Have you been single for a while because it seems almost impossible to find the one? Or perhaps you have a long history of short-term relationships, most of which ended because you two just weren’t a match made in heaven? If so, then here’s some good news for you, as there’s one highly effective way to get rid of “bad luck” in your love relationships. That is, your happiness in relationships can greatly increase if you simply lower your expectations.
And these aren’t empty words, they’ve been backed up by several research studies. It’s been proven that expecting a lot can make a relationship more satisfying, but only if both partners are able to meet those expectations. Otherwise, the relationship will crumble.
Dr. James McNulty, a social psychologist at Florida State University, advises couples to identify their own strengths and weaknesses and calibrate their expectations accordingly. It’s fair enough to say that we ourselves are mercilessly judged by our prospective matches, too. No one is really spared from it in the dating game. Acknowledging this fact could help couples make their relationships much more sustainable.
Read on to find out exactly why relinquishing expectations can have a truly liberating effect on your love life and set you up for lasting and fulfilling relationships.
15 Like It Or Not, Nobody's Perfect
Every woman out there has her own dreamed up version of a knight in shining armor. Sometimes, she doesn’t even have to admit it to herself that she has it, in some cases, it can remain hidden in the subconscious realm. Somewhere deep down in the corner of her heart she believes that one day, inevitably, she’s going to meet him.
Now, the problem is that this is most likely not going to happen because, statistically speaking, perfect or nearly perfect knights in shining armor simply don’t exist.
Even if they do exist, the chances of crossing paths with them in one’s lifetime are extremely slim. And a few months into dating them you’d find that also these seemingly perfect individuals have their annoying habits and weird idiosyncrasies. Because, let’s be honest, nobody’s perfect.
14 No One Is Born Into This World To Live Up To Your Expectations And Neither Are You
The same as our potential matches, we also become the target of unscrupulous criticism, unfair judging and subsequently fail to meet someone else’s lofty expectations. Maybe they wish you had a different hair color or a slightly different job… But wait, who has the right to judge you? No one, because they don’t know what you’ve been through, what challenges you had to overcome and that it wasn’t always easy. And, most importantly, they should know that you’re doing your best.
On a similar note, try to look at people through a different lens the next time you go on your first date. Let go of any expectations, keep an open mind, and don’t jump to conclusions too quickly. After all, your potential mates also strive to be seen in the best light possible.
13 If You Don’t Expect Anything From Anyone You'll Be Less Prone To Heartbreaks
One of the great perks of not expecting anything from anyone is that you can say bye-bye to the absolute worst feeling ever – heartbreak. Every additional expectation only increases the probability of your partner failing to live up to your high standards and, therefore, fewer expectations equals less disappointment. And quite frankly, who wouldn’t want that?
If you think about it, cherishing expectations is martyrdom of a sort; by gradually increasing expectations you’re just voluntarily setting yourself up for grand disillusionment.
Neediness, dependencies and a sense of entitlement that your partner owes you something are usually at the root of the problem.
Just imagine how sweet life would be if you didn’t have to experience that painful, gut-wrenching, heart-in-a-blender feeling again. Life would be a walk in the park, indeed.
12 Freed From The Burden Of Expectations, You Can Achieve A Heavenly Peace Of Mind
Again, numerous studies have proven that people freed from the burden of expectations live happier and more satisfying lives.
As Oprah Winfrey once said in her talk show, “If you look at what you have in life, you'll always have more. If you look at what you don't have in life, you'll never have enough.”
And she was quite right. It’s precisely that feeling of gratitude for what you already have that is a rock solid foundation for a happy and peaceful life. Not the perfect knight in shining armor who shows up once every billion years. If he ever shows up.
As strange as it sounds, people with zero expectations are truly the happiest folks out there. Their gratitude influences every aspect of their lives and they’re usually the most loving and appreciative partners.
