The expectations you bring to your relationship have the potential to make it or break it. Or, at the very least, turn a perfectly good day upside down. When it comes to negative, limiting expectations, some are glaring and others are subtle and sneaky. All of them can feel justified in a way that blinds you to the sabotage inherent in them. Theislandnow is with all the important tips and suggestions that you need to look at as you get into a relationship with certain expectations.
Things like expecting him to always be your knight in shining armor, expecting her to always be receptive and available, expecting them to share the same opinions about your in-laws (their family) and child-rearing philosophies, or expecting them to hang the toilet paper the same way or roll the toothpaste the same way you do are negative limiting expectations that tend to get a lot of press. The subtle ones need more attention.
One such subtle expectation is thinking your love will remain constant. I’m talking about the love you share as a couple as well as the love you feel inside for your beloved. When I was a girl, my beloved BeBe gave me this advice, “Someday when you’re married, it will be just as important to like each other as love each other. Because then when you don’t like him, you’ll be able to get in touch with how you love him. And when you think you don’t love him, you’ll be able to get in touch with how much you like him.” BeBe was right and I add this: when it feels like the love isn’t there and the like is really hard to find; you can either turn to fear and assume the relationship has failed or you can use it as an opportunity to dive deeper into a love that is willing to ride the ups and downs of the relationship and the feelings. That kind of love takes you to a new level of intimacy you can’t get to any other way.
Another example is thinking you will be each other’s best confidant for life. It doesn’t take long for the deep-into-the-night conversations to disappear. Men simply cannot keep up with the extent to which women can talk and process. Women being able to talk and process a lot and men not desiring to or able to keep up with it is a yin-yang phenomenon that is hard-wired into our brains for survival dating back to when humans first showed up on the planet. A couple can have the rug pulled out from under them the day she finds her sharing with him making him angry – even livid with rage. Those arguments send the pair into opposing orbits where communication can completely break down. Balancing the desire to continue to share everything with realizing you still need your same-sex friends for bonding and sharing helps keep the energy and love healthy between you.
And if you think that in the early days of the relationship he kept up with everything you shared, it is likely he didn’t. But he was so enamored of you that when he couldn’t keep up he was willing to let you keep talking while he studied your face, your lips, your figure, your hair, and your scent while soaking up the personality coming through all those words….He was besotted, which is not the same as keeping up with all those words, ideas, and emotions shared.
Here’s a final example. You can turn around one day and realize that you’ve held the belief that you and your beloved wouldn’t age like everybody else. Testosterone falling and estrogen rising in an aging man with the reverse being true for an aging woman create personality and physical changes that directly affect the relationship. As some of the things you once found attractive in each other disappear and other qualities take their place, you either have a new mystery to explore in each other or disappointment to process.
These days, hormone replacement therapies are as widely advertised as the long list of pharmaceuticals that are geared for the middle-aged, young elderly, and elderly populations. Not everyone can afford the therapies or even desire them. And there is, nevertheless, a limit to how much vitality hormone replacement therapy can bring back.
Aging challenges one’s self-image as well as any ego-attachment one has to the relationship having a certain kind of look, feel, and oomph. “Oomph” would be that elusive chemical concoction that occurs when two people fall in love and pair up. As the chemistry in your bodies changes, the chemistry in the relationship can change too. Again, with this change comes a mystery to solve, which can be alluring and an opportunity for greater intimacy. Or it can be a time of disappointment, even despair.
I am convinced that disappointment and despair, can be turned around so that the opportunity for greater intimacy and deeper love is what you reach for and celebrate. In fact, having the expectation that you will continue to find mystery and surprises in each other, that you don’t have to have all the answers, expecting to age and grow in wisdom together, and having the expectation that you won’t take intimacy for granted can add a richness and juiciness to the relationship that you never knew to dream about before now.