Do you have expectations of a partner that often go unmet? What do you do when your expectations are not met?
The ego-wounded self often has a long list of expectations regarding how your partner will or should act if he or she cares about you or if you are important to him or her. Then, when your expectations are not met, you feel hurt, angry or disappointed, believing that these feelings are being caused by your partner rather than by your expectations. The following behaviors may have nothing to do with whether or not your partner loves you. He or she may have many good reasons for behaving in these ways, reasons that have nothing to do with whether or not your partner cares about you.
Expectations for Mates or Lovers
What are some of the expectations you have for your partner?
Imagine saying these things to your partner: "If you really loved me, cared about me, or if I were really important to you, you would..."
• Never do things for yourself that you know will upset me.
• Be ready on time.
• Be turned on to me, or at least make love whenever I want.
• Want to spend your time the way I want.
• Agree with me.
• Remember our anniversary.
• Lose or gain weight.
• Make more money.
• Spend less money.
• Work more.
• Work less.
• Keep the house neat and clean.
• Eat right and take your vitamins.
• Get enough exercise.
• Exercise with me.
• Dress the way I like.
• Be affectionate.
• Put your clothes away.
• Make me happy.
• Never be attracted to anyone else.
• Never look at the opposite sex.
• Never be affectionate with the opposite sex.
• Give in to me.
• Do things my way.
• Call me every day.
• Bring me flowers.
• Buy me expensive presents.
• Solve my problems for me.
• Always want to be with me.
• Never socialize without me.
• Never go to a party when I don't want to go.
• Initiate special times for us to be together.
• Stop drinking or taking drugs.
• Spend more time with the kids.
• Stop watching so much TV.
• Watch TV with me.
• Take care of me the way I take care of you.
• Give me more money.
• Take care of me financially.
• Do things for me all the time that I am capable of doing for myself.
• Go to bed the same time I do.
• Stop being friends with people I don't like.
• Stop being friends with old lovers.
• Get rid of everything that is a reminder of your previous relationships.
• Never lie to me.
• Take a shower every day.
• Love my pets.
• Love my parents.
• Be miserable when I'm miserable.
• Be happy when I'm happy.
• Be miserable and miss me a lot when I'm away.
• Practice the same religion I practice.
• Go to church or synagogue with me.
• Believe what I believe spiritually.
What do you do when your expectations are not met? Do you move into some form of control when your expectations are not met?
The wounded self is the part of us that operates under the false belief that we can control how others feel about us. We have each learned both overt and covert ways of trying to have this control, and we spend much energy trying to get others to love us and care for us, instead of spending that same energy in learning to love and care for ourselves. Our wounded self falsely believes that our feelings of worth and self-esteem come from others loving us, rather than from connecting with a spiritual source of unconditional love and bringing that love to ourselves.
As you read over this list of some of the ways we control, be gentle with yourself rather than judgmental. All of us have learned to be controlling and all of us have the choice to be compassionate with ourselves so we can learn, rather than judge ourselves, which cuts off our learning.
Often we try to control others in the ways our parents tried to control us or each other, or in ways we learned in childhood from other children or from TV. Until you learn to connect with your higher self and give to yourself what you are trying to get from others, you may continue to try to control others in many different ways.
• Getting angry
• Criticizing, judging
• Saying "Tsk, tsk" and shaking my head
• Getting annoyed, irritated, short, curt
• Pouting, sulking
• Becoming ill
• Being sneaky/deceptive
• Lying or withholding the truth
• Nagging, bitching
• Lecturing, giving advise
• Explaining, convincing, selling
• Becoming self-righteous
• Talking others out of their feelings by telling them they are wrong
• Asking leading questions to which only one answer is acceptable
• Hitting, spanking
• Changing the subject
• Using sarcasm
• Raising my eyebrows
• Shrugging my shoulders
• Making comparisons
• Throwing things
• Telling my feelings as an accusation that the other is causing them
• Silent angry withdrawal
• Acting like a know-it-all
• Pushing others into therapy
• The silent treatment
• Disapproving looks
• Disapproving sighs
• Blaming tears
• "Poor me" tears
• Temper tantrums
• A superior attitude
• Being a "nice guy"
• Giving gifts with strings attached
• Being emotionally or financially indispensable
• Teaching, point things out without being asked
• Flattery or giving false compliments
• Giving in, giving myself up, going along
• Care taking -- giving to get
• Not asking for what I want, putting aside what I want
• Agreeing with others points of view
• People pleasing
• Incessant talking
• Censoring what I say about what I want and feel
• Second-guessing and anticipating what others want
• Putting myself down
• Using threats of:
- Financial withdrawal
- Emotional withdrawal
- Sexual withdrawal
- Exposure to others
- Alcohol or drug abuse
What are the results for yourself and your relationship of trying to control when your expectations are not met?
Our controlling behavior eventually results in creating whatever it is we are trying to prevent. We control to get love and avoid pain, yet by controlling rather than loving ourselves and others, we create the very pain we are trying to avoid.
The negative aspects of your relationship and your expectations are fertile areas for exploration within yourself and with your partner. I hope you take the time to learn, explore, heal and grow.
Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Relationships Course: "Loving Relationships: A 30-Day at-Home Experience with Dr. Margaret Paul - For partnered individuals & couples, & people who want to be partnered."
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