Probably the most painful thing you can experience in a relationship is when your partner doesn’t really match up to your expectations. So, when you feel like they’re not loving you as much as you want them to, or they’re not paying enough attention to you, you feel disappointed.
You see, a lot of resentment can arise from expectations. We expect a lot from the people we hold dear in our lives, and the moment they don't behave in the way we want them to, we feel disappointed with them. It's too bad, because you can't tell adults what to do. Even though you may try to manipulate your partner's actions, at the end of the day they’ll behave exactly how they want- there’s really nothing you can do about that.
However, when you are in a relationship with someone, hanging on to this kind of resentment can lead to a lot of problems. It’s not going to work out for either of you if the two of you decide to go separate ways. In fact, this is a common complaint amongst committed men-they often feel like the women in their lives are trying to turn them into a different person. It is hard for them to accept that you might not want them exactly how they are, with all their flaws and shortcomings.
When you two have different expectations from each other, things become ten times more difficult than they normally are. So what can you do about this?
One of the best solutions to this problem was put to practice by Michael Singer, the bestselling author. He simply stopped expecting. He stopped trying to turn things to his favor, or hoping that circumstances would always turn out favorably for him. He let his life take its natural course, and decided to embrace the ebb and flow as and when it arrived.
Sounds crazy, right? It’s your life, after all. You’re allowed to want it to go in a certain direction. Let’s be honest, the ideal day for any of us would be if everything happened our way- our transport arrived on time, our coffee was sweetened just right, our boss gave us some eloquent praise, our crush smiled at us from across the hall, or our boyfriend planned an elaborate romantic dinner for us.
But, things don’t always happen that way. Life has its own devices for us, and the gap between what is and what we want it to be can be a source of great torment and suffering for us.
As much as we would like to believe that we have complete control over everything in our lives, that's the farthest thing from the truth. Each person in our life- our loved ones included- will act in their own ways and not according to how we want them to act. And that's simply what it is.
But there’s one person that we can control, and control completely - ourselves.
Think about it. Your mind is the only thing that’s completely yours, yet it is also the thing that you seem to have no control over. The mind is constantly buzzing with thoughts and emotions, judgments and opinions. It’s not one of the places you would go for a vacation.
Now think about this- what would you feel like if you gave up trying to control other people’s behaviors, and focused solely on controlling your own?
Would it be okay if you simply stopped resisting things that are happening to you, and simply begin to accept?
What would happen if you reveled in the fact that there is some higher power out there that is constantly pushing you in the right direction?
When you do accept these things, like Singer, you would simply stop trying to resist the things that were happening to you. You would accept that everything happens for a reason, and in the grander scheme of things, you will turn out to be okay.
Now here’s how this can mend your relationship.
The moment you stop expecting your partner to act according to your wishes is the same moment you begin to love him unconditionally. This is a love that does not stem from a role that you have decided to assign to your partner- in other words, you don’t love him because he’s your boyfriend, you love him simply because he is himself.
Now, you can accept that he will not act according to your wishes most of the time. So, when you have a fight, you will have an emotional reaction. But instead of blaming him for the entire thing, you will be able to look at the matter objectively, and analyze your own behaviors in the process.
You will accept that he is his own person, with his own pros and cons. He will not behave in a way that you want him to. You will be able to let go of grudges, and instead, focus on moving past the emotional crisis in a situation that is eventually beneficial for both of you. It will stop you from placing yourself in the shoes of the good person and your boyfriend in the bad- since both good and bad are only perspectives and not concrete ideologies.
Once you start applying this policy, both to your relationship and your personal life in general, you will feel much more relaxed in pursuing your goals and ambitions. You will not feel the compulsive urge to manage every single detail of the path that leads you to the top.
When you surrender your desires to achieve only one outcome in your life, you are making yourself more available in the present, and living without a constant sense of purpose. Even when things do not go your way, you will be able to react with positivity and acceptance, instead of feeling betrayed by the universe.
Letting go of expectations is the best way for you to have a more fulfilling relationship and an incredibly holistic life.