Managing Needs And Expectations In Relationships

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Counselling Psychologist - M.Sc. Clinical Psychology

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Reviewed By:

Counselling Psychologist - Ph.D. Relationship Psychology

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Expectations are often responsible for stealing away the joys of the present. What do you expect from your partner? flowers? dates? spending time together? But what about your needs? Maybe safety and security? We all have our own needs and expectations from our significant others, and there are chances that those needs and expectations might not match with or be fulfilled by the significant other.

Needs and expectations often become points of conflict in relationships, mostly due to them not being fulfilled. Letting go of all expectations and needs, however, is not the right step. Having expectations and fulfilling them is a sign of love and nurturing your partner s needs shows maturity in a relationship. If you face issues around your needs and expectations or that of your partners, then here are some steps you can take to manage them better. 

Ways To Manage Needs And Expectations

  • Realistic ideas- it s very easy to get influenced by movies, media, and books which portray an idea of a ‘perfect’ conflict-free relationship. Those look good on paper and on screens, they are neither realistic nor possible to recreate in real life. Relationships come with love and respect with a side note of conflicts and other not-so-beautiful aspects, which aren t necessarily bad. They often allow for the growth and maturation of the relationship.
  • Being better- or putting in effort. Relationships should be easy flowing but that does not mean they are easy. They come with their own set of challenges that people fight through. Putting in effort for your partner and receiving them back is an essential aspect of any relationship and should be practiced. Do not tell them they deserve better, be better for them!
  • Communicate- open communication is absolutely essential for not just managing expectations but for the success of the relationship in general. You won t be able to work towards anything if you do not know the goal you are working towards. 
  • Respecting each other- this comes with voicing one s needs and expectations and also respecting them. Allow for a nonjudgemental space for your partner to share everything and respect what they say. Respect and acceptance do not equal agreement, so even if you dont agree with your partner, you can still respect it and discuss it further. 
  • Making compromises- compromises, and settling on a middle ground are essential to a long and healthy relationship.   
  • Trying to reach a mutual solution- if you fail to comply with your partner s need or vice versa, try to reach a mutual conclusion that favours both of you. This would show that the relationship is balanced.

What Happens If You Don’t Manage Your Needs And Expectations?

Going along with your unmanaged needs and expectations might ultimately lead to everything going against those same issues. While you want a happy conflict-free relationship, not managing your expectations might lead to the exact opposite, putting you and your partner in a place of constant conflicts due to unmet needs. Constantly expecting better from your partner might steal away the present joy and love that they have for you.  Having unrealistic expectations and not prioritizing your partner s opinion at all would leave them in a very vulnerable and helpless position which would benefit neither of you. These expectations would set you up for disappointment. A relationship should not end in a competition between you and your partner. 

Another healthy way of managing relationships would be to not compare them with others, be it other genuine relationships, the ones shown in movies or books. Your relationship is a sacred bond between you and your partner which should be maintained between the both of you. It carries your subjective needs and wants and does not require comparison with other relationships. Patience is also the key to a healthy lasting bond. Giving time to your partner serves an equally important purpose. It won t make sense if you expect your partner to be better and not give them any time to do that. 

If you and your partner simply cannot work through your conflicts, then seeking help from a professional may be beneficial. Therapy and couples therapy is a good way to navigate through tough times that you may be unable to deal with. It provides a safe and comfortable space for you and your partner to share your concerns and deal with them effectively

Ms. Priyanka Walia
Ms. Priyanka Walia M.A. Counselling Psychology Counselling Psychologist 05 years of experience

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Ms. Muskan Maheshwari
Ms. Muskan Maheshwari M.Sc. Clinical Psychology Clinical Psychologist 02 years of experience

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Mr. Nishant Sharma
Mr. Nishant Sharma M.Phil. Clinical Psychology Clinical Psychologist 07 years of experience

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Ms. Akshita Bakshi
Ms. Akshita Bakshi Ph.D. Relationship Psychology Counselling Psychologist 05 years of experience

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