June 16, 2021

Expectations & Needs: What we get Wrong in Relationships.

I wanted to pick a nice quote to begin this write-up (like I usually do), but what I found amused me.

Let me share a few with you:

“You know what’s the one wrong thing people do when they fall in love? They expect. And it ruins everything.” ~ unknown

“Expectation is the root of all heartache.” ~ not Shakespeare

“When you have expectations, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.” ~ Ryan Reynolds

And so on.

Amidst all these, I only managed to find one that said:

“People say never expect anything from anyone. But the truth is, that when we really love someone, we naturally expect a little love and care from them.” ~ unknown

Perhaps, I was expecting too much. Expecting to find too many quotes that would tell me that it’s okay to expect. But as I said, I was expecting too much.

Even though I managed to find just one, it was enough.

Enough to drive home the point that expectations are natural outcomes of relationships.

When things are going wrong or aren’t exactly hunky-dory in any relationship, we often hear others tell us (or we tell ourselves) that:

“You’re expecting too much!”

“You have such high expectations. You need to lower them.”

“You shouldn’t expect anything in return.”

“You’re demanding.”

“You’re too sensitive.”

The fact is that we get into relationships because we have needs—and relationships are a means to fulfill those needs. With needs, come expectations because that’s how we know that our needs are fulfilled. They are a by-product of every relationship.

For instance, when you go to a grocery store to buy groceries (you’ve been going there for years) and you find the seller selling medicines or clothes, wouldn’t you be surprised?

You expected this person who has been selling groceries for years, to sell groceries! You needed them, and you knew he could give them to you, so you went.

Had you known that this person has changed the product and that he cannot fulfill your expectation, would you have gone? No!

So, when we enter into any relationship, we are in it because we have certain needs. Because the person or people on the other end have assumed a particular role, we naturally expect them to fulfill our needs.

The problem is not in expecting.

The problem arises when the person in that role is no longer able to fulfill our expectations, and we either can’t see that, can’t understand that, or don’t know what to do.

It’s like going into the grocery store that now sells clothes and fighting with the shopkeeper to give you groceries. But how can he? He isn’t capable of doing that anymore.

Yet you fight, argue, refuse to let to.

Hoping and wishing that he will eventually give you what you want, but that he doesn’t have.

When we get consumed by our own unfulfilled needs, we fail to see people for who they and what they can or can’t give to us.

We have every right to expect—because expectations are natural in every relationship.

But we need to take our blinders off and check if our expectations are reasonable or not.

Can they be fulfilled or not?

At times, it may mean letting go of a relationship or taking a step back.

Before we do that, all we need to do is ask ourselves:

>> Is the situation short-term or long-term?

>> Is it the situation or person?

>> Is the fight worth it?

>> How long are we willing to wait in the hope that someday things might change?

Sometimes, all we need to do is accept.

Accept people and relationships for who and what they are.

And acceptance can be painful and liberating at the same time.

It’s all a matter of time and a shift in perspective.


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