How Expectations Hurt Your Relationship

Do you know how expectations hurt your relationship?

Expectations can be harmful to your relationship because they don’t leave room for trust, acceptance and patience. Some of the essential building blocks for a lasting relationship.

Instead of operating out of obligation, a strong relationship operates out of desire.

You might be wondering how this is possible…

Relationship Expectations


Without expectations, how will your partner know what you ‘expect’ in terms of loving behavior?

As reasonable, intelligent people we all know what loving behavior is. We are however, not always aware of how decisions we make impact our partners.

What keeps a relationship happy and fulfilling is not expectations and guidelines or rules.

What actually creates a fulfilling relationship is the safety and intimacy of the bond you share as a couple.

Creating trust and openness in a relationship requires the courage to be vulnerable and express what you want and don’t want at all times in a kind and respectful manner.

This is essentially unconditional love, which is challenging for most people. The opposite of unconditional love is fear and control. There is very little room for love in an environment of fear and control, no matter how small.

In order to build cooperation between you and your partner you need to approach issues from a place of non-judgment and compassion. We are all human and have inadequacies, perceived failures and things that we are ashamed about. To solve problems, we need to approach problems from the position of being a team member and a trusted ally to your partner.

If you are someone your partner can trust not to blame or criticize, then your partner will open up to you.

In a positive relationship climate where the lines of communication and honestly are open and both partners feel important, supported and loved, the need for infidelity (seeking love whether emotional or otherwise elsewhere) and all forms of addiction whether it be addiction to worry, control, complaining, work, alcohol, drugs, coffee, cigarettes or whatever it may be becomes noticeably reduced.

Gaining cooperation from your partner through judgement will only result in change made out of fear which is never lasting.

To have your partner make changes out of desire you will need to be 1) vulnerable enough to express your feelings and what you want 2) unconditionally loving enough to withold blame and criticism 3) aware of your power to influence positive change by becoming a safe, non-judgmental partner.

When you confront your partner out of fear instead of love you become opposed and your partner must now dig their heels in to defend the very position you’re trying to get rid of.

Focus on what you want instead of what you don’t want and see how you might achieve it together without blame.

The one who brings up ‘the problem’ often ends up becoming the problem. But, when you bring up the solution (what you want) you become desired and cherished. This is a big difference from such a seemingly small shift in behavior and communication.

Trust that your partner wants to please you and give you the world. For this to happen your partner needs to see that you are kind and respectful and willing to allow them the freedom to be who they are. Your part is to speak up and problem solve so that you can move forward as a team without having to rehash the past.

Let us know what you think of this article and if it was able to offer you some insight into how expectations hurt your relationship so that you can sidestep them.


Susan Blackburn

Susan Blackburn

About Susan Blackburn:

Susan Blackburn, M.A., C.Psych. is a Registered Psychologist, Psychotherapist, Counsellor & Therapist in Toronto at Yonge Eglinton, a Published Author and a guest Relationship Expert on radio and television.

Susan enjoys working with people to enhance the quality of their lives. Her collaborative psychotherapy and counselling approach offers clients effective tools and strategies to increase happiness, manage stress, find balance, improve confidence, embrace self care and focus on the positive so that they can relax and enjoy life.

Services are covered under most extended health benefits and workplace insurance plans requiring clients be seen by a Registered Psychologist through her registration with the College of Psychologists of Ontario.

Susan is the owner of Susan Blackburn Psychology a boutique therapy private practice located in midtown Toronto at Yonge and Eglinton.

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