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How to Let Go of Expectations in a Relationship

by S. Grey, studioD

Letting go of expectations demands an atmosphere of love and understanding in your relationship. Expectations are unspoken guidelines you think your partner should follow, but they are not always realistic. Knowing your expectations and accepting your partner help you let go of them, leading to a more understanding relationship. While expectations are unavoidable, you can lessen their grip and create a supportive relationship.

Understand Your Expectations

Spend time understanding your expectations. When you know your expectations, you are able to manage them. Begin this process by asking yourself what you expect out of your partner. You may expect him to clean up after himself and be emotionally available, or you may expect him to say sweet things. Make a list of expectations, starting each item with "I expect." Cross out any unmet expectations, then balance your list with what your partner is realistically able to do. For instance, if you and your partner leave work at the same time, he will not have dinner ready once you get home.

Talk About Your Expectations

Communicate expectations to reach common ground. When she knows what you expect, she can add her perspective and help you have more realistic expectations. By communicating your expectations, you create a process of compromise. You know which ones your partner feels are unrealistic. Communicate your expectations when you are unemotional and before your partner has had a chance to fall short. For example, let her know you expect her to remember your anniversary early in your relationship.

Be Flexible

Adapt to circumstances within the relationship. Flexibility enables you to bounce back from disappointment and let go of expectations. Adaptation is necessary, otherwise, you become upset when things do not develop as anticipated. Go with the flow instead of working from expectations. Flexibility in your relationship leads to letting go of expectations.


Accept your partner. This helps you manage and let go of expectations. Instead of expecting your partner to be another person or do different things, simply accept him. Acceptance helps you let go of expectations. You see your partner for who he is instead of who you want him to be. There are many differences between you and your partner -- lessen your frustration by honoring them instead of wanting them to change. When you accept your partner, you will find that your expectations have less influence and presence in your relationship, thus enabling you to let them go.

About the Author

S. Grey has a Master of Science in counseling psychology from the University of Central Arkansas. He is also pursuing a PhD and has a love for psychology, comic books and social justice. He has been published in a text on social psychology and regularly presents research at regional psychology conferences.

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