuss how to get manage our expectations in relationships.

What Are Relationship Expectations? - Insightful Counselling

Expectations are when you believe someone owes you something in terms of actions or words. As a human being each one of us has expectations. It’s normal. We are designed in such a way that we connect with others in many facets of our lives. Therefore, their behaviour or words can profoundly affect our lives.

We all naturally expect to bask in the constant and undivided love of the people around us and expect them always to make us happy. We hope they understand us as we know ourselves, listen to every word and pay attention to minute details.

However, we do not get our needs met many a times. Meeting needs in a relationship is a two way traffic. A little compassion and consideration in a relationship go a long way and are desired by both sides.

How To Manage Expectations In A Relationship?

How To Manage Expectations In A Relationship? - Insightful Counselling

We already know that unhealthy relationship expectations can cause resentment, but what can we do to clean our relationships of this dilemma? 

How can we stop the constant arguing or conflicts in the relationship?

1. Love yourself:  Recognise your needs for affirmations. Start by affirming yourself. Validate yourself. Though self-love cannot replace validation from your loved ones, it does bring satisfaction and has a positive effect on your love life. Loving yourself will also mean communicating in a compassionate and considerate manner your needs and yearnings to your loved ones. It will also mean hearing their yearnings and needs. 

2. Believe: When you are in a relatively good relationship, one needs to understand every person expresses their love differently. You may need to belief in your loved ones and their intentions. Many a times it’s ok to have a conversation about your expectations and their expectations from you. Communication is an essential key to manage expectations. Believe in your ability to communicate with your loved ones. 

3. Acceptance: Accept your loved ones as they are, with their flaws and inadequacies. Moreover, accept that you may not always get what you want, but there is still some good in everything around you. Managing your  expectations always help. Perhaps a good idea will be to look at the strengths in your relationship and then compare it what is lacking. If the strengths are more, it may be worth fighting for your relationship with some acceptance. 

4. Spend time together: Spend time with that person to give your relationship a clear definition. When you live good moments together frequently, you focus on the positive more than the lack in the relationship. Conversely, if you stay apart for long periods, it will most likely cause a dispute in your relationship.

5. Consider good things: Learn to prioritize appreciation rather than complaints and expectations. Your life goal should be to collect a bundle of positivity rather than a bunch of complaints at the end. 

Is It Fair to Have Expectations in a Relationship?

Having expectations in your relationship is healthy and indicates life in the relationship. You only expect from someone you have a significant connection. Expecting respect, time, and compassion is unavoidable. Also, satisfying those expectations is mandatory for a smooth journey.

But when you start having constant unrealistic expectations, it becomes unfair to you and your relative. This is where the resistance begins replacing the frankness in the relations, and distances stretch out. 

Let’s turn the tables for a while. Can you fulfil all the expectations of your loved ones? 
It is likely to behave differently with others how you want to be treated, to pay heed to every single need of your partner.

Do Expectations Ruin Relationships?

Do Expectations Ruin Relationships - Insightful Counselling

Expectations give rise to disappointments. A constant struggle to satisfy someone’s expectations and failing at it might suffocate the person on the receiving end. Knowing that you are constantly missing the mark can sabotage your inner peace and topple over the balance of your relationship’s equation. And finally, there comes a time when there is no room left for tolerance and trust. Relationships are damaged beyond repair by this type of behaviour.

Why Do Expectations Hurt Relationships?

False hopes are usually the breeding ground for regrets and distress. It hurts both; the expectant and the expected.

The damage occurs in gradual steps.

You can not provide a guideline to your partner and expect them to follow it. Instead, it would be best to let the relationship build and grow brick by brick, moment by moment. This needs two things, time and space.

As soon as the first brick is moved due to disappointment, communication is affected. There is a communication gap, and both people stop cooperating.

All this brings a void between you both and, eventually, turbulence in the harmony of your relationship.

How Do We Manage Expectations in Our Relationship?

How Do We Manage Expectations In Our Relationship

If you have experienced everything mentioned above, it’s high time you start looking for ways to manage expectations. Then, follow specific steps to take the reins of your expectations in your hands. Also read our blog on 5 ways to keep your relationship alive. 

1. Talk it out: A secret ingredient of a long-lasting relationship is communication. Express your feelings to your partner and listen to them attentively. Don’t let words fly during heated arguments but speak out after the heat settles. When things seem more settled, remove the filter and let your partners know everything you feel.

2. Try to be realistic: Have a practical approach toward the aspects of a relationship. Expecting fantasies to be brought to life is going to disappoint you. Instead of seeing things as they are, judge for yourself. Figure out where you are asking for what you deserve and where you are crossing the line and are being difficult.

3. Stop comparison: Never compare your relationship with others. No matter how perfect your life is, a comparison will always give you a loose end, and you will end up complaining. And this will most likely disturb your mental health.

4. Give each other space: As discussed earlier, a healthy relationship needs space to grow. The constant pressure to please one another disturbs relationships. Space to figure things out makes one feel safe and secure in the relationship.

5. Learn to appreciate: Focus on all the good things in your relationship and appreciate them. This will help you step out of your idealistic realms of dreams and unmet expectations. You can also have marriage counselling if you are having issues with you partner.

6. Family Therapy / Couple Therapy: If all the above steps are not helpful, visiting a therapist is usually very helpful. A therapist works in a non-biased ways, to understand expectations of each member and to get each member to have a listening and compassionate ear for each other.  


Instead of keeping unhealthy expectations in a relationship, try to change your approach and be more grateful. 

Expecting affection and attention is natural and imperative, but asking for more than what is logical is the beginning of a ruined relationship. So let the excess expectations take a back seat and make your journey smooth and bump-free.


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