expectations · uncertainty

Why Expectations KILL everything [good in a relationship]

expectations_5Expectations destroy relationships. You expect her to do this she expects you to do that and neither of you can agree. And this will be your life long cycle if you do not reach a compromise.

Expectations are like poison to relationships. When you expect someone to live the way you want them to you are essentially expecting them to become you. You expect them to share your values, share your previous life experiences, and share your dreams for the future. Of course we would all like to meet that perfect someone that does share so much of our lives. But I think we can all agree that a clone of ourselves would be rather boring.

See the problem is that we go into relationships expecting that we will both stay on the same page. When he says “I love you” he may mean just that: at this current time I love you and your company. However, you expect that he means I love you forever I want to marry you. But he may know in his heart he would never want to spend his life with you.

Similarly she may express attraction to you and say you’re an attractive guy. But that does not mean that she is in love with you and wants to date you.

He expects sex before marriage. She expects to save herself for one special person.

He expects that she will eventually want kids despite the fact that she doesn’t right now. She expects that he will understand why she doesn’t ever want kids and accept that.

He expect that his dreams of traveling will eventually be fulfilled and that she will love him so much she won’t mind. She expects a nice safe suburban lifestyle with a family and maybe occasional brief travel to the beach for vacation.

You see, expectations are so varied and so different that we have to essentially remove them to have a healthy relationship with someone. Unless you are already both on the same page before you start dating there is no guarantee that you will be after you start. People don’t like change.

This leads us to the premise behind why expectations are so bad: life is uncertain. We cannot know the outcome of our decisions, relationships, and circumstances.

Look for the final part in the series next week where I will discuss uncertainty in life in greater detail!!!



Author: Jesse Leake

Questions? Need advice or want to share your story? thelovemanifesto@gmail.com

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30 thoughts on “Why Expectations KILL everything [good in a relationship]

  1. Great post! I agree that expectations are what kill what is otherwise a great relationship. This is why communication is vital in any type of relationship. I especially liked the part when you mentioned that he may say he loves you but that doesn’t mean he wants to marry you. I think sometimes we hear what we want to hear no matter what the other person is actually saying. I look forward to reading more!

  2. I think it is okay to expect certain things BEFORE a committed relationship (marriage) but after, all expectations must cease for sure! The truth is that you get more when you expect less, however backward that may seem, but it is SO hard to stop expecting things!

  3. If me expectations are always to fail when it comes to relationships will that eventually cancel out the negative effects of expectations or only help to solidify my failure?

  4. Thank you, Jesse, this is something I have also been exploring recently. I have come to the conclusion it is best to have not a single expectation of any person, even YHHW (God), or we set ourselves up for disappointment when our expectations are not met. It can also lead to manipulation, control, hurt, anger, bitterness and a host of other negatives, many of which I have identified in myself lately.

  5. I don’t think that expectations are what kills a relationship. I think not communicating about them kills a relationship. Expectations are natural. That’s why it’s so great when someone meets your expectations. Disappointments are a part of life, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop knowing what you want and expecting the person you love to give them to you. Just recognize that when a person is unwilling to meet your expectations, the chances are they are just not that into you. If I love you, I will give you what you want. Bottom line. Because only you have the right to tell me what will make you feel my love.

    1. I see where you are coming from. Perhaps I need to do a series on communication. In fact, I likely will before the year is over. However, expectations seems to cause trouble even when they are communicated about. Its the little things. For example, the fact that a wife might expect her husband to think she is the most beautiful woman in the world when in reality from a purely objective standpoint that is not true at all. He may love her and want to be with her more than anyone else in the world and truly think she is beautiful. But no amount of communication can solve this issue. He must either lie to her to meet her expectations or he must tell her the truth and except the repercussions that will ensue since her expectations were not met. In this example the expectation is a false one created by Hollywood and under educated parents who have created the idea of a romantic marriage where two people live happily ever after in perfect bliss.

      1. I’m sorry. That’s a whole lot of crazy that no one is going to live with for the rest of their lives. I will agree that women tend to live in fantasy land. And are often hurt when we crash down to reality. That’s why we need men, we need someone that will force us to look at reality and not let us sulk or throw away a good thing because it’s not the fantasy they have built up in their heads. Think on this. Little girls are told bedtime stories about a chivalrous prince that is a paragon of manhood. What are little boys doing while girls are being spoon fed this stuff? They are outside rolling in the dirt conquering the great outdoors. Who is teaching little boys to be that ideal that parents want to give their little girls? It’s a problem that must be addressed in childhood.

  6. You’ve got it. And that is also part of why it takes a year to really get to know someone and you do better when you are just doing slow, organic, and almost a curious nature rather than one full of expectation.

