Relationships 101: The Trap Of Expectations

When Appreciation Turns To Expectation

Even positive expectations can be damaging to a relationship. When appreciation turns into expectation your relationship is in danger. By expecting instead of appreciating, you're robbing your partner of their ability to impress you and setting them up for failure. Your partner wants to show you what you and your relationship means to them and to be appreciated for doing so. When it turns into expectation, it's easy to be disappointed and your partner will feel you're disappointed in them. Eventually they may give up trying to show you appreciation because they feel no matter what they do it's not good enough. .

This morning I was reading on this subject and they explained it this way:

Let’s say your partner enjoys bringing you flowers. At first it seems special, a surprise that delights you. The delight shows on your face, and he experiences the reward of that positive reaction each time he shows up with a bundle of roses. But over time, you begin to expect the roses every other week on a Friday. Now, the best he can do is meet your expectations. If he doesn’t bring you the flowers on Friday, you feel disappointed, wondering if something is wrong.

This is where relationships begin to fail.

Men need to feel appreciated and respected in a relationship. There's a common belief that some women think it's ridiculous that men act as if they've conquered Mount Everest whenever they accomplish even the most menial of tasks. So, they respond dismissively (What's the big deal?), sarcastically, or even derisively (What do you want? A medal?). 

Think about what your response is telling your man.

You're telling him he's inferior.

You're telling him his accomplishment(s) are meaningless.

Most of all, you're telling him you don't respect him and his abilities.

In the case where appreciation for the little things your man does becomes an expectation, the acts of service he does to show you he appreciates you and values your relationship turn into nothing more than another chore, a task to be accomplished, that he knows he won't be appreciated or respected for.

Eventually, he'll quit.

The return on the investment won't be enough to justify to himself to continue doing those things.

The danger then becomes what happens when someone else shows him the appreciation and respect he so desires from you.

Odds are, he'll go where he's appreciated and respected and you'll be left wondering just what the hell happened.

Look For The Signs

One of the biggest flaws about us men is that we have difficulty verbally communicating our feelings, emotions, and needs. Then, when we do, it's typically because we've gone beyond the breaking point.

So, here's what to look for, from a man who has experienced this:

  • Does the frequency of his doing the little things become less and less?
  • Does he not express the same joy in doing the little things?
  • Does he do them begrudgingly, like it's a chore?

When the joy of doing the little things for his partner begins to fade, it's a sure sign that he doesn't feel appreciated and respected...and you're in danger of losing him.

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