Arguing Couples Should Know: There’s a reason Great Expectations was a work of fiction
Updated: Jan 25
Expectations if used properly can build a fruitful relationship and foster other positive virtues. Since it can be a double-edged sword the opposite is true and you can end up venturing even deeper into the dark side of personal relationship conflict.
So how do we tell which expectations are good and which are bad? Is there a balance that can be achieved with them?
Don't worry there are ways to be able to handle this with preventative measures. Also with methods that take care of additional unnecessary conflict and how to navigate back to safe waters for all parties involved.
Remember conflict resolution and management aren’t meant to be a burden but a pathway to positivity and alignment. In case you run into a conflict, use it as an opportunity to pave the way for a brighter future
What are reasonable expectations?
Reasonable expectations are the light side of the duality shown here. This is where the expectation follows another superpower, which is common sense. When we expect something from someone that has a universal and logical rationale then it's reasonable.
Some classic examples are having the expectation for tall people to reach things that are out of reach of shorter people. Or the expectation that when you go to a supermarket there'll be food for sale.
When it comes to the relationship aspect of expectations with that special someone because you're much closer to them you will start to expand those levels of expectations into a sort of relationship telepathy where you feel in sync with your partner.
You go to them when you need help with their expertise and they come to you when they need a hug because obviously, you’re the better hugger. These all make sense and you can grow and combine this with trust and interdependencies with each other to keep each other aligned. Focused on the same targets and goals in life. It’s about giving empowerment to each other and becoming a type of fuel that motivates you in life.
What are unreasonable expectations?
Unreasonable expectations are not linked to common sense in any way and supportive expectations mentioned above. It's the dark side where you start to expect certain things that don’t follow reason.
The most common is when you rob them of their agency. This means you don’t even give them a chance to explain themselves and you’ve already produced an expected outcome in your mind and made the responses for them.
A similar unreasonable expectation is when you predetermine the outcome of a situation without even allowing them to participate or help out in the situation.
This leads to you taking your partner for granted and when you start to be dismissive of their comments or worse you are starting to treat them with contempt. You have an image of what you want them to be. Maybe it was more loving or more successful or clean the house more. With these, it's less of an expectation and more of a demand that becomes contentious when they aren't met.
Where does this come from?
Ultimately this is a situation that will lead to both parties failing to get along and a breakdown of communication. We don't want that so when you start noticing that these unobtainable expectations are formed you need to look at yourself first. Doing this before the finger-pointing begins is vital.
Always communicate what your thoughts are clearly and peacefully before building out those unreasonable expectations.