Why Unrealistic Expectations Kill Real Relationships

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Expectations are good. They give a purpose to your life. They help you pursue your dreams and give you the confidence to strive for a better life. We inherit expectations naturally and without them, we would be walking corpses.

However, is there any limitation as to what you expect and how much you expect out of life? Sometimes expectations may turn into unrealistic perfectionism and this could toss your life into a self-created abyss.

We have too many expectations from everyone and everything. Right from the society we live in, to our careers and even how we want to spend our day. While expectations can be beneficial, they can also lead us to despise our life.

When we consider the term expectation one thing that certainly precipitates in our mind is relationships. Be it with our parents, siblings, friends, children or romantic interest.

As a matter of fact, the term Romance which makes us feel roses and butterflies, took its hike in the 1750s and ever since, we have been living in a highly distinct era of love. Romanticism emerged as an ideology in Europe in the mid 18th century in the minds of poets, artists, and philosophers and it has now conquered the world.

We might consider love stories in novels a mere asset of entertainment but we underestimate and overlook how highly influential they can be. Bottom line, can they change our perception of reality and hinder our expectation towards relationships?

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A part of the reason why we find modern relationships so gruelling is that we have been exposed to extremely unhelpful stories that don’t give us a correct map of love. We need to realise that life is no Twilight Saga. Because you think life is a typical sugar coated chick-flick you depress a beautiful relationship and feel your suffering has no equivalence to the lives of others around you. What we fail to realise is that their life is no wonderland either, and we draw some unrealistic expectations.

Fictional characters are just so perfect, loving parents, obedient children, the perfect house and an ideal soulmate. Life is so perfect there and everything ends with a happily ever after. However, characters in real life are imperfect. They are messy, they make mistakes and life is not always a happily ever after with them.

Novels give you a perception that relationships are easy and all you would ever have to do is love. In reality, relationships are quite complicated and imperfect. They need patience, compassion, mutual understanding, sacrifice, and a persistent commitment of ‘I won’t let go to keep it working’. Accepting this very imperfection is the essence of perfection in every relationship.

The point is how much of this reality do we actually accept? We have learnt to judge ourselves by the hopes and expectations fostered in this leading medium of art. As compared to its standards, our personal relationships often look disdained and unsatisfactory. No wonder why separation and divorce so often seem to be inevitable.

Remember, unrealistic expectations can bring no cure but are only a root for heartaches. No relationship in your life is inadequate and if things aren’t working they don’t mean failure, they only mean that you need to put in more efforts and fewer expectations.

 

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Sharon Ferrao

Pursuing MBA while living on books and chai. Believer of spirituality and humanism. Introvert who expresses through writing.

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