11 The Less Picky You Are, The Higher The Likelihood You Won't Be Single
Another amazing perk of lowering your expectations is that it dramatically boosts your chances of not spending your next Valentine’s Day alone. In other words, if you’ve been single for ages due to being a super selective lady, be sure to shake off those expectations! Yes, the right partner for you should be this, that and the other, but should he be ALL of it?
The harsh reality of life you need to accept right away is that less picky people fare better in the dating sphere.
They’re much more proactive, accepting, open-minded and, most importantly, more flexible.
They’re not waiting around for the perfect love story to just happen. Instead, they make it happen by keeping an open mind and a compassionate heart. Their attitude is rewarded with a successful long-term relationship.
10 You’ll See Every Human Being As A Unique Individual Worthy Of Love
Some people are very good-looking, some are good with money, and some are exceptionally good cooks. What unites them, though, is that they’re all deserving of love. All of them are “enough”, regardless of their specific skills, traits, and characteristics.
This realization is very helpful in developing and maintaining a successful relationship. Your current partner might not fit the mold of the person you used to visualize so vividly as a little girl or young teen, but is this a valid enough reason to let go of your partner? Wouldn’t it be wiser to let go of all your built-up expectations? Once you let go of them, you’ll start seeing others in a different light – the right one – as 100 percent unique individuals worthy of love and respect.
9 People Who Are Tolerant Of Others’ Foibles Are Healthier, Too
Naturally, not fretting over other peoples’ imperfections and shortcomings and accepting them for who they mean less stress, healthy blood pressure, reduced risk of developing a chronic disease, etc. Yes, expecting nothing from your partner is good not only for the future of your relationship but also for your overall well-being.
The culprit here is stress.
Unmet expectations lead to unnecessary stress which leads to health issues, more accumulated stress and being even more intolerant of small imperfections in others.
It’s a vicious circle. The one and only way to break out of it is by ditching the pesky expectations. And much to your surprise, you’ll find that ditching them can be incredibly liberating and de-stressing. Indeed, it’s a relieving feeling to know that you don’t have to expect your partner to change for you or that they are going to pop the question anytime soon...
8 They Know They Should Be Happy With Themselves First
The tried and tested recipe for a happy and successful relationship? Be happy with yourself first. When it comes to being a good girlfriend or spouse, the better you are yourself, the better you are going to be in those other areas as well. Expecting more from yourself naturally makes you expect less from others because you’re becoming a strong entity, not dependent on anyone.
Unsurprisingly, it’s usually the neediest people who have the longest list of expectations. They’re in a relationship in the hope that their partner will somehow, magically, fill the void in their life. Hence the number of expectations they impose on their loved ones. And sadly, these people often don’t see their expectations as expectations, but rather as rights - as if their partner owes them something.
7 They Don’t See Other People As Extensions Of Themselves
That’s right, you should stop looking for your other half because, believe it or not, you’re already whole. Your significant other should only compliment you, not complete you.
This is one of the main reasons why such a large percentage of relationships fail – people are looking for happiness in the wrong places, that is, in other people.
There’s one very handy formula to remember when looking for a mate: Satisfaction with oneself equates to expecting less or nothing from others and thus more successful and fulfilling relationships. Each of us has come into this world to enjoy and appreciate others’ company and love each other. No more and no less. As soon as you start viewing your partner as an extension of yourself, you’re on the fast track to relationship collapse.
6 The Key Is To Have Reasonable Expectations — Not Too High, But Also Not Too Low
Sure, you shouldn’t be too demanding of your partner but also you shouldn’t accept substandard behavior. For instance, it’s one thing to indulge in immature jealousy tantrums, it's another thing to let your partner cheat on you. Therefore, when it comes to evaluating your relationship expectations, the golden middle way is the best approach to adopt.
