We all want to experience the Hallmark romance so often portrayed on television. You might look at your partner and wonder why they can’t say those romantic lines or sweep you off your feet. 

While you undoubtedly know that those films and characters aren’t real and they’re just following a script, there’s something most people don’t think about when a Hallmark movie ends—it’s the beginning of two characters’ relationship. Most of those movies end with two people getting together and sharing a first kiss. They don’t show what happens in the next five years, or the ups and downs of a relationship. 

It’s easy to set unrealistic expectations in your own relationship. Whether you want the Hallmark romance or you just want your partner to be someone they’re not, unrealistic expectations will end up doing more harm than good. 

So, how can you be more realistic with your expectations? What can you do to grow closer as a couple and boost your intimacy without falling victim to unrealistic ideas? 

Let’s cover a few effective ways to manage your expectations. 

The Importance of Respect

Perhaps the most important high expectation you should have in your relationship is respect. It’s not unrealistic to want it or to show it. As long as you and your partner respect each other, you won’t say things that are inherently hurtful. You’ll argue more productively, you’ll be able to work through challenges together, and you’ll know that you’re always on the same team. 

A respectful relationship doesn’t mean there aren’t ever any disagreements. However, when you feel respected, you also know that your partner values you, even when you’re not getting along. 

Instead of looking for unconditional love in your relationship, set a high standard for respect, and make sure you’re giving the same level of respect in return. 

man holding flowers behind back with girlfriend standing in front of himTalk to Your Partner

Communication is one of the most important keys to any successful relationship. Talking to your partner about your expectations and listening to theirs can make it easier to establish “ground rules”. 

The more open you are with your expectations, the easier it will be for both of you to work on them. Your partner can’t read your mind (and vice versa). So, don’t be afraid to talk about your expectations often, and how you both can manage them. 

Avoid Comparisons

We live in a social media-driven world. That makes it easier than ever to compare yourself to other people and compare your relationship to what you’re seeing on Facebook and Instagram. 

Remind yourself that what people post online is typically nothing more than a highlight reel of what’s going on in their lives. While it’s easy to look at “picture perfect” couples online and compare your relationship, you never know what’s going on behind closed doors.
One of the worst things you can do is compare your relationship to other people. That’s especially true when it comes to social media. It’s unrealistic, unhealthy, and will always leave you unsatisfied. 

Take Care of Yourself

You can’t expect your partner to fulfill your every need. If you aren’t happy or content with you who you are, it’s unrealistic (and unfair) to assume your partner will “complete” you. 

Take care of yourself. Prioritize your mental and physical wellness. You and your partner should want to take care of each other and provide for one another’s needs, but it shouldn’t be out of obligation. 

Keep these ideas in mind to set realistic expectations in your relationship. You might be surprised by how much stronger you and your partner can be together when you take away some of the pressure to be perfect.

If all else fails, reach out to me for couples counseling. I can help you find ways to set reasonable expectations within your relationship to prevent problems from arising in the future.