Think about your last relationship that ended. What would you say is the thing that killed that relationship? Communication? Sex? Mutual Relationships? None of these are the main killers of relationships; they are merely the symptoms of the real problem. The real, masked killer—rarely identified—are unmet expectations. Think about it. Every person goes into a relationship with expectations. You may be thinking, “I just won't have expectations than!” But expectations are not the problem. Healthy expectations are actually encouraged. In an earlier blog, Dating With Purpose, I wrote about non-negotiable qualities, or expectations, in a relationship. If you have yet to read the blog and make your list of non-negotiable qualities, I suggest trying that. Now the problem with expectations in a relationship is a lack of observation. One of my favorite bloggers, Derek Harvey, introduced me to this problem and uses this simple formula to illustrate the problem.
EXPECTATION - OBSERVATION = FRUSTRATION
To have a healthy relationship, you have to observe your expectations; you do this in two ways. First, you have to know what your expectations are before you go into a relationship. Whether or not you have identified these expectations, you will feel the frustration of any unmet expectations. When you identify these expectations, you can choose more fulfilling relationships and end bad relationships quicker, avoiding the pain of a long-term relationship breakup. Next, you have to communicate these expectations to your partner. Author Robert Glover, in his book No More Mr. Nice Guy, calls these uncommunicated expectations “covert contracts.” These are contracts that we make in our minds, but our partners know nothing about. When they don’t fulfill their part of the contract, of which they are unaware, we get upset. It seems crazy, but this happens far too often.
So in conclusion, uncommunicated expectations will kill your relationship. I will continue to develop this idea in future blogs. Let me know what you think.