Do you expect too much from your partner? I know I once did! Brings me back to a relationship I had in University. Sometime in 2006, in the middle of a heated conversation, my soon-to-be ex unexpectedly dropped the “why are you are trying to change me?” bomb right on my lap. I was furious. I remember thinking: Really? I thought I did you a favor when I changed those jeans that wouldn’t pass the second hand’s store standards or when I bought you a new towel cause you handed me one that smelled like an old mop or that time I bought you a basiiiiic (furiously emphasizing on basic) set of Ikea plates because I thought my salmon deserved to be served in kitchenware that wasn’t purchased at the Maple Leafs souvenir shop. How could you disrespect my salmon like that? and WHY was it so wrong to want to buy you something nice? I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. Took me 10 years to understand what he meant.
All this time, I was collecting experience badges so I knew going into any relationship wasn’t going to be perfect or easy. I just had my own definition (read agenda) of what love should look like. It had to be a certain way or it wasn’t love at all. So I expected and demanded a certain standard. Trouble is, while I was busy doing the demanding and expecting those standards I wasn’t considering his. It wasn’t malicious in any way but without knowing it I was acting like that crazy demanding bitch. In that moment, it wasn’t about him…it was about me. I never pictured myself that way until I took a step back and put myself in his shoes. That’s when it clicked. I particularly noticed how my behavior changed – when I was in expectation mode, the magic word my mom taught me was no longer please but sounded more like now and if the execution wasn’t done as I had anticipated then he had completely failed me as a boyfriend and he just didn’t understand me. Does this sound familiar? Then read on sista and relax…we’ve all done it in some way or another.
I remember after each break up, I could help but have a new checklist list of what the next relationship would be like – my standards will be different next time. Mr. Right would have to bond with me at every level and in the deepest ways possible. Some of the items on that list meant that I could count on him every time I needed him. If I picked-up the phone in the middle of the day to tell him about this horrible thing that happened, that means he would answer to tell every time to listen and advise me. Because that, my friends, is what a real man does. He just drops it all for you in a minute. He obviously doesn’t have a job either does he!? Ha! Just to make matters worse, those were also the days that I expected my imaginary future Mr. Right to be romantic and selfless. Sounds so naïve and unrealistic. Its mind-blowing to write it down. This may be extreme but you get my drift. We all do it some way or another. Take a minute. Think about your current relationship or your last, do you not do it too?
Here are 5 ways that you might be expecting too much from your partner (maybe even without realizing it):
- You have high expectations and standards of your partner:You expect them to be romantic, to read your mind and to put you first. Truth is, we all have jobs and bad days.
- If he doesn’t do it exactly how you had anticipated, then you transform into Hulk: This may happen at work and at home too. We often take things personally as if your partner did it on purpose to destroy you. If it’s not done your way doesn’t mean it’s wrong. We often forget that a relationship is 50-50. You will both make mistakes. That doesn’t mean it should reflect on both of you as a unit. You are both growing individuals in this relationship. Unless there is total disrespect or abuse, it doesn’t affect anything drastically. Rather, take it as a change. Change is good. Change is development.
- You often think about calling it quits: If you break up with him regularly, threaten him to or even had the thought of breaking up with him, you are basically pushing the blame onto him and him only. It’s just as much his fault as it is yours. So take some of the responsibility. Realize where you fell short and do better.
- You believe he won the lottery because you are obviously the prize in this relationship..DUH!!: I am sure you are great but try to think about how he sees things. Listen, if you could date yourself, would you consider yourself lucky to have you? Would you be happy with you? Would you do all the things you expect of him? or would you, at times, also fall short of that demanding list?
- You expect him to be sensitive… Every day. All day. Every time. At all times: If all men were sensitive then we would all be living straight out of a Disney movie wouldn’t we? Birds would be singing, you would walk around with the 7 dwarfs, you would comb your hair with a fork or your pet rats would make you a dress right? Wanting someone who understands every time, who is strong yet caring every day, who is attentive yet a mind reader would be a fantasy. It would also be quite dull wouldn’t it. There is no such thing as a perfect partner. In fact, you are not perfect yourself. (**SURPRISEEEE!!!!**) Focus on you and finding ways to perfect your behavior. Soon enough, you will marvel in his changed behavior as a reaction to your very own actions.
In passing, I don’t believe in expecting less to almost nothing either. I mean, I’ve heard lots of stories from women selling themselves short and not expecting the basics in relationships. What are the basics? In my opinion, in any relationship they are: self-respect, being spoken to with respect, mutual decision making, finding common grounds, being listened to, being taken seriously, exchanging ideas in a respectful manner, fidelity and sharing basic core values. I also believe in the importance of finding that happy medium – It’s just perfect and it works for both of you. It is not expected to be easy and it certainly won’t happen on the first try but there is a certain ease at finding a happy medium when you have the right partner. Someone who is willing to change with you and hat doesn’t call for long arguments, disrespecting each other or praying all the Gods for him to change. If you find yourself in any of these three scenarios, then it may be time to reconsider the relationship.
Personally, I remember waking up, months into a relationship, only to realize that I was in lust with mirage. My thoughts of him were my own. I am not saying that he was a mean person, in fact, he was actually very nice, respectful and polite. Except, I unrealistically imagined myself with someone strong, ambitious, bold yet a total lamb for so long that when I met someone that gave me the slightest hint of that possibility, I projected that perfect man image onto him. I drank the Kool-aid and believed like a school girl. But, again, those were my very own expectations. The reality of it was – he possibly couldn’t be there for me the way I wanted him to nor could he decode my sighs or all the “I’m fine” because he wasn’t a mind reader. Poor guy tried to be attentive and intuitive but he did it for me. It really wasn’t him. I expected too much of him.
See when I bought those jeans, the towel and the kitchen ware, that was code for what I wanted out of this relationship and what my expectations were. Not his own. At the time, we were students. Our priority was finishing up in school, paying our cell phone bills and drinking the rest of the money. We were doing our best with what we had. While I always aspired to do more and wanted to reach higher, he was content with what he had. Trying to bedazzle his life with glitter was pushing him towards that awkward corner because it wasn’t him. While I had good intentions and I saw a great potential in him, he didn’t see it for himself.
What I learned is that this wasn’t about lowering my standards or reaching for greater ones. It was about refusing to expect less then what I deserved and not expecting more then what my partner can offer me (or anyone else for that matter i.e.: colleagues, friends,etc.). It’s about self-respect. But mostly, it’s about staying true to myself and maybe focusing on me a little more rather than unwillingly sabotaging my relationships.
Oh! as for my ex, I bumped into him years later, he was still wearing those same jeans I bought him years ago…
Pssst! Do you have high expectation? It may be willingly or unwillingly. Care to share? Share in the comment box below! Tell me what you did or didn’t do.