Expectations Kill Relationships

I love waking up before Jesus every morning to soak in the first couple of hours of peace and quiet before my hectic day with kids, mostly my own very, very loud child, begins. It can be draining taking care of everyone else’s needs all day long above my own and this simple morning ritual of mine somehow saves me from feeling like I’m drowning in everyone else’s shit.

Usually I love waking up and doing some asana then meditation and maybe some journaling. The latter I have done on and off since I was a teenager.

Well, I cracked open the journal and lo and behold, I haven’t written a goddamned thing since December 1st. Where the hell did this month go?

Lately, a lot of old wounds and shit has been coming to the surface for me. Over and over again I seem to allow myself to retell the same stupid story over and over again. This is how I have always worked, though the years of yoga practice and exercise and simple mindfulness has made the issue less and less.

Oh, and not fucking around with bullshit people, that helps, too.

Well who do you think all my old baggage I still carry the weight of gets taken out on? The person closest to me, my dear husband. Especially when I expect certain things from him.

expect my husband to not only always find me to the the sexiest most attractive woman in the world but to shower me with compliments about it daily, and how he would die without me, and how I’m the best and no one else has ever been as good to him as me (even when I’m a total bitch).

Damn that Venus in Taurus birth chart of mine. Gravel at my feet. I have forced all my lovers in my lifetime to do this. Go ahead, ask any of them. They can all vouch for how crazy I am (but I promise you, I am the one that got away with each and every one…HA HA HA). As ridiculous as I know this is, I can’t seem to stop.

I expect it.

I expect us, in order to really be in love, to always have that fire for each other, even when life is rough. Even when we have stressful jobs and expectations of ourselves that even we aren’t meeting. I expect us to always have an easy time communicating our needs, even though I know I sure as shit am not exemplar of direct communication. I expect our relationship to stay exactly as fresh as it was the first few months in, even though we have a baby, blended family and all of the issues that come with that.

Expectations can apply to any and all relationships. Perhaps a friend who expects you to be at every function they throw, completely disregarding any reasons why you can’t make them all (job, kids…job working with kids and need all the sleep you can get so as not to turn into a zombie). We can expect a certain reaction out of a family member or friend when we tell them something personal and not get that response. I expect my toddler to go to sleep at nap time right when I put her down and I expect my teenager to show me respect 100% of the time. 

All of these expectations whether placed on ourselves or others leave out an important factor: HUMANITY.

Fucking shit, we’re only human. Give yourself and your loved ones and even the assholes you can’t stand a break. Most people aren’t mind readers and most of our expectations arrive from assumptions we have about the other person or people and stories that we replay in our heads over and over again.

Placing expectations on people is sometimes necessary and this is where it gets sticky. I expect my husband to not cheat on me and lie to me because this is an agreement we had early on in our relationship. We discussed boundaries and that was definitely one of the first on our list. If this expectation isn’t met, I leave, simple as that. (After getting back at him, X10 of course.) We can expect people to not deliberately cause us harm and when they do we have every right to confront them and if they show no remorse or we don’t see eye to eye on the issue, we have every right to cut this person out of our lives as much as we can. The families I take care of on my job can and should expect that their children are always safe with me. No matter what I keep those kids safe and treat them with respect. These are all very reasonable expectations.

What is not reasonable is expectations based off assumptions and comparisons. This brews up a very toxic tea that can kill any happy relationship. It creates a “me me me” mentality where I am not getting my needs met by you and you need to be who I say you are. Does that sound fair? Does that give grace for the humanity of the other person? Or ourselves?

People are who they fucking are, yourself included, take it or leave it. The only person you can change is yourself. And please, by all means, changing and growing is crucial to life and sometimes in relationships we change and grow apart. That’s the flow of life. It happens. We can do that with respect to the other person as well.

So I evaluated my expectations today and looked at yesterday and how that colored my world. I had to ask myself, do I need to change my own expectations instead of expecting my partner to change who he is? I can kick and scream and threaten to leave him all day long over failed expectations but he and I both know I’m not going anywhere.

Why you ask? Two reasons: One, no one else like him will ever put up with my bullshit and two, the dating word today is pathetic, terrifying, and the pool of decent suitors seems to be getting shallower by the second…. I know I landed me a good one.

Expectations cause us to live in the Land of Shoulds. This is a scary place to be because it lets us run away with all of our assumptions and stories and expectations. It can make us narcissistic and self-absorbed and we can forget that other people have their own fucking baggage and bullshit. They won’t always respond to us in the way we want them to because their tool belt is a little short of a full set also. Yes, also, yours is too I hate to tell ya.

Look, if I tell you I need to be somewhere at a certain time and you’ve offered to give me a ride there because my car isn’t working, it’s reasonable for me to expect you to be on time. If you are my friend who is always late, I will expect you to be late and probably won’t bother to ask you but will ask the more punctual friend. If you are that punctual friend and you’re late, should I jump down your throat for being late? No. What if your car died, or you woke up late, or you stubbed your toe on the way out the door and had to stand there and cuss about it for ten minutes to make sure it wasn’t broken? Hell I don’t know but this is where grace comes in. Going with the flow of life. Saying, fuck it, I’ll be late. And having reasonable expectations of people if you’re going to have them at all.

Perhaps having expectations of others stems from our own failed expectations of ourselves. Maybe we aren’t meeting ourselves where we’re at. Sometimes I fail to meet my own expectations from assumptions of what I think my husband wants from me only to learn he wasn’t even thinking that way at all and was just acting distant because his job is stressing him out. That seed of wisdom was brought to you by communication, which seems to slowly be becoming a lost art.

Its scary to open yourself up to being vulnerable. To saying, “I think this is going on, I feel really insecure, and this is a need that I have that isn’t being met for me and what can we do about it?” It seems so simple but it’s not. It’s really hard and only through our relationships can we build this muscle and grow. Hopefully together but as things sometimes turn out, we communicate to each other until we realize we aren’t growing together. Sometimes we grow apart.

But for the times we grow together, remember, that expectations not communicated and dealt with can kill your perfectly good relationship. And if the relationship is meant to die after all, wouldn’t it be nice if it died peacefully instead of with resentments based off assumptions? Can’t we be friendly with our goodbyes? This doesn’t mean that I want to hang out with all of my exes or have lunch dates with people who have been assholes to me, but in my mind i can forgive and have clearness to move forward with my life.

For the relationships I care to keep and the people I love and want to keep around, it makes sense to keep trying. Nothing in life should ever be super simple. We seem to have this expectation that our perfect mate is perfect in every way and that the relationship itself should be easy. In some ways yes but in a lot of ways no. We grow. We change. I hope we do this for the better and that means that for the people close to us, if we want to grow and change with them, we do it with respect to who they are growing and changing into and hope they do the same for us. I don’t know, maybe this is called compassion? 

Just my thoughts, whatever they’re worth.

 

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