How do I manage expectations related to relationships

Manage Your Marriage Expectations

According to psychologist Albert Ellis, we tend to live by our belief systems. These are the things that we believe to be true about the world, ourselves, relationships with other people, and so on. Belief systems are essentially a set of hard facts that we live by and how we act and think. In close relationships, they give us standards for how we treat our partner and how we expect to be treated by them. In fact, our belief systems are part of the mindset we bring into a relationship. Some of our beliefs are rational and others are irrational - those who fall into the latter group are actually baseless and contradict the actual behavior of the world and people. An irrational belief could be that each partner should always do what the other wants or want. Sex should always be fantastic.

Our beliefs are below our expectations, and our expectations determine how we think about our partner and our marriage, and can influence how we treat them. While they initially arise from our beliefs, expectations are also somewhat fluid. They can change based on what we learn about our partner as we get to know them better. We observe how they behave in different situations and from there we have an idea of ​​how they will behave in other situations. Dr. Ellis would argue that our beliefs about our relationship and our partner really do change - if we change what we believe, then we change what we expect. Most people learn early on that their partner doesn't always do what they want, and while sex may always be good, it may not always be fantastic.

Most couples marry with positive expectations about their partner and their future together. Positive expectations have important advantages. They allow us to think positively about our partner and that leads to better interactions and better feelings with one another.

However, positive expectations can be a problem if they're too positive. In our book, The Retirement Maze, we found that what people expect from retirement before they retire can affect how well they adapt after they actually leave the workforce. When their expectations are too positive, the reality of retirement often doesn't match. As a result, over-optimistic retirees are often not as happy with their jobs as they imagined, and those who do tend to be disappointed with their new lifestyles. Such disappointments can have harmful consequences. We are likely to experience a variety of negative emotions, including depression, and these emotions make it difficult for us to be motivated because we don't believe we can make our lives more fulfilling. Instead, we could try to get rid of our disappointment by getting out of the situation, e.g. B. go back to work.

The same goes for marriage. Excessively high expectations can be difficult to meet. If we don't adjust what we want our marriage to do to reflect reality, we run the risk of continually disappointing. Disappointment, in turn, can lead to demotivation about the further development of the relationship, but also to concerns about whether marrying this person was the right decision. We should also note that, like romantic love, overly positive expectations can be dazzling. Expecting the best, we may initially overlook our partner's shortcomings and later believe that he or she is not the person we thought we got married.

Expectations are also problematic when we use them as a measuring stick to guide our emotions. Here we are referring to wants and needs - you should do this and not that, you should earn more, wish you didn't say that, wish you were a better cook, etc. We could compare our partners' words and actions according to what we expect and then measure how we feel or treat them based on whether or not they measure up. But somewhere and somehow they will eventually fail the test. When that happens, the relationship is fine, if we are forgiving and then adjust our expectations so that they better match our partner's actual behavior. On the other hand, if our expectations are deeply ingrained and we struggle to adjust, we may be constantly dissatisfied and our partner will be constantly upset and angry. Such a negative attitude makes it easier for partners to get involved in arguments, and arguments can be difficult to resolve as it usually comes down to who the partners are as people rather than a specific and fixable problem.

Expectations depend on realism and flexibility. The fact that our expectations can change is important to the long-term success of a marriage. Maintain an optimistic outlook and positive outlook, but keep your eyes and mind open at the same time. If you expect your partner to go down a certain path or your relationship to follow a certain path and it doesn't, you may need to acknowledge that your expectations are unrealistic and that you need to make adjustments. Of course, some of our expectations are based on rational beliefs and it is realistic to believe that they should be met, such as being treated with respect. Those who come from irrational beliefs, on the other hand, those who cannot be satisfied by anyone (e.g. my partner should always treat me with affection) are the problem. If we uphold these expectations and use them to assess our partner, they will not be able to meet your standards, but neither will you.

Here is another point to keep in mind in order to meet our expectations. As we mentioned in our previous letter, marriages tend to develop into partnerships - partners are more likely to be companions than lovers. They define their relationship less in terms of romance and more in terms of comfort and safety. There is still love, but it's not the same as when they first met and were head over heels for each other. It is not necessarily the case that partners are bored, but love, like any stimulus, loses its power to dazzle over time, so that the thrill is not there in the first phases.

The truth is that researcher satisfaction has declined over the years. The most dramatic dropouts occur in the first few years or so, then again after 7-8 years, and then again when the first child starts school in the teen years. Of course, not all of them suffer from the same rates and depths of decline - some may settle on a plateau after a few years, others remain consistently happy - but what we have described often happens to many couples. Very few will ever peak again in their first few months.

On the positive side, however, older couples are comfortable and have made the right adjustments to be better prepared for the demands of marriage. As we age, we become less emotional in virtually all of our relationships. With less emotional volatility, our marriages become more stable. Long-term marriages may still have the same nuisance and irritation sources, but these partners are less affected, while the benefits of camaraderie and a shared history play a greater role.

Our point is that while loss of quality is normal, many older couples feel that marriages are worth keeping. Their relationship is certainly different from the early days; but still they find a level of happiness that is fulfilled. Some, especially those in the early stages of the marriage, may not have anticipated such a transformation and may misinterpret what the changes in their feelings mean. They may think their relationship has taken its course or they may think they married the wrong person and that moving on is the only option. However, the reality is that most long-term relationships go the same way. So jumping to another relationship in search of love will only get you back to where they are in their current marriage. When you acknowledge that breakup is likely and that all relationships are going the same path, there is a better chance that your expectations will be based on reality. When realistic, couples are less likely to experience disappointment and more likely to have a positive perspective about their partner and their marriage.

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