It’s 10 PM and you haven’t heard from him all day. He told you he’d be taking the day off from work, so you expected he’d want to spend some extra time together. After all, you both are so busy in your powerful careers and free time is hard to come by. You decide to check in with him before bed. When he tells you he didn’t do anything all day, you are mad! Why didn’t he call you? Before you know it, you’re arguing and not talking to each other for the rest of the week.
Are you just being dramatic? Or did you have a right to be angry because he should have called? In my professional opinion as a dating coach, the root of this argument is an unstated (and unrealistic) expectation about how much time you think a couple should spend together.
Your expectation isn’t wrong. But since you didn’t speak up and tell him that you wanted him to spend his day off with you, your expectations are unrealistic because there’s no way for him to meet your needs unless he can read your mind.
As Esther Perel said, “Expectations are resentments waiting to happen.” So many gurus suggest you shouldn’t expect much from people so that you won’t get hurt. But that’s bad advice. Expecting to be treated with honor and respect in a relationship is the only way to go. But unrealistic expectations based on your fears or beliefs about what men should do will set you up for communication breakdowns and unnecessary break ups. Let’s fix that.
Unrealistic Expectation #1: He Should Be In Touch With Me Constantly
You’ve been taught that a man who is consistent is telling the truth about his feelings for you.. But being consistent doesn’t mean his communication needs to be constant. Be careful of how you interpret his silences. If you just met, and he doesn’t text you back within 24 hours, it doesn’t mean he’s not serious about you. And if he has a day off from work and would rather crash on the couch than plan a romantic picnic lunch with you, it doesn’t mean you’re doing all the work in the relationship. Check in with yourself: your expectations could just be the voice of fear making you feel like this guy is just like the last one who lied, cheated or withdrew from you.
Unrealistic Expectation #2: A Healthy Relationship Means No Conflict
Healthy relationships have healthy conflict. In fact, if you never disagree with your partner, that could be a sign that someone isn’t really telling the truth about what you want and need from each other.
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Unrealistic Expectation #3: We’ll Never Have Doubts About Each Other
Somebody told you a man knows what he wants, and if he doesn’t choose you right away, then he’s playing games. That isn’t the complete truth (and neither is the belief that you’ll just know he’s the one when you meet him).
It’s normal for one or both of you to have your doubts about each other and to even question if you want to be together. The important thing is that you both come out on the other side agreeing to stay together.
Unrealistic Expectation #4: I Shouldn’t Have To Tell Him When I’m Upset
If you get upset because he didn’t text you back in 24 hours AND he acts like nothing happened the next day, it’s not necessarily because he’s insensitive. He may not know that you expected him to call and he definitely doesn’t know that when you say “I’m fine,” you’re really not. If you want him to take care of your needs, it’s up to you to tell him: directly!
How can you tell if your expectations are unreasonable? If you’re constantly disappointed, deflated and feeling like you can’t meet a man who acts right, that’s a sign that your expectations of men are just too high. Remember, you should always expect to be treated with respect and dignity. But expecting him to know exactly what makes you feel loved, adored and appreciated without you communicating it to him is a set up for failure. Manage your expectations beginning on the first date and you’ll have a greater chance for a successful relationship!
BMWK, tell me what do you expect out of a relationship?