THESE EXPECTATIONS ARE POISONING YOUR RELATIONSHIP
The month of May marks another great milestone for my husband and I. During this time we decided to reflect on the questions that we discussed during premarital counseling to see if there was anything we could improve upon. I want to share these questions with you because they helped us to understand what may be, has been or will potentially be poison in our relationship. (1) What are your goals as a couple and as an individual? (2) What experiences have you carried into a new relationship or have prevented you from starting a new relationship and how can you overcome them? (3) When you realize these experiences are affecting your current relationship how will you handle it? (4) What activity, if any, will you reserve for “me” time (i.e. exercising)?
Many of us are reactive rather than proactive in our relationships because we haven’t figured out how to share our inner thoughts and deepest experiences with another person, but we expect them to know and understand the things that will trigger us. You can’t hold someone accountable for not knowing something you are keeping to yourself. In my opinion, the great relationships happen between people who are willing to self-reflect, share and understand each other.
Each relationship is unique and comes with a set of expectations whether we are conscious of those expectations or not. What we need today is to make ourselves aware of the things that are guiding our behavior when we date. If you continue reading, I hope you are willing to be honest, even if that means just with yourself (for now.)
Ask yourself are you looking for someone to fill a void? Someone to take care of you? Someone to match your drive? Someone your friends like? Or are you unsure about what you want? This is important to know. We have to be conscious of our expectations and then we have to share them with the right person.
Have you ever punished your new partner for your old partner’s mistakes? At the beginning of a relationship, new experiences are created with someone while at the same time previous experiences are guiding your actions. Love can be poisoned by the effects of our past, by the ones we fail to let go. A few people have wronged us and we punish the world for their mistakes. However, we have our own miscalculations when we don’t give the next person the opportunity to understand us, and therefore don’t speak up about our expectations of love and being in a relationship. There is something to be said about letting a relationship naturally unfold; a beauty about finding the missing puzzle piece, but how do you know if it fits when you can’t figure out which puzzle you are working to complete.
Don’t allow your relationship standards to only be set by #RelationshipGoals on social media. These are inspirational for your relationship, but can quickly become unattainable if you want that to be the only aspect. Love comes with the good and the bad. We should avoid this type of compromise by having real conversations about what we expect from each other, be honest, even if you aren’t sure what you want say that. Unfortunately, I have listened to a few people and realized that they are struggling at this point because they are looking for their life to be #RelationshipGoals images they see on social media with the always happy couples, caring for each other, buying gifts and going on dates.
This is life, not a fantasy. People control their narratives on social media…it’s an exaggerated perspective of their life and they don’t always show the struggles that happen in between those posts to social media. We have to stop trying to live up to other people’s social media narratives because they don’t exist as we see it. These perfect social media lives are poisoning our own because many of us suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) and keeping up with the Jones’. While focusing on who we want to be in our relationship or who we want to be like or better than, we often forget to have a conversation about our own expectations.
There are expectations that likely go unnoticed to you, but influence how you behave and how you feel or think when you’re in a relationship. Those unnoticed and unannounced expectations are the ones poisoning the true #RelationshipGoals we are working toward like financial stability, being comfortable to disagree and being able to prioritize spend time distraction free without the desire to document each moment for other people.
Another issue we have is compromising ourselves at the start of a relationship. We have to stop pretending to be someone else from the start or else we fan the flame of unrealistic fantasies. A relationship persona can only be maintained for so long before fading and being revealed for the true counterpart, but what happens when we are in a stage of life where we are trying to understand who we have become and the persona is all we have? It’s automatic to start off holding back and compromising. How many times have you found yourself upset because he/she did something, but when you stop to think back, you realize they were never told your preference. Don’t fall into the trap that can be disabled by simply communicating. Life is confusing enough when I am trying to understand myself, but now trying to understand if the self and the self in a relationship are the same is more complicated than I ever knew.