It’s February 14th and the woman has high unspoken hopes that her man will make this day very, very special. She anticipates either a romantic getaway or a fine dining experience or perhaps a long awaited engagement ring. But when he fails to meet her expectations, she becomes sorely disappointed and deeply hurt. She assumes he does not love or cherish her. She tries to persuade him that if he did what he was supposed to do, she wouldn’t be feeling this way. She finally lashes out at him in rage and anger because she feels unloved, unheard, misunderstood or all of the above. This special night soon turns into an ugly battle of accusations. Of course this is just a hypothetical scenario but I’m sure it happens to some couples every year. Unmet expectations.
How many times do we set ourselves up for misery and loneliness when we have unmet expectations? We want things to be a certain way or people to behave in a certain way and when they don’t live up to our expectations, we begin to blame, criticize, compare, make assumptions, hold grudges, or play the victim – driving the wedge deeper into our pain and in between the relationship. Expectations can be unrealistic because unconsciously we’re asking people to be perfect. And no one is. And it can also, be self-centered because it focus’ on our needs and wants. And if unmet, our reaction can be selfish and destructive because we’re more concerned about what we didn’t get, at the expense of harmony.
We cannot rely on others to fulfill our hopes and dreams, and deceive ourselves that they will make us happy. It’s a vicious trap that will only lead to strife and much pain for us and involuntary for the other person. Expectations may rise from a deeper issue: Do you love me? Do you respect me? Am I important to you? Am I priority in your thoughts and in your life? The next time you feel an expectation creeping up, step back and ask yourself these questions. If you start the conversation from there, it’ll save you a lot of pain and heartache. Love never demands but requests. But you’ll have to accept the fact that the answer may sometimes be a “No.”
Always remember whenever we set expectations, we set people up for failure and we set ourselves up for disappointment.
© 2012 Susie Lee