Expectations are very essential in every relationship. Expectations help set the boundaries for the type of treatment that is appropriate for both couples. An example of a healthy expectation in a relationship is that you expect your partner to love, support, and respect you, and vice versa. An unhealthy expectation is thinking your partner should be able to read your mind.

However, expectations can be difficult to create, you would need to carefully think about the following questions; What is unrealistic to expect from your partner? What is too much to ask of your partner? What is not enough to ask of your partner? and so on, before creating an expectation. Most people have unrealistic expectations for their relationship, like expecting no conflicts and sunny days.

You don’t expect your partner to be everything to you. No one is that perfect. For this reason, you need to discuss most parts of your expectations with your partner. This discussion isn’t a once-and-done thing, but something you need to do regularly as you progress in the relationship. Assumed expectations are the downfall of most relationships, try having talks about your expectations regularly.

To maintain a healthy, happy relationship, especially a romantic relationship, you need to set and reset your expectations. Here are some of the most important expectations to consider in your relationship:

Relationship Expectations

1. Trust in each other:

Trust promotes security in a relationship. It makes you feel safe to explore your interests and hobbies, knowing you have your partner’s support. You will need to learn about each other’s inner world and practice empathy towards their feelings, experience, and needs to build trust over time.

2. Friendship and admiration in the relationship:

Friendship in your relationship builds a connection and sense of security between you and your partner, which allows you both to confide in each other and increases the intimacy in your relationship. Learn to cultivate friendship in your relationship by developing and demonstrating interest in your partner. Activities that boost this friendship include: actively listening to them when they talk, and make out time to engage in your favorite activities together, this combats loneliness and insignificance.

3. Commitment to the Relationship:

If you want a relationship where both partners feel like part of a team and are valid, then an equal level of commitment is essential. You need to understand each other’s level of commitment to the relationship, and talk to your partner if you think some of their behaviors don’t demonstrate the level of commitment they think they are at. This will prevent resentment if one partner feels they are doing the most in the relationship.

4. Compromise and mutual understanding:

Learn to compromise in your relationship, putting the love you share above everything, as this will help both you and your partner overcome a gridlock or stonewall in your relationship. When seeking to comprise in your relationship, try using your understanding of your and your partner’s experiences in past situations to determine where you can bend to accommodate each other.

5. Affection and Appreciation:

Learn how to show affection to your partner using their love language instead of yours, as it will have a greater impact on them as you appreciate them for their efforts and contributions to the relationship. If your love language differs from that of your partner, discuss with your partner and learn how they like to be appreciated and know their love language.

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6. Sexual Connection:

To maintain a healthy sex life in your relationship, you and your partner need to discuss your sexual preferences and needs, especially what to do if one person is in the mood if the other partner isn’t. To increase and improve your sexual Connection, talk about what sex means to you both, especially if either of you experienced sexual traumas.

7. Respect:

Respecting each other’s differences without criticism, listening, and validating each other’s beliefs, customs, and values are key to building a happy relationship. Shared compassion for each other’s differences, reminds you that you are part of a team, makes it easy for you to see these difference as part of their strengths, and create space for them to express these differences in the relationship.

8. Empathy:

Learn to express empathy towards your partner by learning about each other’s experiences and the emotions that come with them. You can do this by asking your partner questions about their past experiences, and considering why these emotions make sense to your partner given their background. The aim here is not to agree or provide a solution to your partner, but to understand their perspective.

9. Kindness and generosity:

Incorporating an action of kindness daily to promote a culture of appreciation and friendship in your relationship, will be very helpful to the growth of your relationship. You can increase the love in your relationship, by demonstrating generosity and kindness when either of you needs support in the relationship, or appreciating each other after doing something kind for each other.

10. Time:

The importance of spending quality time with your partner cannot be over-emphasized. The goal is to be present and provide support for each other on any occasion, these experiences tighten the bond between you and your partner. Spending quality time with your partner may include going on dates, doing your hobbies together, doing house chores, etc. The forms of support you provide for your partner might vary from eye contact to physical touch, active listening and responding to what they say.

Other realistic expectations you can have in your relationship include:

  • Communication
  • Active listening
  • Working out disagreements
  • Finances (Talk about how you both will contribute to the relationship financially and who will be providing what)
  • Your identity as a couple

Having discussed some healthy expectations in a relationship, here are some expectations that are unhealthy and  can even destroy a relationship:

  1. No argument: This is a sign of an unhealthy relationship, as you and your partner cannot agree at all times, this might also mean that one of you is bottling up your feelings to avoid arguments, and very soon these feelings will surface, and this can be very dangerous for the relationship.
  2. Mind reading: No human is a mind reader, therefore it’s unrealistic to expect your partner to know what you are thinking without telling them.
  3. Always available when you are in distress: You should know that your partner won’t always be present or available. Expecting them to be is very unrealistic.
  4. No friends of the opposite sex: This is one very unrealistic expectation that can break a relationship. You can not expect your partner to avoid friends of the opposite sex because they are with you.
  5. Always all their free time with you: While it’s important to spend quality time with your partner, it’s a disaster to spend all your time with them, as you might start feeling suffocated in the relationship and need an out, besides everyone needs time for themselves.

Other unrealistic expectations include:

  • Expecting your partner to provide solutions for all your problems
  • Expecting your partner to always agree with you
  • Expecting them to change who they are for you
  • Expecting daily sex.

How do you set expectations in a relationship?

To set up and manage expectations in your relationship, do the following:

  • Discuss what you want/ expect from the relationship with your partner
  • Be realistic about what both you and your partner can and cannot do
  • Learn not to compare your relationship to that of other people
  • Give your partner space, don’t choke their personal space
  • Ensure you are taking care of yourself

What do women expect in a relationship?

Most women expect the following out of a relationship:

  • Kindness
  • Empathy
  • Patience
  • Understanding
  • Compassion

What are normal expectations in a relationship?

In every healthy relationship, you should expect the following:

  • Love
  • Respect
  • Affection
  • Kindness


Finally, if you notice some unrealistic expectations exist in your relationship either from you or your partner, discover why those expectations arose, and if they can be exchanged for healthy expectations. Learn how to discuss and create healthy expectations with your partner, and be open to revisiting your conversations and expectations as your relationship grows.



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