Love is a difficult thing to navigate and if there’s anything I’ve learned about love in my relationship, it’s to drop the expectations. It can be something small like expecting your boyfriend to call every single night before bed or something big like expecting a proposal within the first two years of dating.
Whether your expectations are big or small, they are still dangerous for your love life. Let’s take the phone call, for example; if you’re expecting him to call, but he got off work late, got home and just passed out from exhaustion before getting the chance to call, you might end up with hurt feelings, or even take it to a whole new level and start believing that he’s avoiding you, he must be cheating on you, or he doesn’t love you the way that you love him.
If you’re the type to twist something as simple as a missed phone call into the end of the world, then listen up!
Quit expecting everything to happen the way that you picture it in your head or the way that you wish it would happen. If you don’t have these expectations, those nightly phone calls will just be pleasant experiences when they DO happen instead of misery when they don’t.
Now, please keep in mind that removing your expectations DOES NOT mean remove your standards. Expectations and standards are two very different things. A standard is not allowing yourself to be in a relationship with someone who disrespects you, for example, but an expectation is thinking that you and your partner will never, ever fight, raise your voices at each other, or dislike each other at any point. You are going to fight and argue; every couple does, but it should remain respectful on both ends. By having ridiculous expectations, you’re setting yourself up to be let down.
You should never, ever under any circumstances, lower your standards for anybody. Just because you’re not holding your partner to “Prince Charming” expectations, does not mean that that your partner has any right to cheat, lie, abuse, or mistreat you.
When I discussed this topic with my boyfriend, he made some excellent points. By having expectations, you’re expecting your partner to love you in a specific way. That is neither realistic, nor is it fair to your partner. Just because your boyfriend doesn’t send constant text messages and stay on the phone with you during every free moment, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love you, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t miss you, and it doesn’t mean that he never thinks of you when you’re away.
Just because he shows his love in ways that are different than the way you show your love to him does not mean he loves you less than you love him or that he doesn’t care. Something my boyfriend had to explain to me when I struggled with this issue is that we are two very different people. We have different view points, different dreams and desires, and different past experiences. We are truly two VERY different people, therefore, he will not always do what I want or how I want it done.
That is the reality of a relationship and it’s very important to realize early on. By having these expectations for your partner to always do or say the right thing that you were hoping for, you’re making them feel like their efforts that they do show aren’t good enough. By having these crazy expectations, you’re undervaluing their love for you. When I’ve been upset over choices my boyfriend has made that were different than my expectations, I’ve made him feel as if he isn’t good enough and can’t possibly give me all the things I desire.
Hearing that absolutely broke my heart, but it helped me get my ass into gear. I never want him to feel as if he can’t give me what I need. He gives me more love and takes care of me in ways that I never, ever thought I would experience and I am so blessed to have him. The trick is to remember all of this even when things don’t go the way I wish they would.
In order to do this, I had to step back, let go of the control, and just allow my relationship to happen on its own terms. I had to show my boyfriend that I trust him enough to hold up his own end of the relationship without me trying to control it. Releasing control (especially when you’re a total type-A control freak) is extremely difficult, but necessary for a healthy relationship.
Bottom line: let go of the control, trust your partner, and allow them to love you in their own way! NEVER undervalue your partner’s love for you simply because they show it differently than you.