There are certain things we all expect out of relationships, such as someone to have fun with or listen to our problems. But when you start putting too much pressure on a person, it might wear on their self-esteem and send them elsewhere. There are a number of
unrealistic relationship expectations you should be mindful of if you want your partner to feel valued in your relationship, as subtly undermining them can make them feel like they need to seek validation elsewhere. Of course, it's never your fault if someone decides to cheat, but you'll want to cultivate a healthy and realistic relationship to make it less likely that your partner will stray.
"A healthy relationship cannot thrive if one or both partners have
unrealistic relationship expectations," therapist and relationship expert Sarah E. Clark, LMFT, LMHC, CVRT tells Bustle. "It strains the relationship because your partner and the partnership are never quite good enough to meet those expectations. Both partners [might] end up frustrated, disappointed, insecure, and resentful. Those emotions are too painful to endure long-term, so this can lead to people looking outside the relationship to find what they're not getting."
At the end of the day, you can't control if your partner cheats, but you definitely want to do your part to prevent them from feeling inadequate or not cared for. Here are 11 unrealistic relationship expectations to avoid if you want your partner to be happy in your relationship, according to experts.
Having Great Sex, Always
Ditch the idea that your sex life will always be great, no matter what. "People and relationships grow, evolve, and change, and sex is one aspect of this,"
therapist Dana Koonce, MA, LMFT tells Bustle. "Expecting the initial 'honeymoon period' chemistry to carry you through is a recipe for failure. Sex, like any other part of a relationship, takes work. Not understanding your partner's wants and needs in the bedroom can also grow and evolve will cause anger, resentment, and possibly looking outside the relationship for 'easier' sexual experiences and validation." The best way to prevent this is to be open with each other, communicate what your needs may be, and accept the changes that come with a long-term relationship.
The Relationship Will Always Be The Same
It's unrealistic to believe that you and your partner will always be perfect together, and that will never change. "As time goes on, humans naturally grow, develop, and evolve," says Koonce. "This means that the relationship will need to evolve along with it. Having the expectation that the person you are with is going to be the same for the rest of their life, and that your relationship will feel the same over time is unrealistic. Not being open to change can lead to anger, frustration, and possible straying."
Your Partner Will Meet All Your Needs
It's unrealistic to expect that your partner will always know what you want and always be able to meet all of your needs. "Expecting a partner to 'mind read' and know what you need at all times is an unreasonable request of them, and one that will rarely, if ever, actually occur," Koonce says. "Open communication is the foundation of any successful relationship." So talk with your partner if you feel
your needs aren't being met, but remember that your happiness isn't solely your partner's responsibility.
Fights Mean The Relationship Is Over
It's important to remember that fights will happen, and
as long as they are productive, they're nothing to worry about. "No relationship is perfect," says Koonce. "Fights happen and are an excellent opportunity for growth. Thinking about fights as a 'black and white,' all or nothing, if we fight that means it is the end, issue just causes more frustration, anger, and feelings of inadequacy when the inevitable arguments do arise."
Neither Of You Will Ever Be Attracted To Anyone Else
Attractions to other people will happen, and expecting otherwise can be destructive. "We naturally look at attractive things, whether it be a pretty sunset, a beautiful landscape, or an attractive person," says Koonce. "Expecting your partner to never admire someone else's beauty is entirely unrealistic." Of course, if your partner chooses to act on that attraction, that is a different problem entirely. But to assume that neither of you will never look at a stranger isn't the most realistic expectation to have.
Your Relationship Will Be As "Perfect" As Those On Social Media
"Ditch social media as a measure of what a successful relationship should look like,"
psychotherapist and relationship expert Kelly Bos tells Bustle. "Remember, people's posts are generally just a highlight reel and often airbrushed. Real relationships have ups and downs and putting pressure on a relationship to be perfect might cause someone to look for something with less pressure and more acceptance."
Problems Will Resolve On Their Own
It's time to let go of the idea that problems will eventually resolve on their own. "The couple that never argues or fights might be the same couple that is avoiding issues in the relationship," says Bos. "Make sure you are communicating and don't let things build up. I have advised couples to introduce times to bring up issues constructively at a set time in their week if they don't find they naturally address them day to day."
Your Partner Doesn't Need Time Alone With Friends
Your partner shouldn't have to give up time with their friends just because you are together. "Friends fulfill different needs, and relationships are healthier when they aren’t expected to meet all of a person’s needs,"
couples therapist and relationship expert Tracy K. Ross, LCSW tells Bustle. "Not having friendships that are meaningful and strong puts more demands on a relationship, and it starts to feel suffocating – this may cause your partner to start lying to avoid conflict or just start choosing to see their friends [instead of hanging out with you]."
Your Partner Will Always Understand Your Intentions
It's unrealistic to expect your partner to understand your good motivations and intentions, even if it doesn’t come across that way. "Everyone likes praise, affirmation, appreciation, and to feel seen and noticed," says Ross. "If you aren’t getting it from your relationship, you [might] seek it elsewhere." If you feel like there is a disconnect, or
your love languages simply may not be matching up, talk with your partner about what makes them feel cared for and most valued.
You Can Say Things You Don't Mean When You're Upset
You can't assume that your partner should understand you don't mean the things you say out of anger and that they should just forgive you and move on. "This will lead to seeking situations that don’t involve being the recipient of anger and criticism," says Ross. "Don’t give yourself permission to be unkind and lash out." And if things were said in the heat of the moment, apologize sincerely.
Your Partner Will Change For You
"Being in a relationship means that you need to choose to accept your partner for their flaws and weaknesses as well as their strengths," says Clark. "If you go into a relationship hoping that someone will change, grow out of something, or live up to the potential you see in them, you are setting yourself up for heartache. You will become frustrated and disappointed in them for being who they are, and unconsciously send messages to them that they aren’t good enough or living up to the expectations that you have of them."
Although it is important that each partner feels their needs are being met, having too high of expectations for each other can lead to feeling not valued. Instead of making assumptions, openly communicating with your partner to work past any barriers you may encounter will bring you closer together, instead of pushing you apart.