To Expect Or Not To Expect: Managing Expectations In Your Relationship


Relationships are quite complicated, right? Be it romantic relationships, platonic ones or even the ones with family. It is usually due to expectations that we have from the other person or just ourselves that complicate it for us. It is absolutely normal to have expectations but the art is in managing them and not letting them get to the better of you. A successful relationship is when the expectations from both the individuals are set clear and mutual understanding and respect is established. When we focus on our differences and mis-matched expectations in a relationship, rather than appreciating the little things that one does and the things one does right, fights and conflict is bound to happen. The way one does things may differ from the other person but that doesn’t make anyone wrong or right. Having just expectations with no or very little appreciation leads to nagging, frustration and bickering. Often couples state that they fight over small things and it is often due to mismatched expectations. There are ways to manage expectations in a relationship and how to make it an enriching and fulfilling one. Let’s look at some of them that you can apply in your daily life.

Compassion is at the top of the list of what to expect in a relationship. To successfully navigate any relationship, you want to demonstrate compassion by prioritizing your love over your expectations. As important as it is to learn how to manage expectations in a relationship, remember that expectations are there to facilitate warmth. At the end of the day, it’s your partnership that’s most important.

Respect is the basis of any relationship, romantic or otherwise. To show respect means to value the other person’s perspective and needs – this is the basis of effective communication. To show respect for your partner, never correct them! Instead, seek a playful, empathetic way to redirect an argument. From there, you’re able to find solutions without creating unnecessary tension.

Another factor that helps in managing is consideration – for your partner, their interests and their relationship expectations. To show consideration, you must make a point to value your relationship over your relationship rules. This is a real stickler when it comes to what to expect in a relationship, since it’s easy to view the “rules” as the basis of your partnership. But when you value your partner over your rules, this paves the way for fulfilling both people’s expectations.

It is important to identify expectations and boundaries in your relationship. Sit down with your partner to clarify your expectations from the relationships. Do you expect your partner to text or call you throughout the day? Do you like or not like PDA? Do you believe in monogamy or polygamy? Articulate your expectations as well as listen to your partner’s expectations and understand it. It is recommended to make a list of your expectations and analyze them before talking to your partner.

Giving your partner time to consider your expectations and share their own, establishes respect for your individual experiences. Once you have shared your expectations, step back and let them process. Some people take more time to process information and emotions. If you’re a fast processor, resist the urge to rush your partner. Giving them time helps to manage expectations in the relationship.

If you and your partner find that your relationship expectations don’t line up exactly, this does not mean your partnership is doomed. Being open minded and considering your partner’s boundaries and their expectations for the relationship can actually lead to growth and greater intimacy. Give yourself time to consider what is really important to you and where you can compromise.

These little yet important things will help you easily manage expectations in your relationship. By managing expectations you are setting yourself up for an enriching experience with the other person as well as enjoy a healthy and happy relationship. 

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