  7. I love this entry and I get it – really I do. l am an educated 48 year old with tons of common sense but I was forced in to the single/dating/single-mom/live alone THING for the first time 3 years ago. At 48 I am having a hard time in my current “dating” relationship and one reason might just be exactly what you are talking about here. I have always been “with” someone either married, engaged, living together etc. I have only dated a few men my entire 48 years and I am saying like 5 maybe. Now, I am with a man, who I love, but who is scorned from his divorce and will probably NEVER do the marriage thing again. I don’t know WT* I want. I always thought I was the marrying type but now maybe not. I go in circles. Identity crisis? Unrealistic expectations? I love your blog and maybe you can offer some insight for me. Here are some of my stories.

    1. Want a hint from older/wiser/been there-done that? Stop thinking so hard about what you want out of “them” – think about what you want out of YOU! Sit down – note pad n pen if necessary – and think – REALLY THINK – about what makes you happiest. don’t say the rain or silly things – really think about it. I love to laugh – and make others laugh – and laugh at myself with them. Humor, to me, is a great “cure” for most anything. Does this other person make you laugh? can you do the same for them? The only way to get pass the past, is to get over it – let it go, and go on. Laughter can help. If either of you is still to stuck in the bitterness of “other partners” – you are not ready to move on. You have to be open and available when love shows up or you will miss it.

      1. More great feedback. Thank you. I think you are right. Lately I’ve been focusing on making myself the happiest and best person I can be and not worrying about the other person or hoping that someone will make me into what I alone have the power to Change into.

  8. expectations are not harmful for a relationship, as they are an inevitable part of it. One should not forget that if parents invest there time and money, tgeir love and care in their child then they certainly expect some kind of return also for them and also one cannot deny the fact that evn God expects his disciple to worship him. Infact what is dangerous is having no expectation and aspirations from the one you love! Expectations donot necessarily mean want fr materialistic things, even small emotional gestures and ways to make your partner feel special always add grace to love. After all, if one won’t expect smthing frm the most dear person of one’s life then what is left in a relationship? Obviously, both individuals expect certain things frm one another just to make love more beautiful. And so expectations donot harm becz for a simple matter of fact expectations are smthing which no living human cannot possess. It’s a natural urge that cmes frm within.

    1. What I believe the writer is suggesting is not that there should be a complete lack of expectations, but that once you begin setting expectations that push the other person to be someone that they are not- that is when there is a problem. Because if you choose to be with someone, you are choosing to be with THAT PERSON, and holding high expectations that they would be just like you in many ways is not respecting their individuality. Does that make sense?

  9. Thankyou for visiting my site and for the like on my oatmeal! 🙂 I have to disagree with you on expectations. I understand what you say about I love you n you’re attractive however, we all expect things. We expect things from people in general, not just people in intimate relationships. The thing that destroys relationships is the lack of communication within a relationship. One person not telling the other what our expectations are. This is how we come to know whether or not we are in the right relationship or not. Loving someone and being IN LOVE with someone are two entirely different matters. The way we communicate things often times leads to problems as well. For instance, if you are dating someone and say, ” I expect you to have sex with me but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna marry you.” I can guarantee you will be a very lonely man. Whereas if you discussed your sexual expectations and perhaps asked, ” how do you feel about sex? I personally feel we are ready to go to the next level but do not want you to think that this is a promise of marriage. I would like to be intimate with you. How do you feel about that? ” you will get two very different reactions. So it’s the way that expectations are expressed or the lack of discussing our expectations that results in the destruction of any relationship. Mother daughter, husband wife, boss employee….lack of communication about your expectations is destructive. 🙂 if there is no communication there is not a good relationship. Thus you can’t ruin every good thing in the relationship because communications what makes a relationship good.

  10. Expect nothing. Appreciate everything. Learn to hold on to the small moments you do have with a special someone. Then be grateful that in the fastness of time and space, with all that is happening and all that is around you – you had love and were allowed to give love in return. Simple words to share from an older, more experienced -ever hopeful – loving person.

  11. When the LORD God said, “I will make him a help meet for him”, HE was going to create out of the Adam, the Man, a companion and wife who would think like the Man. The Woman was made to follow the Man, her husband in thought and in deed. I do not see a clone of me degenerating into any boredom. Jesus says, “I and the Father are one”. The word ‘are’ is esmen in Greek speaking of Personages of eternal existence. ‘One’, in Greek is heis which means ‘substance’. Agreed the reason why THEY still live in perfect love is because of Their perfect Being(s); but is it impossible to emulate Them? A woman must look at him very closely before marrying him. “If a woman should marry a stupid man”, I’ve always warned, “she should be ready to be obedient to stupidity all her married life”. Thanks for liking my post. I appreciate that.

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