Expectations In Relationships
Relationship Expectations & Makin' It Last
Dear April Masini,
It seems that my relationship start out great and then all of a sudden, after about a month or two they just fizzle out. I don’t know if it’s because the attraction wears off or if we’re just not compatible or if we’re just looking for different things. How can I make a relationship last?"
Signed, Makin' It Last
April Masini's Advice :
Expectations of a relationship are one of the most important ingredients to a relationship's longevity and success. When singles get together they are initially attracted by chemistry, lust, the way a person looks or some other reason that draws two people to each other. First dates and butterflies in one's stomach when you see or hear from someone you have a crush on, are not just love, they are a chemical reaction. Love releases chemicals in our body and draws us to each other.
But once the initial lust or chemistry wears off -- and it does wear off the same way you build up a resistance to other more obvious "drugs" after a while -- what you are left with is another person that you either respect or don't respect; another person who likes to do the same things you do or who could care less as long as there’s sex; another person who wants the same things you do in and out of bed, or one who doesn't. The similarities you have in common at this point are what keep the relationship together for a "long term," or release it.
This is when adrenaline junkies or relationship addicts, who need that jolt of new-ness or new lust, will pick up and look somewhere else for their “hit”. While a break up is painful, it's merely a result of two people with different needs and expectations of the relationship. But there doesn’t have to be a break up. This is also a time when those who are well matched, will settle into a new phase in the relationship.
Making the relationship work now is dependent on creating building blocks out of what you both like to do – in other words, creating a life together. It may entail going to the movies every Saturday night -- but leaving the action adventure movies for him to see with his buddies or alone. It may entail you going to the gym while he plays football with his buddies and meeting up for shopping at the mall together. Not everything has to be done together all the time -- but if you can establish a way of getting both your needs met -- yours, his, and the relationships' needs -- then you're well on the road to happiness as part of a couple.
The next relationship hurdle is long-term relationship expectations. You can have a great relationship that goes "long term" (six months or more), but expectations for marriage and family will become another hurdle. If both people are happy in a long-term relationship without marriage, and they both want that, then they continue along the way they have been with the possibilities of living together, having children together, and whether they will be a one or two income family, still before them. But if one person wants to marry, and the other one doesn't, the relationship will hit rocky roads.
Likewise, within a marriage, children are a hurdle -- whether or not to have them, how to raise them, how many to have, and how to run the household. Other obstacles pop up like infertility, in law involvement, family health crises, etc. What keeps a couple together or cleaves them apart are their values and expectations of the other person.
Clearly, scoping out a potential date or mate’s expectations and values early – if possible – will save you both time. But sometimes expectations change -- even after a decade or more – tragedies like September 11, births, marriages and deaths can all shake up your idea of what life is supposed to be, and you change course. This can send the relationship shaking and quaking, but that’s what makes life dynamic.
Find out what your guy or gal wants for life early on. If you’ve met your date online, ask specific questions before you even meet. If you’ve met in person, don’t grill them FBI style. But do use your feminine wiles to find out what he wants from life, and what he expects from himself, from you, and from a relationship.
And more importantly, stay self aware, and know what you want from yourself, from a date or mate, and from a long-term relationship.