We all come to expect that our closest romantic partners will “be there” for us in times of need. But, like it or not, you also unconsciously measure whether your partner is good enough for you or vice versa. Research into relational entitlement is now putting under the microscope this set of attitudes and trying to determine whether and how it relates to a couple’s satisfaction with each other. So, are you guilty of expecting too much from your partner?
Allow these eight facts of an unfulfilled relationship to answer that question for you:
- You Think it Should be All About You
The psychotherapist Albert Ellis once said, “Where is it written that others must act the way we want them to—it may be preferable, but not necessary.” In other words, there’s no rule that people need to act the way we want them to, and it isn’t necessary for them to do so. George Valliant, the man who has studied human happiness for most of his life, says, “A cardinal rule for happiness is not to think less of ourselves, but to think of ourselves less.” Translation: It’s not all about you all of the time. You will find that you enjoy your partner most when you are not expecting too much from them. You’ll be satisfied by your connection if you are not seeking out specific moments of happiness. On the other hand, if you think your partner should always act the way you want them to, you expect too much from them.
- There’s No Commitment
People in committed relationships make serious compromises and sacrifices. If you and your partner aren’t committed to each other, you can’t expect them to make serious compromises and sacrifices for you. You can’t expect them to, and they shouldn’t! If you expect compromises and sacrifices from a partner you aren’t committed to, you expect too much.
- You Won’t Make Sacrifices for Them
You may expect your partner to give up certain things for you, but would you give up those same things for them? Of course, if you wouldn’t make the same sacrifices for your partner, you have no right to ask them to make sacrifices for you. But, if you do, you expect too much.
- You Rely on Them for Your Excitement and Romance
You can’t rely on your partner to bring all the excitement and romance to your relationship. You also need to bring excitement and romance to the relationship, which comes from your sense of wonder and desire for adventure. In multiple studies, it has been suggested that couples are more satisfied with each other when they are constantly engaged in interesting and novel tasks. So if you want more fire in your relationship, it is also up to you to provide the spark.
- You’ve Cheated (or Considered Cheating)
Cheaters claim they cheated because they were unhappy in their relationships and they were unhappy because their partners did not meet their expectations. Unfortunately, nearly 90% of people who believe in true love and soul mates also believe that there is one person who holds the key to satisfying most everything they need. That is a lot to ask of one person, and their soul mate will inevitably fail to meet their needs. So this failure makes cheating okay in the cheaters’ minds, and they look for side relationships. Don’t fall into this trap! If you expect your partner to hold to the key to satisfying all your needs, you expect too much.
- You Expect Sex to be Great, but Don’t Work to Make it So
Sex can become monotonous and boring in a long-term relationship, but only if you and your partner allow it to be. You expect too much if you rely on your partner to shake things up in the bedroom. Start a discussion about new toys and techniques if you’d like to try them. Your partner isn’t a mind reader. Communicate your reasonable needs and expectations.
- You Let Technology Get in the Way
Technology can create a lot of problems in relationships. Whether it’s a distracting annoyance or the platform for a heated argument between you and your partner, technology gets in the way of a happy relationship. According to a study in the “Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy,” couples who attempt to solve problems over text, email, or chat are less satisfied with their partners than those who solve their problems in person. It may take more time to do it the old-fashioned way—but it’s better.
- You Expect too Much Out of Life
We are expected to make the most of life—be as successful as we can be—and that doesn’t always make us happy. Often, we set expectations for ourselves that are too high, so it’s no wonder that we also set expectations for our partners that are too high. Research suggests that it’s better to lower your expectations (of yourself and others) so that when they are exceeded, you feel happy. When it comes to great relationships, the secret is to expect the basic necessities from your partner (affection, commitment, intimacy, etc.) and consider everything else the icing on your romantic cake.
The lesson is to approach a relationship as a partnership in which both people must be willing to give and take part in every aspect. We cannot expect our partner to do it all because it is impossible.