How to manage your expectations in a relationship


We all enter into relationships with certain expectations. What is considered a healthy expectation?

We don’t intentionally mean to set expectations when we go into a relationship. Most of the time they are unconscious and we are unaware of them, which can lead to conflict down the line. Some of the healthy expectations we can portray in our relationship include having someone to share our life with, someone to do things with, like going to the gym or travelling together, being able to rely on and trust our partners, and having someone there to support us, care for us and love us.

What are harmful or unrealistic expectations people walk into relationships with, and when do they start being detrimental to the partnership? 

When we have expectations that we don’t communicate with our partners, we are setting them up for failure as they’ll never be able to live up to expectations they know nothing about. That’s unfair on them. Some of the unrealistic expectations we have is that we are going to live happily ever after and that things will always be rosy. A relationship is made up of two unique individuals who have had different upbringings, been exposed to different viewpoints and opinions, cultures and traditions and this is bound to cause some conflict.

We also think that our partners will never let us down or disappoint us and the reality is they will, unintentionally and sometimes intentionally. As much as we want to be number one in our partner’s life, there are going to be times when other things may be a priority but this doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t love us or want to be with us.

Are lowered expectations the key to a happy relationship?

You shouldn’t have to lower your standards or expectations but rather have realistic standards or expectations. If your standards or expectations are too high, no one is ever going to be able to live up to them and this will cause you insurmountable amounts of trouble and unhappiness. We are all human at the end of the day, we have flaws, we make mistakes and that’s okay. Despite all of our flaws, we can still be lovable, caring, nurturing and perfect for each other.



How can one manage expectations in a relationship?

You can’t expect your partner to fix all of your problems, you need to work on fixing them yourself. Your partner can be a great source of support while you work on yourself but they can’t do the work for you.

Cut each other some slack, there is no such thing as the perfect person or perfect relationship. It’s about how perfect you can be for each other because you value and respect each other and want to succeed as a couple.

Don’t panic when you hit a speed bump, all couples do but that doesn’t mean your relationship is over or you’re not compatible. It’s just feedback that something is not working and you have a choice to do something about it if you want to get back on track again – if you don’t, you risk heading down that rocky road to breakup/divorce. 
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24