What is the silent killer of all relationships? Is it communication? Finances? Sex? Lack of leadership?
All of these are symptoms of the real issue at hand. You see we all have expectations of how things “should” be and when things don’t go as we expect them to, then we are suddenly faced with a “problem”. However, the problem can be avoided if we simply got to the root cause. The root cause and the silent killer of all relationships is “unmet or unfulfilled expectations”. Having unmet expectations can be a deadly poison that will penetrate every fiber of your being. It can lead to anger, frustration, resentment, depression, anxiety and even the feeling of being a failure.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a female, male, young, old, single, married, employed or unemployed. Having unmet expectations is lethal to everyone. No one is immune.
Let me give you a couple of examples:
My husband is a firefighter and works 24 hour shifts. He may expect me to have breakfast ready, a hot cup of coffee and a squeaky clean home. The reality may be that he comes home to find that I hit the snooze button one too many times, I”m sporting bedhead, I forgot to buy coffee, the creamer is expired and the dishes are still in sink. Luckily this isn’t the case but if it was, he would eventually begin to feel frustrated, unappreciated and maybe even resentful.
Stephanie is a young woman who travels quite a bit for work. Her husband works from home and has more time on his hands. So on one of her week long trips, she asked him to please keep the house tidy and to do the laundry including the sheets and towels. When Stephanie returned a week later, the laundry had not been done and there was dirty clothes on the bathroom floor and a few dishes in the sink along with empty take out containers that had not been thrown in the trash. Needless to say, she was not a happy camper and was annoyed. When she confronted him, he said he didn’t have time because he was working on a very important project with a hard deadline.
She was about to let into him and let him know how he was taking her for granted but then realized that she had not effectively communicated what she needed from him and why that was important to her. You see the challenge here is that she had an expectation and when it wasn’t met, she felt unimportant and un-appreciated.
How many times have you assumed the worst in others because they didn’t do what you would do for them? This approach fails to consider that we are all different and have different ways of doing things.
Examples of unmet expectations:
- Perhaps you expect your partner, employee, friend or loved one to be more assertive
- Maybe you want them to earn more to meet your expectations
- Perhaps you expect help with housework, homework or other projects
- You want your partner or team to be more understanding and take action when needed
- You want your team to show up prepared
- You want more participation, enthusiasm or support from your family or team
“I expect nothing, I accept everything”
Some would say, don’t have any expectations at all. I don’t know that I’d go that far. I think healthy and realistic expectations that are communicated are good to have.
Tired of feeling frustrated and unfulfilled? Look for areas where you may be unconsciously projecting your un-communicated needs. Then set aside your unmet expectations and begin to have a conversation with whoever is involved about what your expectations are and why they are important to you. It’s equally important to have them share the same with you.
“Expectation is the mother of all frustration”
Whenever there is resentment, look for the unfulfilled or unmet expectation.
Dr. Aixa Goodrich