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Understanding Us: Expectations vs. Reality

Understanding Us · 2 min read

Well…what did you expect?”

When was the moment in your relationship where the metaphorical glass shattered and you realised that this person you have chosen to love isn’t fulfilling all of your spoken and unspoken expectations?

Well…what DID you expect?

Acknowledging the reality of your relationship as opposed to your expectations is vital for understanding where you really are as a couple. We’ve written in the past about navigating unspoken expectations — specifically in cross cultural relationships (but aren’t all relationships cross cultural in a way?)

Expectations come from everywhere. They come from family, friends, the person at the coffee shop, and even the media. At the same time we have expectations for the world around us and expectations for ourselves.

You may not expect your colleague to do much more than make your job harder or the barista at your local spot to give you a second thought when you leave the building, but what about your partner?

What do they expect from you and what do you expect from them?

It can be easy to meet someone’s expectations in a romantic relationship early on. That’s usually because the bar is set quite low at the beginning and we are all on our best behaviour. We have similar interests, great!” We both love dogs!! Wow, we are the same person!” At some point that begins to shift, and it’s not a bad thing at all! You are two different people with some common ground. But what about when your expectations for more significant issues aren’t being met?

Expectations are seldom met when they are a mystery. Expectations will also change.

Take some time this week to talk with your partner about some expectations that you might have had that weren’t met or some that you currently do have that you feel would be important to voice.

Here are a few questions to get you started:

*Bonus question to ask yourself* — Are there any expectations I had of my partner that I didn’t realise until they weren’t met? Where did they come from? 

It’s inevitable that expectations, spoken or not, will not be met. What do you do when that happens? Do you respond with patience and grace or do you get angry? 


A great way to understand us’ now is by taking your relationship Pulse. Toucan Together’s Pulse quiz will give you a snapshot of where your relationships is right now across seven key areas. Get started in the Toucan Together app today and take your Pulse!

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