Expectations: The Relationship Killer?
Lately, I’ve been listening to people talk about expectations they have for their friends or significant other. My social networking feeds are filled with hurt friends and scorned lovers. Most of the time the authors of the posts don’t even realize they had expectations that weren’t being met ultimately causing the demise of the relationship.
Let me be honest here. I am totally guilty of this. Why is that so difficult to admit? And where do these expectations come from?
Of course, we can blame it on growing up with Cinderella and Prince Charming or even the story of Shrek and Princess Fiona, who were able to change one another for the better, but take a look at everything we take in as we read books or watch on TV.
I’ll Be There for You
One of my very favorite shows to watch is Friends. I’m certain I’ve seen every episode numerous times. I cry every single time Ross is listening to the answering machine as it cuts off to Rachel confessing her love for him. He yells at the machine, “Did she get off the plane? Did she get off the plane?” Then we hear Rachel’s voice at the door that says, “She got off the plane.”
It just gives me that tingly feeling – warm fuzzies all over. I just love Ross and Rachel. They had an on again off again relationship, but we always knew they loved each other dearly and would do anything for the other no matter what. The timing was just always off, but in the end they were together and vowed to never let each other go.
Monica and Chandler began as friends and had a relationship full of other life bumps. They had jobs to get in the way and infertility that only brought them closer together and barely had a real disagreement. In the end they ended up with twins and a perfect little house in a perfect little neighborhood.
Together their friendships lasted through anything the writers threw at them. Never did one of them have an all-out fight terminating their friendship. They had quirks that frustrated them at one time or another, but never did an episode end where their friendship wasn’t fully intact.
Although I love this show, how realistic is it? Wouldn’t we love to have friendships where we never get angry at one another and never feel let down by the other person? Wouldn’t it be perfect if relationships continued with everyone laughing off the “mistakes” of the other? Why do we want relationships like that, but we’re not willing to laugh it off when expectations aren’t met? Why are we so quick to rant on Facebook about how the best friend, boyfriend, mom, sister, or daughter did something so wrong that it deserved the attention of everyone? Haven’t we messed up at one time or another, too? Do we want it blasted all over the country?
I digress . . .
Reality Just Isn’t Entertaining
Now that I think of it, are there any TV shows or movies that truly replicate life? I can’t say that I’ve seen anything, and it makes me question why that is. Why is it that we don’t want to watch reality (and reality TV does NOT count because there’s no such thing)?
We’ve taken from the things we’ve seen, and without even realizing it, we’ve made them our expectations for our own relationships. No one can live up to the expectations or actions of the characters created by a talented writer. Think about it. Can you live up to your own expectations?
Take time today to write down the expectations you have for your friends, family members, boyfriend or spouse. Now, ask yourself if you could live every day meeting those same expectations. Be honest with yourself. Think you don’t have any expectations? Look at the times you’ve argued with those people or friendships/relationships that have ended. Ask yourself what happened, and you’ll probably find expectations hiding in there somewhere.
Related link: Unrealistic Expectations in Relationships