Toxic Expectations in Relationships

Image Source: The family Centre

Love is an amazing, amazing feeling. Being in love, and forming healthy relationships with the person you love can be an absolute, blissful experience; honestly, a very important part of life. There really is no guidebook to love and relationships.

     Couples weave their way through the difficulties and obstacles, making it both the hardest and yet, the softest experience of their lives. But what does come with relationships is ‘Expectations’, and, surely, a boat load of them. 

And with expectations, comes the fixed mindset. 

Hey, let’s get it clear, that ‘expectations’ are not a bad thing.

     Everyone enters a new relationship with prior experiences, established notions, and certain standards. It’s completely normal to expect certain things from your significant others, and equally important to try to hold on to your partner’s expectations. But where really lies the problem is to push the boundaries and stretch your wishes and mentality to your partner so much that it may be detrimental to the particular relationship. 

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Image source: Unsplash

Unrealistic expectations and pre-conceived, definitive rules for a particular relationship are extremely unhealthy and can lead to the regression of intimacy, trust, and thus loosening the bond over time. It is essential to differentiate between healthy and justifiable expectations from toxic ones.

     Expecting love, loyalty, and time from the person you love is healthy. Drawing up a list of pros and cons (no matter how consciously or unconsciously it is), controlling what your partner can or can’t do, expecting him or her to behave in a certain way, or having a rigid mindset about certain things are the ingredients to the recipe of a failed relationship.

Here’s a list of the toxic mindset and expectations that can damage relationships. 

Expectation #1: If they love me, they will understand. 

Well, that sounds romantic, doesn’t it? And while this notion is reinforced in every movie and daily soaps (read ‘memes’ about man’s eternal question about what a woman thinks),  this is a key factor in miscommunication in a relationship. Every individual is different, with their own complexities of emotions and knowledge; what one might get offended to can seem funny to the other one, but that doesn’t mean either of their feelings are invalid.

     Expecting your partner to know everything about you and not communicating with them about what’s bothering you can simply lead to misunderstandings and complications. Clear communication is the base of every healthy relationship. 

depositphotos 41066325 stock photo couple in love silhouette during
Image source: Depositphotos

That being said, it is also toxic to expect your partner to be okay with everything you say or do. It’s essential to remember that the other one is also a different individual with their own value and belief system, and having the mentality to have a partner who would ‘understand’ or ‘accept’ everything you do, otherwise he or she is not supportive,’ is toxic and honestly, borderline crazy. A healthy relationship means trust, but also individuality. 

Expectation #2: Lovers like ‘Lobsters’! 

Lovers forever! It simply isn’t love if you don’t stay with that person forever. 

These are all preconceived notions and standards that society has always taught us to uphold. While the said notion is absolutely true for some, it doesn’t happen to everyone, and that’s okay. Sometimes relationships don’t work out, even if the partners love each other. Of course, making an effort to work the relationship is significant, but it is also important to know that if holding on hurts too much, it is okay to let go of each other. 

     Divorces or breakups are still seen as taboo by a significant section of society. And the fear which is still so deeply ingrained, that one would probably stay in a failed relationship than get out of it.  Lobster love or failed love, either way, it’s your choice (and your feelings), make well use of it. Nobody can shame you for those.  

Expectation #3: All men/women are the same! 

One of the most common mindsets is stereotyping genders, which happens unconsciously most of the time. But it is the most detrimental to one’s bond with the significant other. It is prudent to understand the uniqueness of your partner and always try to bring out the best in each other. Labeling each other with the entire gender may bring out hurtful emotions and ultimately scrap the trust between the couple. 

All men are not the same. All women are not the same. There are good ones, there are bad ones, and there are the right ones. Your partner is one of a kind, all their flaws and qualities are theirs.

Expectation #4: Reaching out first will hurt my ego. 

Ego conflict is something that does irreparable damage to a relationship but at the same is the most common. And it varies from the smallest things to the biggest ones. One has to confront one’s feelings about others, and in doing so, has to understand that realizing these emotions will not hurt the ego. 

Image source: Oprah Daily

Apologizing first is okay. Reaching out first after a nasty fight is okay. Comforting the hurt partner is not hurting your ego. 

It is okay. 

Your partner is worth it. 

Expectation #5: ‘Break’ and ‘break-up’ are the same. 

Well, the first and foremost debate that comes to my mind is the legendary Ross/Rachel debate about their ‘break’ in F.R.I.E.N.D.S. but they do have a point, don’t they? 

And the answer is quite simple to that one. 

     One simply can’t assume taking a break is the same as ‘breaking up’ or ‘the death of a relationship. If necessary, breaks are often a way where the relationships become salvageable, giving the partners time to recuperate with themselves, think about their feelings, and help sort the problems out and solve them. Breaks are temporary boundaries that partners decide to take when the relationship seems to weigh heavy on them, and during the period they can reach out to each other and can stay in contact.

They are ‘still’ dating. It’s a pause. 

While break up is a period. One needs to differentiate the two depending on their needs and requirements, all the while making sure that whatever they are deciding is good for both the parties involved. 

Expectation #6: I am too busy. 

Oh boy, now that is an excuse. 

While the thought of ‘my partner giving only me the top priority is an extremely toxic trait, the mindset of abandoning your partner just because you are ‘too’ busy is also a complete deception. Even a phone call of a minute is sufficient to make time for your date. 

Expecting your partner to always understand that you prioritize work-time over personal time is simply not good. Never take your relationship for granted, and you will be fine. 

Expectation #7: Things will work themselves out 

Nuh-uh. Things don’t just work themselves out. Unlike the movies and every romantic novel, your relationship is not dependent on destiny. It requires effort (from both sides) and the will to work everything out. You can’t just sit and expect everything to be okay if you don’t actually work for it. That is sheer nonsense. 

Relationships are hard. Accept it. 

     Don’t be afraid to pursue one, though. Everything is complicated in this world, but ultimately it depends on you, and how you carry out your relationships. Don’t hang on to any unrealistic expectations and you will do just great little lovebirds! 

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