We all seek the perfect relationship. The kind of relationship we read about in fairy tale stories. The prince charming that will bring your glass slipper at your doorstep, and the fairy tale wedding that will follow. The kind of love you have been conditioned to dream of. It is these fairy tale expectations that are hindering us from enjoying our real life relationships.
Expectations to have the kind of love we read about, the flawless, magical, romanticized relationship, but also the perfect partner. We expect our partners to think like we do, act like we do, and be psychics because they obviously know exactly what goes on in our heads. At the core of any relationship, expectations are the root of all struggles and what cause any relationship to fall apart. Here are the reasons why I decided to love without any expectations.
You Avoid Disappointments
Expectations automatically ensure that you are anticipating certain behaviours from your partner. You start looking for patterns and how your partner will react to certain situations. Will he do the same thing as last time, or will he actually act the way you want him to? When you are anticipating certain behaviours you are setting yourself up for disappointment and you enter a vivious cycle. Ask yourself questions about why you might be upset about what is happening. Are you upset with your partner because he didn’t respond to a situation the way you expected him to? Is your reaction based on your own ideas of how things should have been handled? Any time you reflect and observe, you get to the core of what you were expecting and what actually happened.
You Are No Longer The Martyr
Unfilled expectations in your relationship lead you to walk down what I like to call the Martyr Road. You feel underappreciated, and like you always put so much effort in your relationship, but your partner does not. You also feel like you deserve to receive certain things from your relationship or your partner, but your partner always seems to fall short. In other words, you are sabotaging your own relationship by having certain expectations. Don’t get me wrong some things in any given relationship are common sense and should of course be expected. To avoid walking down the martyr road, stop placing expectations on a pedestal based on what you would do or how you would react in a given situation. Your partner is a not you. You both think and act differently. Stop expecting him to act or think like you.
Take Better Care of Yourself
When you let go of expectations you take sole responsibility of taking care of yourself and giving yourself what you want. It is oh so lovely for our partner to do things for us like surprise us with flowers or clean the house without us having to ask. But why not buy your own flowers? Why not directly ask your partner to clean the house instead of waiting for him to do so? Treat yourself the way you want to be treated instead of waiting for someone to do the nice things for you, or waiting for someone to take the initiative to help you. Run your life the way you want it. No one knows what you want except you. So set your wants in action. Tell your partner what to do instead waiting and watching him fail.
Find a Balance
So that I am not a hypocrite, I still struggle to this day to let go of expectations. I struggle to find the balance to not hold grudges when Kam’s behaviour does not align with my so called expectations. There is a fine line and with time you come to differentiate of what issues are worth standing up for and defending, and which issues you simply have to accept that are just expectations based on your beliefs of how your partner should react to certain situations. When you have expectations you set yourself up to be disappointed. When you have no expectations you minimize your disappointments.
*Photography: Laura Clarke