Expectation is the root of all heartache. — William Shakespeare
When I was about to meet my now-husband, I was advised by many to avoid having high expectations from the boy I was going to meet. When I did ask why I was told that having expectations brings about lots of fights between the couples.
Looking back now, thank god I did not listen to their advice.
A lot of us underestimate the importance of setting realistic expectations when you get into a relationship. You know what you are. You know what you want. If the person you are about to meet has a probability of becoming your life partner, shouldn’t he/she understand that too?
The primary purpose? To just get on the same page. That’s it. As simple as that.
It helps both of you understand each other and decide whether you can continue forward with him/her or not.
Even if you have to wait for someone who understands you, it is okay. It would be worth the wait.
Setting expectations also helps you to improve the quality of your marriage. Any marriage is usually a long-term relationship, isn’t it? We meet different people every day and are put in different situations. We are bound to change, and so are our expectations. Being clear about your expectations with your partner at every point in life, would improve your marriage drastically.
Donald Baucom, a psychology professor at the University of North Carolina, studied marital expectations for a decade. He found that people get what they expect. People with low expectations tend to be in relationships where they are treated poorly, and people with high expectations tend to be in relationships where they are treated well.
This suggests that by having high standards, you are far more likely to achieve the kind of relationship you want than you are by looking the other way and letting things slide.
Before setting the expectations with your partner, and putting it out there in the open, figure out what they are. Don’t be vague about them and make sure that they are reasonable.
Being clear of what you want, does not mean that you expect the other person to be perfect, no. It just means 2 things.
- In every relationship, we have some boundaries and conditions. Ones that you would never let go of. You make it clear to them. Again this does not mean you are not changing yourself to situations. But you are very clear about what you would not change.
- You get to know the same about the other person.
This in the long term avoids so many fights or cracks in the relationship, and also gives a very clear idea of what kind of person you are to your to-be partner.
E.g. the first thing I asked my partner when I met him for the first time, is whether he knew to cook. It might seem very bizarre for many people, but it was something I wanted in my partner. If he didn’t I would probably not have married him. You never know.
And I also set expectations from my side, that I am not a “typical” homely girl. I like to travel a lot and in no means in the future, I will leave my job.
Expectations also clear out a lot of things right? Suppose, if my partner wanted a wife who was a homemaker, and took care of his house and his kids, I would not have been the right person for him.
I have also seen the dark side of not setting expectations. I have seen so many of my friends/family members, who have suffered their marriage because of not setting expectations. They got married with the wrong person and regretted it throughout their life.
This also does not mean you can set unrealistic expectations with your partner. You cannot expect your partner to look like a model, have a heart of gold, love you with all his heart, be loyal, and have all the money in the world. No. It does not happen anywhere other than in books.
Do not expect your partner to “just know” things about you. Especially, in the early parts of your relationship. It does not make sense at all. Do you expect your partner to have telepathic properties?
Relationships require work, and they are very sensitive. It also needs communication. There is a very fine balance between setting unrealistic expectations and just settling down for the first man you meet. You need to know this balance.
Expect that. You deserve it. It is not unreasonable, and it is achievable.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project and want a deeper connection with our community, please join us as a Premium Member today.
Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS. Need more info?
Photo credit: Everton Vila on Unsplash