There are many different parts that go into building a successful relationship. But perhaps one of the most important is having realistic expectations. Many couples go into relationships expecting perfection, with dreams about what the relationship and marriage is going to be, and how the person is going to act for them. But these expectations are often not fair to your partner.
Realistic Expectations Are Not “Settling”
Realistic expectations are important. But one of the walls standing in the way of these expectations is the belief that if you don’t get what you want, you’re “settling.” This could not be further from the truth.
The main problem with expecting perfection from your partner is not because “nobody is perfect.” It is because often “perfection” is what’s perfect for you, but not necessarily what is perfect for them as an individual. When you choose to bring someone into your life, you’re also recognizing that their role is not to be your idea of perfect – their role is be themselves, and provide you with the strengths that they bring into the relationship and made you attracted to them in the first place.
Over the course of your relationship, many couples find themselves expecting more and more from their partners. They start to expect their partner to meet their needs in more ways. But this is unfair to both the partner and yourself.
- It’s unfair to your partner, because you two chose each other because you thought they were great for you – not because you thought they would give you everything you wanted.
- It’s also unfair to you because it makes it harder to enjoy what the partner does bring, as you begin to “expect” their strengths and highlight their inability to fix their “weaknesses.”
Couples that have realistic expectations of their relationships and their partners are the ones that are going to find that they’re able to truly appreciate their partner, and frequently see why they decided to be with that person in the first place.
Evaluating Your Core Needs
None of this is to say that every relationship is fine as is. Everyone has their core needs that they do genuinely want from a partner, and these needs may need to be met if the relationship is to work. But it’s also important to know what is fair to expect from the partner, and what is unfair. Couples with realistic expectations are far more likely to have a successful relationship.