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Expectations: Can’t live with them, can’t live without them

Expectations… we all have them, we all feel the weight of them. In my sessions with clients the theme I see again and again is frustration and pain around unmet expectations. This can be true with our romantic partner, kids, job, friends, the list goes on. We cannot escape having expectations or having them thrust upon us. So why are we so bad at communicating them?

First let’s break down what it means to have expectations. Expectations is defined as ‘the strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.’ Every situation we enter we have a predetermined idea of how we think things are going to go or how we want them to pan out. For example, I have a friend who was excited about going to a pumpkin patch around Halloween with her husband and two children. In her mind they would head out in the morning and have this lovely fall day among the pumpkins, maybe sipping apple cider and eating some of those yummy doughnuts those places always seem to have. They’d take adorable pictures of their small children in the patch and selecting their perfect pumpkins before heading home for nap time. The kids would go down and she and her husband could relax on the couch maybe cuddle a little and talk about what a fun morning they had.

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Don’t Just Talk, Communicate! Advice for Couples

Communication is one of the most important aspects in a romantic relationship; it is also one of the most common reasons couples seek out therapy. Communication isn’t just expressing our needs, but also involves how we hear our partner when they express theirs. As a relationship goes on we much constantly evaluate how we communicate with our partner. The absence of meaningful communication within a relationship can lead to miscommunication, fights, and resentment.

How many times have you thought about your partner “they just don’t get it”? The answer may not actually be that simple. It may be that you are not communicating in a way they can easily understand, or they need some help with their listening skills to really grasp what you are trying to get across. Successful communication takes practice and does not come easy to many. Couples need to be willing to put in the hard work that it takes for most to reach a point of positive and healthy communication on a regular basis.

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