Need some hints on what is reasonable to expect? Things like honesty, mutual trust, equality, emotional and mental support, respect, understanding, alone time together and good communication should be a matter of course. You definitely shouldn’t feel bad for demanding these from the person you’re dating. A boyfriend looking like Ryan Gosling could be a nice perk but think twice before putting it on your priority list. After all, even Ryan Gosling has his little foibles.
5 For Example, People In Successful Relationships Don't Have An Infinitely Long Laundry List Of Deal-Breakers
You must have a friend or two who always seem to be single. Now, have you ever asked them to disclose their laundry list of deal-breakers? The chances are pretty high that the list is infinitely long and, what’s more, it seems to never end! Sometimes it feels like as if they’ve never been in love as if their love wasn’t strong enough to overcome common relationship obstacles…
Here again, on the one hand, there are serious relationship deal-breakers that no one should take lightly, and on the other hand, there are those that require just a little bit more effort from either of the partners.
Yes, successful relationships do require a lot of hard work and dedication.
What about your deal-breakers? Would challenges like long-distance and different life-styles break or make your relationship?
4 They Don’t Suffer From Abandonment Issues
You may be digging a grave for your relationship in various ways. Some people, for example, have a tendency to expect, albeit unconsciously, that their loved one might leave them any given day. For whatever reason, they’re filled with this irrational fear of abandonment. Most likely stemming from feelings of inadequacy or not being “good enough”, abandonment issues are very often the underlying cause of people imposing unrealistic expectations on their partner and subsequently sabotaging their relationship.
Insecurity and abandonment issues lead to neediness which is exactly what pushes your partner away. Yes, as paradoxically as it sounds, needy and clingy behavior pushes people away, while trust and self-assurance bring people together. Grappling with these negative but yet so human feelings is a true skill not everyone can master and is at the core of any successful relationship.
3 And They Don’t Rush Moving In Together
A sure-fire way of finding out whether you or your significant other’s expectations are too high is by sharing a household way too early into the relationship. Not only is moving in together itself an immense expectation, many peoples’ expectations tend to escalate into the stratosphere shortly after moving in with their partner.
Suddenly two soulmates start taking each other for granted.
On the other side of the spectrum, people who enjoy stable and long-term relationships usually take the time to figure out what really makes their partner tick, before jumping into such serious commitments. Indeed, moving in together is a big deal and can greatly affect your relationship’s longevity. Science confirms this as well; studies have proven that moving in together too early ends up in high breakup/divorce rates.
2 Comparing Their Relationship To Others’ On Social Media Is A Huge No-no
Really, one of the worst possible things one can do for their relationship is to follow others’ seemingly flawless relationships on Facebook and other social mediums. That’s literally like playing the devil with your romance. Don’t do this, if you can resist the urge to scroll down the feed at all. Comparing your relationship to others’ on social media plants the seed of the myriad expectations one can impose upon the shoulders of their loved one. Thoughts like “why is everyone getting engaged but me?” or “why is everyone posting cute couple profile pictures but us?” can have a seriously destructive on your relationship satisfaction.
Needless to say, all those amazing updates you see when you scroll down the feed are just carefully picked and meticulously curated highlights of someone’s love life. You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.
1 They Understand That True Love Is Unconditional
Just like maternal love, true love between partners is unconditional. As soon as your love is conditional, you know that expectations are interfering with the smooth flow of your relationship.
A large number of relationships end because you simply do not accept the other person for who they are.
Your dissatisfaction makes you view your partner’s foibles through a magnifying glass and everything they do is just not good enough. Or even worse, you tend to think that regardless of how supportive and loving your partner is, the grass is always greener on the other side. For example, there might be this cute, tall co-worker who seems to be traveling all the time… Immediately your mind is flooded with million reasons why this new guy would be a better fit for you.
Perhaps the best thing to do is to never make any brash decisions when it comes to our relationships. Take the time you need to reflect, meditate, and weigh your partner (and yourself) in a fair light.
References: Psychologytoday.com, Gentwenty.com, Thoughtcatalog.com, Theguardian.com