It Is Not Supposed To Be This Way
Unfulfilled expectations can lead to disappointment and disillusionment. Focusing on the thoughts, “it is not supposed to be this way” or “it shouldn’t be this hard” bring pain. All relationships in some ways fail to meet expectations. Most couples at some point reach a “commitment remorse” stage in their relationship, where they start to wonder, “What have I got myself into?”
Maybe there is too much fighting. Maybe that sense of closeness is gone. Maybe resentment has been building. Maybe there is a lack of respect. Maybe they have had thoughts like, “I love you, but I am not in love with you any more”. Maybe a co-worker is starting to look more appealing than they should.
Taking the stance that it is not supposed to be this way, leads to resistance and fighting. We can end up throwing blame, justifying bad behavior and feeling like a victim. Acceptance of what is and gratitude for the experience brings us peace. We are more able to focus on what is my part and what could I do to help make things better.
Expectations put the neediness in dreams. When I have a vision, hope or dream for my life, it can help pull me forward. When I get sidetracked with ideas like: I should already be there, what is wrong with me? My partner should be more attentive or less pushy, what is wrong with them? We should be seeing eye-to-eye, what is wrong with us? then I find more and more reasons to be dissatisfied. When I start adding the shoulds, I lose sight of my vision in the judgments and criticism.
We can become completely dissatisfied with our life if we keep telling our self that it is not supposed to be this way. We can start to focus too much on that feeling of lack and worry too much about what am I getting out of this relationship. The more we focus on what is lacking the less we feel love toward our partner. Those feelings of love can return when we turn our focus to loving our partner, rather than feeling unloved by them. Joseph Goldstein said, “You can’t stop the wave, but you can learn to surf.” Acceptance can allow us to learn to surf in our relationship, rising above the challenges and difficulties. Rather than feeling like we are drowning as the waves pummel us. Acceptance does not mean that there is no need for change. It does mean that there is no energy wasted on grumbling about how things are not as expected.
The greatest gift that you can offer yourself and your partner is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance. Offer it first to yourself and you will be better able to offer it to your partner.