Demands and Expectations in a Relationship
When Ricky asks Susie-May to go steady, what does he mean? What does he expect? Are they suddenly handed two guides titled Relationship How To? This discussion goes beyond the topic of labels; it enters a world of demands and expectations we may not be prepared to handle. What are yours?
Let’s clarify something right off the bat: when I say duties I don’t mean the 50′s housewife’s duty to tend to the house as the man fullfils his duty to bring home the bacon.
If you believe a woman needs to have dinner ready and your laundry done before you come home, good luck finding yourself one that gets off on servitude. And ladies, you’re now expected to have jobs, be independent and thrive on chasing your dreams- deal with it.
What I mean is: Duties = Givens such as fidelity, trust, partnership and respect. That’s what most of us assume we’re diving into when agreeing to wear another’s pin, right?
Yet one can’t help but wonder, if such givens exist, why are we constantly asking ourselves whether trust is too much to demand? And why are we constantly dealing with issues relating to infidelity and disrespect? If they’re printed in bold before we sign on the dotted line, WHY ARE WE STILL DEALING WITH IT?
Not Ready: While often overlooked, this is one of the main reasons we encounter problems with what we assumed were reasonable expectations. In this case, stop bitching about your partners failure to adhere to your demands and embrace the reality slap: some people aren’t faithful because they aren’t READY to be. And some people don’t trust their partners because they’ve got issues from the past that HAVEN’T BEEN DEALT WITH. No saving this one: can’t threaten or guilt someone into something they’re not ready for.
Need to be Discussed: Can’t really complain about something not being done if you haven’t been vocal about it, can you? A lot of what YOU assume to be givens, may never even cross another person’s mind. The line I AM NOT A MINDREADER might ring a bell. Answer it.
If demands are made you can’t meet: Don’t feel like a failure. If you’ve tried your best and have asked for methods of compromise, you MAY just not be what the other person is looking for, period. You can change your ways as much as you’d like but one day you’ll wake up, miserable, hardly able to recognize yourself. You can beat yourself up but this isn’t a judgment call on you as an individual- you’re just not the right piece to his/her puzzle.
If demands are made your partner can’t meet: You have every right to walk away. This is, of course, assuming you’ve weighed the importance of each demand and have declared them all non-negotiable. Not every relationship has to end in infidelity or abuse; there will be times in your life you wake up and realize the person laying next to you is simply not the one.
EXPECTATIONS, EPIPHANIES AND THE GUILT FACTOR
Not every demand you make will be justified and reasonable. Let’s face it, we’re an irrational species as it is. It’s important to realize which demands are eligible for compromise and which are non-negotiable for YOU as an individual. Everyone has a right to their own demands. (If all unreasonable, you’ll simply end up the crazy cat lady down the street, that’s all-no biggie)
This is what dating is about; each relationship that doesn’t lead to marriage is a filter process to help you decode what you REALLY want in a partner. Your current relationship may be cotton candy and rainbows, but if you crave the occasional gloom, it’s just NOT for you.
Unfortunately, we tend to feel guilty for having certain expectations when our current partners happen to generally be pretty great to the naked eye. But you’re the one in the relationship, the one who has to deal with thunder when it’s not sunshine and tears of unfulfillment because you’re not with what YOU want to be with.
Realizing what you don’t want is as much cause for celebration as realizing what you DO want. Don’t feel guilty about it, you’re saving the both of you a shit ton of time. Otherwise, you’d be too busy trying to fix something not meant to work to notice the hottie next door with the crazy qualities you crave.
REMEMBER THAT MOST OF YOUR RELATIONSHIPS AREN’T MEANT TO WORK- IT’S OKAY TO WALK AWAY
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