I think the number one cause of heartache and disappointment in relationships is failed expectations.
Expectations are built in several ways: by reading into your man’s behavior, by romanticizing a relationship to be more than it truly is, by wanting something without expressing your needs or by simply ignoring things you are shown or told.
As a relationship coach, a large part of what I do is manage my clients’ expectations. My intention here is to help you become aware of your own expectations so they don’t end up destroying your relationships.
Make sure you keep your thoughts in the present.
Don’t let your romantic fantasies dictate your behavior or (more importantly) your reactions. An upset client recently called me saying the man she is falling in love with was going away for the weekend and he didn’t invite her. She was ready to end the relationship, but they haven’t even slept together yet. What was upsetting her was her own expectation to travel with him, not anything he actually did. He was behaving appropriately for a new relationship. I encouraged her to tell him she’d like to plan a weekend together. She liked that idea better.
If you want something, you have to tell your partner so he has the opportunity to give you what you want. Having unexpressed expectations and then reacting badly when you don’t get your way is why men think women are so hard to understand. Have you ever thought, “If he truly loved me, he’d know what I want”? If you truly love him, you won’t expect him to read your mind. He can’t and that has nothing to do with his feelings for you. You have to teach him how you’d like to be treated.
Reading into his behavior is another recipe for heartache. You have to take him at face value and hear what he tells you. Then you can proceed accordingly. If you make excuses for what you think he truly feels and then respond to your version, the relationship will become unrealistic and fail.
Asking for what you want does not mean be needy or demanding – neither is attractive. Try to take care of your own needs before asking him for help. Men love women who love themselves and who don’t confuse them. When you start feeling upset with your man, do some soul searching to find the true source before you blame him. Make sure your expectations are realistic for where your relationship truly is and you’re both thinking and wanting the same things.
Relationships have stages and need to grow. If you want to move your relationship forward, then have a calm conversation every six months about what you both want.
Commonality is what makes a relationship work. Managing your expectations will make you both happier.
This column was written for DatingAdvice.com