Expectations in a Relationship: Desire VS Expectation
I recently read an article titled ‘Valentine’s and Unmet Expectations’. In a nutshell it was their 1st Valentines’ Day as a married couple. Knowing that her husband was really busy at work she sent him a text stating ‘You don’t have to plan anything for Valentine’s Day—I’ll handle everything. Don’t worry about a thing’.
When the day arrived she made the most awesome dinner for the 2 of them. She even bought him gifts. As the night went on he gave her…..nothing. No candy. No flowers. Nothing. They ended up going to bed not speaking….because she was so upset and disappointed. He was just confused.
After a night of the silent treatment, he showed her the text that she had sent. She then realized what had happened and felt terrible (the article is really good and worth reading) because she did not realize that even tho she said ‘don't worry about a thing'…her mind thought something totally different. She really did have a desire and that desire was sitting in her invisible expectation box.
So, I have been thinking….
What happens when you put your ‘desires into the expectation box?'
What happens when desires…that are never communicated, are not met? Are you frustrated? Angry? Confused?
What happens when you communicate one thing and expect another? Are you frustrated, angry, or confused?
And, why is it that we don’t even communicate our desires? Why do we sometimes feel uncomfortable dreaming? Are we afraid that those dreams might become expectations?
And then there is… ‘Why do our desires become expectations?’
How do we communicate our desires and not turn them into expectations in a relationship?
My youngest daughter flat out told her boyfriend (now husband) when they were dating that birthdays are a big deal to her. Birthday’s mean favorite dinners, loud birthday song singing, pampering and a gift (the gift does not need to be expensive). She wanted him to understand it ahead of time. She communicated her expectations because she did not want to be disappointed.
Now, sometimes we communicate our expectations and they can’t be met. Maybe there is no time, lack of funds, or even desire on the other person's part to fulfill it. What happens then? In the case of my daughter, they may have not gotten married – that desire was a big deal to her and her man needed to know. But, because he really liked her, and it was an easy thing to fulfill, he gladly celebrates those birthdays!
Sometimes I think our desires become expectations and we don’t even know it is happening.
Maybe this sounds familiar to you… (husband and wife having a conversation).
W: I would love to own a house someday rather than rent. Wouldn’t you? Renting is such a waste of money. H: Yes, that would be great, but we need to save some more money 1st for our emergency fund and our down payment. W: Ok, how much more money? H: (answers with a $ amount) W: Starts going to open houses ‘just to see what is out there.' Checks out Zillow for comparisons. Falls in love with a house. Begins to dislike her apartment and complains about it a lot. And wonders why her husband says they need to save more money….they have enough now to buy it, don’t they…..and then BAM – those desires are now in the expectation box. Crazy huh? How did that even happen?
Or…how about this scenario #2:
H: If all goes well at work we might get a bonus this year. W: Oh my gosh… can we dream for a minute here…what would you like to do with that bonus money? H: I don’t want to spend any of it – I want to invest it all. W: Well, what if we went on a really nice vacation. H: I don’t want to talk about it anymore…the bonus is a long shot and we might not even get it. PLUS – I don't want to go on a vacation.
What happened in scenario #2? The husband did not want to talk about it anymore because he was afraid that if he did dream, and it did not happen, he would disappoint his wife. And he was afraid that if the bonus did not come through she would be upset…and he would feel responsible. PLUS, he had a different thought process than his wife (being a guy and all).
Crazy stuff huh? Crazy how our minds work isn’t it?
So what do you do with those different thought processes? Those desires vs expectations?
Those desires in a relationship.
In my humble opinion, it is totally ok to sit around and have discussions about future hopes and dreams. The hard part is keeping them in the ‘hope and dream’ category. And not moving them to the ‘I don’t want to disappoint’ category. Or the ‘expectation’ category.
When it pertains to money, everyone needs to be on the same page and have the same goals. Is a vacation a bad idea? Nope. Is a vacation a bad idea when there is no savings or retirement is in the future and the cash is short. Yup.
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INCLUDED - My Party Planner! Put your party hat on and plan with confidence! Grab yours before they are gone!
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