LIVING

Having High Expectations During A Relationship Can Cause Problems Down The Road

It's not about settling, though.

10/25/2017 10:39 EDT | Updated 10/25/2017 10:39 EDT

There are many issues that can crop up during a relationship that can cause its downfall.

From financial problems, to partners unable to agree on whether or not to have kids, to infidelity, to lack of intimacy, any one of these issues can create a divide between a couple.

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But the biggest threat to relationships isn't any of the above. Apparently, the leading cause for divorce is unmet expectations.

Derek Harvey, a writer-turned-life coach, was shocked to hear this at a seminar six years ago and has taken it to heart ever since.

"I have seen the pain and frustration that plays out from having unmet expectations, not just in marriage, but in all relationships," Derek Harvey told Inspire More. "It's a deadly venom that flows to the heart and wreaks havoc in relationships."

It's a deadly venom that flows to the heart and wreaks havoc in relationships.

And high expectations can lead to disappointment not just in relationships but in your everyday life, from your career, to family, to friends.

But for those who do have high expectations of their partner — whether it's expecting them to make dinner for you every night or eagerly taking on house chores — it can lead to bitterness and anger when those expectations aren't met, a lethal cocktail for relationships.

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"Unmet expectations are a huge relationship killer," relationships coach James Preece told The Independent. "People tend to enter marriages or long-term relationships expecting the other person will change their ways.

"They think that over time they'll be able to mould them into someone else. This only leads to disappointment and anger."

Unmet expectations are a huge relationship killer.

Preece says that instead of setting high expectations that will only lead to disappointment, couples should accept their partners for who they are, and work together when they encounter problems with their relationship.

"The best way to handle unmet expectations is simply to work as a team," Preece said. "Set goals together and work towards them. Not only is that more fun, but you are much more likely to achieve them when someone is spurring you on."

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For Harvey, he realized that his expectations of his wife were getting in the way of having a good marriage.

"The fact of the matter is this: In life, we often have expectations that go unmet, and we're often frustrated because of it," he noted. "But we don't have to be.

"Here's the answer: Let your observation take precedence over your expecation. Period. In other words, go with the flow."

He added: "When you come into a situation and your expectations aren't met, let your observation take the lead. Discard your expectation in the moment and deal with reality at hand."

When you come into a situation and your expectations aren't met, let your observation take the lead. Discard your expectation in the moment and deal with reality at hand.

But sometimes these unmet expectations create rifts between a couple, so what can you do if you realize that there are cracks in your relationship? For starters, be proactive and take steps to limit the chances that these cracks will create an even bigger divide, marriage expert Debra Macleod writes in HuffPost.

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First of all, "don't dismiss or shrug off your partner's complaints," she says. "Yes, even if those complaints are about housework, money, a lack of affection or support, the in-laws or texting. It is even worse to become defensive or argumentative when your partner tries to express the reasons for his or her unhappiness. You don't need to agree with what he or she is saying, but you do need to listen and do your part to improve matters."

You don't need to agree with what he or she is saying, but you do need to listen and do your part to improve matter.

More importantly, Macleod says couples should remember to have fun together and to appreciate each other.

"Not a day should go by that you don't express appreciation for your partner in words and deed. Feeling unappreciated is a major complaint in almost all troubled marriages," she says.

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