We each have our own ideas about relationship expectations.
From attachment styles formed in childhood to media influence to former relationships, we create our own standards.
Keep in mind that relationship expectations aren’t problematic in and of themselves. Rather, issues arise when expectations aren’t being met.
Various reasons exist as to why you may be unsatisfied in your relationship. Usually the pitfall is a breakdown in communication.
Unsurprisingly, this can cause an intense gap in your closeness and intimacy.
Here are a few clues that your expectations are negatively interfering in your own relationship.
1. You’re Unhappy In Your Relationship
Being unhappy or unsatisfied in your relationship is a large indicator that your expectations aren’t being met.
For one reason or another, your relationship may leave you wanting. Loneliness, rejection, resentment, and sadness can quickly seep into your emotions.
Leaving you feeling distant from your partner, it’s not uncommon to experience unhappiness. And, the culprit is unmet expectations.
2. You Believe Someone Else Could Meet Your Needs Better
Allowing another love interest—fantasy or real—to enter your world is an enormous red flag.
Although it may seem harmless to entertain these sorts of thoughts, they’re anything but innocuous. In fact, they hinder intimacy in a huge way.
However, it’s only natural to imagine yourself being happy. So, acknowledge these thoughts and explore the cause.
If you truly believe that someone else could do a better job at meeting your relationship expectations, take a closer look at your expectations.
Furthermore, examine how you’re communicating your expectations. As mentioned before, usually ineffective communication catapults these negative thoughts into your relationship.
3. You Harbor Resentment and Bitterness Toward Your Partner
Most partners feel upset, angry, or annoyed at some point. This is normal.
Yet, feelings of resentment and bitterness run much deeper. These emotions take time to fester. In other words, you typically won’t feel bitter because of one trite argument.
Bitterness and resentment often bubble up when your expectations aren’t met for a lengthy span. It’s as if there is a cycle of 1) hope, 2) unmet expectations, and 3) disappointment.
Enough of this pattern and it will cause a great divide between you and your partner.
4. You’ve Stopped Trying to Connect with Your Partner
Some partners throw in the white flag when their expectations aren’t met.
Rather than hoping for your partner to meet your expectations, you sort of curl up and prepare for your connection to die. As you can imagine, this is a very surrendered stance.
Although you may still go through the motions of being a couple, your heart simply isn’t in it any longer. This is not uncommon for relationships who have been around the block a time or two.
As expected, nothing happens when you don’t try, so any sense of connection or intimacy will likely be robotic or superfluous.
5. You Want to Talk About It but Don’t
On the tip of your tongue are all the things you want to say to your partner. Yet, many times, those words never roll out.
For many reasons—fear, insecurities, intimidation, shame, guilt—you may not be able to express yourself to your partner. This often results in a severe breakdown in communication.
When you have things to say but don’t, the tendency is to withdraw. Eventually, you may even begin to feel the aforementioned bitterness or resentment.
Often, a professional can help facilitate these difficult conversations you and your partner need to have to feel close again.
Take the first step…
If you’re ready to take a step toward restoring the closeness and intimacy in your relationship, I would like to help. Please contact me by phone or email so we can discuss how we might work together to achieve your therapeutic goals as quickly and effectively as possible.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Linda K. Laffey, MFT