Feel More In love in Your Relationship

 Hey there. 🙂

Would you agree that if something isn't so great or mediocre, most of you would want to do your best to improve it — especially in your relationship? It's normal that we typically like to ensure that our romantic relationships last and improve over time. 

Yet, I have a secret for you: even if you constantly improve your relationship, you might feel increasingly annoyed and less in love without practicing the necessary skills to manage your expectations within your relationship realistically. 

Manage Expectations by Changing Your Thoughts

How you think about your partner can significantly impact your relationship experience. And so it's essential to think about – and possibly change – your thought patterns about your partner. For instance, when you hit a low in the relationship, it's not uncommon for you to harbor negative, critical thoughts about your partner. 

You may think your partner's selfish or doesn't care about you. 

You may think your partner's got bored, or that they don't do things around the house.

Usually, your thought patterns about certain behaviors are the reason your relationship is suffering – and this is where managing expectations becomes necessary. The more you can change how you think about your relationship – from negative to positive – the greater the chances are that you and your partner will enjoy each other, and your connection will be stronger.

One way of managing expectations is by practicing the following two exercises. However, before you move on to the exercises, I want to emphasize that you've got to be realistic. 

For example, suppose you're having significant issues within your relationship. In that case, managing expectations won't do a darn thing(especially if you've tried like the dickens), and you may need to end the relationship or seek professional help to see if it's something you want to salvage. 

Stop Being Annoyed with Your Partner.

When your partner forgets to do something – like forgetting to take the trash out on their way to work (as was promised) – your brain automatically tries to understand why your partner didn't do what they said they would do.

Relationship researcher Eli J. Finkel says you can divide the brain's understanding of the above into two categories:

Inherent qualities/External qualities 

The Temporary/Stable category is how you perceive your partner's behavior from a time perspective.

If you think about your partner's behavior from a temporary perspective, you understand your partner's failure to take the trash out to be a coincidence.

If you consider your partner's behavior stable, you see it as typical for your partner; they always forget to take the trash out. 

The Inherent qualities/External qualities category is what you assign to the behavior.

Suppose your partner failed to take the trash out because, for instance, they get tunnel vision in the morning when so much has to be done. Then, the behavior is part of an inherent quality in your partner.

But if you think your partner left the trash behind because the fire alarm went off, and they had to get out quickly, it's about an external factor your partner couldn't control.

You see how the same behavior, thought about differently, can either increase annoyance or reduce it – pointing to how powerful changing your thoughts can be. 

How The Two Categories Work Together

You may discover many factors to the above example of forgetting to take the trash.

  • Temporary and Internal qualities: My partner left the trash behind because they're sick.
  • Stable and Internal qualities: My partner needs to pay more attention to what I want regarding housework.

The above examples show how your thoughts about a particular situation affect your mood and how managing expectations in your relationship isn't about lowering them but viewing your partner differently. 

The point isn't that your partner doesn't have annoying traits because let's be honest — we all do. However, using this exercise can be helpful if you are constantly annoyed by everything your partner does!

One thing to consider when using this exercise is that you'll likely never know why your partner behaves the way they do—and perhaps understanding why isn't desirable. For this reason, and for you both to feel good in your relationship, it can be helpful to give your partner the benefit of the doubt.

It is so, returning to the example of taking out the trash.

Rather than thinking that your partner didn't forget about the trash and didn't bother to take it out because they're selfish, you may feel that your partner had a lot to do in the morning and didn't have the time.

When you change your thoughts this way, you increase the happiness and durability of your relationship. 

Idealize Your Partner

One exciting and contradictory way of managing relationship expectations involves idealizing your partner. Relationship Researcher Sandra Murray found that those who idealized some of their partner's traits stood a better chance of creating a long-lasting relationship. Idealizing your partner's qualities has proven effective in any situation and positively affects how you perceive your partner's less attractive traits.

Suppose you idealize your partner's ability to always look after others. In that case, it may soften your thinking about your partner's less endearing qualities, like not remembering to flush the toilet. 

Another way of doing this exercise is by applying it to your partner's positive actions. By thinking of their positive aspects – like baking a cake for you on a Sunday – i.e., your partner is friendly and caring, their positive traits stand out more favorably to you, and you focus less on the not-so-favorable qualities. 

Take a minute and think about your partner:

What are their most attractive qualities?
What are some things your partner does that you appreciate?
What happens when you idealize one of these appreciative things they do?
How do you feel about your partner now?

The trick with this exercise is to be patient with yourself, keep at it, and notice positive shifts over time. 

Long-Lasting Love

When creating a long-lasting love relationship, the goal isn't to eliminate all annoyances. You're only human, and most relationships can withstand some minor conflict. However, working on things like managing expectations can be helpful if you want to make your relationship even better and feel less annoyed.

Thanks for reading; I hope you leave with insight and awareness on creating long-lasting love while eliminating and managing most of the expectations of daily life within your relationship. 

The next time you find yourself getting a bit heated over something your partner does that's less than desirable, take a moment to pause and see your partner in a different view. You may notice those good feelings of love butterflies instead of annoyance.

I'd love to hear from you by a comment or an email.

-Shannon Marie


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