Managing Expectations in Relationships

Managing Expectations in Relationships

Couples Counseling Bethesda, MD

I don’t know how many of you have seen 500 Days of Summer, but the scene that juxtaposes expectation and reality is one that has always stood out to me. This three-minute scene perfectly captures the disappointment we often feel when our reality does not meet our expectations. Sometimes we set ourselves up with lofty expectations that would probably never truly happen, other times our idea of how something should be is so firmly entrenched, that there is little wiggle room for any departures from this picture.

We often go into relationships (and most situations) with a clear expectation of what things will be like or how things should go. The assumptions and expectations, however, are often what get us into trouble down the line. We typically don’t realize how ingrained our expectations are for marriage, parenting, or partnership until we are locked in a conflict with someone who sees things differently than we do.

Ever heard someone say but this is how we always do it? Maybe that’s what arguments in your house over holidays look like. Our implicit assumptions guide our viewpoints and actions and it’s often second nature to dig our heels in over these details.   It’s easy to overlook that our partners may have a different way of doing things. Because of this, it’s never a bad idea to communicate about your assumptions clearly and openly. How many kids do you want? What is the best way to resolve disagreements? What kind of vacations do you like to take?

We sometimes forget that our partners can’t read our minds, and that we are two different people. It’s easy to assume that you and your partner are always on the same page, but you’ll never know unless you open the lines of communication. You would be surprised how many arguments can be avoided by noticing your assumptions for what they are and talking through them!

Laura Golojuch provides couple, family, and individual therapy in our Bethesda, MD office. Contact her via email ([email protected]) or phone (240-752-7650, ext. 5) to set up an appointment or a complimentary telephone consultation!