All of us hold unrealistic expectations but in the long term, those unrealistic expectations can shut down our goals, they can chip away at our relationships and they can even steer our lives in an unhealthy direction. The unrealistic expectations that couples have regarding their relationships are actually toxic and in time, they can damage their special bond. Those unrealistic expectations can set us and others up for failure because when someone falls short, we draw false conclusions, we experience negative feelings and we can even act in a negative manner. Here are 7 ways for couples to avoid unrealistic expectations that you should consider:
1. Learn to Spot Them
One of the first things you should do if you want to relinquish unrealistic expectations is to learn how to spot them. This is not always easy, especially if you have held these unrealistic expectations for years, but it’s a necessary thing to do if you want to have a happy and healthy relationship.
2. Catch Your Unrealistic Expectations with Humor
After you get to know your expectations, try to catch them with curiosity and humor instead of beating yourself up over them. You could make a game out of it. For example, you could keep a list of every unrealistic expectation that you have this week. You could say things like, “That’s a funny one!” or “This one is so interesting!” and you won’t be so hard on yourself when you make a mistake.
3. Use the Double-Standard Technique
This technique involves imagining what you would say to a family member or to one of your closest friends who holds the same idea or belief. I’m sure you would say something more realistic and more reasonable and you would show more compassion toward yourself and your partner.
4. Reflect on the Effects of Your Expectations
Try to consider whether your expectations regarding your relationship are helpful. For example, does it help you or your partner in any way to be happier together? Does it help you reach your relationship goals? This way, you might even realize that unhealthy expectations don’t motivate you to strive; they often lead you to avoid participating in challenges at all.
5. Practice Compassion
Be gentler, more compassionate and more patient with yourself and with your partner. For example, if your partner hurts you, acknowledge the sadness or the disappointment you feel, communicate to your partner that your feelings were hurt but speak with compassion and understanding because people are more apt to hear you when you speak this way.
6. Be More Flexible
Being flexible actually means being sensitive to changing circumstances. Learn to communicate your needs in an assertive manner and be a good listener. Find different ways to solve the problems you encounter in your relationship and try to create new rules and beliefs that will inspire you and that will increase the intimacy in your relationship.
7. Try Not to Get Caught up in Other People’s Relationships on Social Media
People usually post things on social networking sites when they are really happy but that doesn’t mean that their relationships are perfect. You only see the date nights, the birthday parties, the engagements, the weddings or the honeymoon pictures, but you know nothing about all the fights and misunderstandings that happen in every relationship.
No relationship is perfect because we are all human and we all make mistakes sometimes. Learn to fight fair with your partner, accept the fact that sometimes they will annoy you and you will annoy them and focus on finding ways to strengthen that special bond that you two share. Do you know any other ways for couples to avoid unrealistic expectations? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!