By Jennifer Kelleher
Today, we unpack the theme of expectations in relationships. I recently heard the quote, “expectations are premeditated resentments.” In relationships, this means that if we set expectations in our minds about how the other person should behave and their behaviors do not match our ideas, we can become disappointed and perhaps even resentful.
It is important to recognize that certain expectations in relationships are reasonable. For example, we all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. We deserve unconditional love, support, intimacy, and passion. When entering into a relationship, it can be helpful to get clear on the non-negotiable expectations you have for your partner. Being clear allows you to notice when expectations are not being met, and honor yourself and the other person by communicating this to them. It also helps you to discern, when you find yourself getting disappointed, whether the expectation at hand is of core importance. Is it a priority? If not, can you focus more on your partner’s positive attributes and less on negativity? For example, what qualities attracted you to your partner in the first place?
It is also possible to have unrealistic expectations in relationships, and these include things like thinking your partner has to be perfect, wanting to change your partner’s values, making your partner the source of all of your happiness, or thinking that you and your partner have to share all of the same beliefs. Expecting more from others than they can realistically provide can negatively impact your relationship, create conflict, and leave you feeling angry and resentful.
Healthline outlines some key signs to help you recognize patterns of unrealistic expectations. If this sounds like you, it may be time to do some self-exploration: (1) You feel stressed and upset when things don’t go as planned or your routine deviates slightly. (2) You find plenty to criticize in yourself and others. (3) You fixate on small details and find it very important to get everything right. (4) When things go wrong, even in minor ways, you feel let down and frustrated. (5) You have very specific visions and find it difficult to accept other possible outcomes. (6) When others don’t fall in line with your plans, you feel irritated and resentful.
If you find yourself having unrealistic expectations for your partner, it is important to pause, gather, and remember a few things. First, we are all flawed. Nobody is perfect and we all do the best we can with what we have. Second, the only person responsible for your happiness is you. Instead of focusing on how your partner can make you happy, focus on how you can make yourself happy. What (that is good for you) makes you feel good? Balance your life with things like nourishing food, exercise, time with loved ones, fresh air, restful sleep, good personal hygiene, and relaxation. When you are good, nurtured, and cared for, your partner will be, too. Third, life is always evolving, and circumstances can change quickly. Come to yoga to learn how to be more flexible in body and mind so that rigid expectations don’t get the best of you!
Join yoga instructor and reiki master Denise Lee on Wednesday, May 10 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in a warm, friendly, and supportive setting for a special workshop called Yoga That Heals. Learn how to use breath techniques, energy movement, and restorative yoga postures to uncover and recover from grief. Sign up on oceanblissyoga.net.