19 Ridiculous Expectations That Keep Your Relationship Unhealthy (And Damage Your Self-Esteem)

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expectations in a relationship
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Love, Self

Expectation without appreciation leads to frustration.

It seems like you had finally found “The One” only to have him walk away after a few lunches and dinners. You feel like this is déjà vu, and that you are on this perpetual merry-go-round, meeting the most amazing men only to lose them soon after because of your expectations in a relationship.

This can’t be happening! You are exhausted, low on self-esteem, and ready to give up because you feel perhaps something is wrong with you, and it is not in the stars to be in a happy relationship like so many of your friends and coworkers.

Many of you can relate to this scenario. When one is young and idealistic, one believes they will never meet anyone who is "perfect" for them.


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Perhaps you have been conditioned from childhood to believe that to have a partner who is strong and powerful, you must be submissive and more “feminine,” not so opinionated or strong or powerful. You must constantly listen and tell your man how interesting he is and do everything it takes to elevate his ego so he likes you.

So, you end up taking care of the other person and giving much more than you are receiving, only to learn in the end that he really does not appreciate you, nor does he respect you.

If you feel that you can never seem to hold on to a relationship despite all your best efforts, then it is time to look at some of the beliefs and high expectations you have of your partner. Misplaced expectations in a relationship can be subjective and biased and are merely opinions that do not match up to the other person’s thoughts and persona.

The biggest misconception we have is that our partner must reciprocate all our feelings and agree with our opinions all the time. It is important to accept the fact that men are wired differently from women and vice versa.

The way each of us approaches life situations and challenges is different, and to accept these differences and allow room for understanding the other is key to lasting happiness. Expectation without appreciation leads to frustration and ultimately conflict in relationships.

Some expectations that have no place in any happy and healthy relationship are the following:

1. You must be the center of his universe.

As much as one can wish that were the case, you must understand that each of you had a life, relationships, family, and jobs before merging together. Even though you are very important to each other, each of you still has room to nurture other aspects of your lives.

Having a partner who doesn’t cling to you, who encourages you to grow, and gives you the freedom to go out into the world knowing that you will come back to him because you love each other is what true love is. It is important that you afford him the same courtesy and understanding so that your love and friendship can grow.

2. You must agree with each other all the time.

To expect this means that you each must always live up to the expectations of the other. True success in a relationship is not about having to constantly seek approval and agreement for your own decisions in life but to dare to be yourself and follow your path.

Nor should you feel that your partner has to live up to your expectations. The more you approve of yourself, the less you need approval from others.

3. He must respect you as much as you respect him.

Love and respect yourself enough that you never have to beg your partner for attention and validation. Having faith and trusting who you are and taking care of yourself shows your partner that you deserve the same from him.

When you are happy, when you practice self-love and self- respect, you become a better friend, a better lover, and above all, a better you.

4. He needs you as much as you need him. 

Needing someone is like saying that you feel unwanted and unworthy. Value yourself enough that you will never “need” anyone.

Conforming to someone else’s opinion of how you should be and behave and allowing him to criticize you can destroy your self-worth. When you value yourself, the world values you. Be yourself.

5. Your relationship success depends on the quality of your sex life.

Placing overemphasis on the importance of sex above everything else in the relationship has become the main focus and the common belief of today’s generation of dating couples. Unfortunately, the physical act of sex alone does not a good relationship make. Granted, sex is important, but basing your relationship only on how good your sex life is will never get you to the blissful connection essential to a long-term, healthy relationship.

Willingness to go through the day-to-day process of getting to know yourself through the eyes of another, and growing together, is what true love is all about. Accessing and sharing love with your partner is love.

6. Your relationship should be easy.

In relationships, as in life, there are always ups and downs, good days and bad days. Good relationships require work, sacrifice, and compromise. How easy your relationship is will depend on how much effort you put into making it so.

Reactions to events can determine the outcome. It’s all about being there for each other, supporting each other through challenges, especially when it is not so convenient.

7. He should change for you.

You loved your partner just as he was when you were dating. Expecting someone to change to please you, to distort him to fit your own image, is practically impossible. The image of what you want him to be, and your perception of him, are against the reality of who he truly is.

Appreciate your partner just as he is. When you accept and don’t try to change people, when you support and allow them to be perfectly themselves, they gradually change right before your eyes. And you will suddenly realize that what has actually changed is the way you now see them.

8. He should know what you're thinking and feeling.

Your partner is not a psychic and may be clueless about what you are thinking at any given point in time. He could be preoccupied with his own thoughts and not realize that you need something.

