Understand your expectations in relationship.
Expectation, according to the American Psychological Association, is simply defined as “a state of tense, emotional anticipation.”
It’s a personal belief and information in your brain that affects how you think, feel, and behave … and the way you understand what’s happening to you and your relationship/s.
Expectations function automatically. Most of them are virtually unconscious. It’s like driving a car where you don’t even have to think about it.
In my psychotherapy practice, I always find expectations to be a reliable source or clue in understanding what’s happening to individuals and their relationships.
When a partner is sad, angry, or disappointed, some expectation is often not being met in the relationship.
Many years ago, a well known couple, Lito and Liza, saw me for help in their marriage. They’re on the brink of separation and divorce.
“My husband does not kiss or hug me when he gets home. Even if he says ‘I love you,’ it feels fake!” shared Liza in-session.
Lito, on the other hand, complained about how his wife handles finances. “She’s weak in budgeting. There’s always spending on what’s not needed by us,” he said.
When Liza discovered Lito’s affair with a young woman, that’s when hell broke loose. Lito did show remorse and cut all communications with the other woman.
In therapy, more and more of their unmet expectations of each other causing major wounds were unpacked. They’re there eating up on their marriage even way before the affair happened.
Expectations are internal “filters” that affect how you perceive your partner and your relationship. You need to be clear and aware enough about them.
In addition, you also need to be realistic in your expectations about your partner and relationship. Otherwise, the risk of disappointment and chaos becomes greater.
As author Dr. John Johnson observed in the article “The Psychology of Expectations” for Psychology Today,
“Unrealistic expectations are premeditated resentments.”
Understand your expectations in relationship for healthy, balanced well-being.