Say what you need to say, share your thoughts, and let him know what you would like and what concerns you. Don’t be shy, awkward, or uncomfortable. Express your love. Share your life with him openly and honestly.

9. He should sacrifice his friends, time and family for you. 

Balance in a relationship is important. Just as you need some time away to be whole, he does so as well. Set aside certain days and times where you take a break to spend some time with your friends and family and when he gets to do the same.

If you neglect other relationships in your life, your relationships will end up neglecting you, too. Be there for others in your lives as well as for each other. Take time to care.


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10. He will always make you happy.

Happiness is our natural state of being, and yet in the natural world we live in, it can be a long way from our current reality. Many things can happen in your daily life to take away your peace of mind, such as problems at work, the weather and traffic, your nosey relatives, or the diving stock market, to name a few.

Just as your emotions go through a roller coaster, so can his. Recognizing this truth will help you bring your focus back to your love for each other. Coming from a place of love and understanding and empathy, instead of taking everything personally, will keep you happy.

11. He will take care of you financially.

Money is one of the most sensitive subjects in a relationship. Unless you have an understanding from the very beginning, this may be quite an unrealistic expectation.

Depending on who is earning more income in the household, and what agreement is in place, you should be prepared to share your responsibilities and contribute to the running of your household as well as other needs and wants.

12. Your love is all you need. 

The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the one with yourself. Don’t be in love with the mere idea of love, but really and truly love your partner.

Your love will go through several tests and challenges. If you can remember to come from a place of love, then and only then can this expectation be fulfilled. Learn to love yourself first rather than looking to your partner to love and validate you.

13. Your relationship will solve all your problems. 

This is the wrong reason to marry anyone. If you feel you have problems, and you’re not comfortable enough with your life situation and not “in your own truth” just yet, then you are not ready to be in a relationship. Expecting another to solve all your problems, existing or otherwise, is the direct route to disaster.

14. You must be meek, docile, and constantly giving to receive his love.

That men are not attracted to powerful, strong, conscious women who value themselves for their accomplishments and what they do is merely a myth. Men are attracted to women who celebrate their power without having to “play small,” those who value themselves for who they are, not what they accomplish.

You are extremely attractive when you celebrate the relationship and love in your life over your achievement and success. When you can be authentically vulnerable by sharing your successes and your struggles with your partner, including him in your wins and your losses, you show him how much you value
him in your life.

15. You must change your body image to be loved.

We measure ourselves and our self-worth by society’s standards, which are neither true nor realistic. Most women tend to judge their bodies and think they are not good enough to be loved. We have issues like, “If only I could lose twenty, thirty, or forty pounds, he would love me more," “If only I could fix this, I could have the perfect man,” and on and on.

Our self-esteem takes a nasty dive as we battle our inner critic. The reality is that there is someone out there looking for you in the exact package you’re in now. And if you have to change for someone to feel accepted, then he is not the one for you.

16. If you love each other, you should never have to say sorry.

All relationships require constant forgiveness. There will be mistakes and failures, and you will often stumble on your way to learning about each other and sharing your lives.

Articulating lovingly, accepting your mistakes, and then apologizing for them means that you are intentional about working on building a strong relationship with your partner. You must also learn to forgive often and quickly, to let it go, and let bygones be bygones.

17. You will never be lonely because you have him in your life. 

Not true. As women, there are times when we feel sad and lonely for no reason. Blame it on hormones! There will be times when you have to be away from each other for travel or other reasons; sometimes, even when you are together and among relatives and friends, you might feel disconnected and alone.

It is at such times when you must learn to be comfortable with your own company. Occupy yourself with good books, music, friends, love, and laughter so that you are perfectly fine with being alone and not feeling lonely.

18. He will love your family and friends, all because he loves you.

We live in a society where many of us belong to dysfunctional families. Just because he married you does not mean that he has to like your family. Courtesy and politeness will go a long way, but do not expect him to feel the same way about your family that you do.

19. He will share equal responsibility and time in raising your children and maintaining the household.

All things are not created equal. Your job (or his) may require that one of you spend more time raising your children and overlooking and handling your household chores and responsibilities. The subject of who will be responsible for what should be discussed at the onset of your marriage and mutually agreed upon to avoid conflicts and discontentment later on.

Going into your relationship with eyes wide open and a willingness to do whatever it takes to nurture it will multiply your happiness and ensure its success. Above all, hope for the best, expect more from yourself instead of your partner and you will never be disappointed. 


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This is an excerpt from "The Soulmate Checklist: Keys to Finding Your Perfect Partner." Click here to order and check out the book trailer.

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