I’ve noticed that when I work with young couple in the process of deciding whether to get married or newly married, their struggles often center around the disappointments they feel about their partners. It’s not that feeling disappointed is unique to younger relationships, but the idea that even the ‘right’ relationship can be disappointing, if often a surprise to couples. There is a myth that the ‘right’ relationship will go smoothly; conversely, only ‘bad’ relationships are hard work.
I often get asked questions like, “How do I know if I’m expecting too much from my partner? Am I feeling too disappointed for this to be the right relationship?” It can be hard to tease out whether you’re in the wrong relationship or your expectations are such that frequent or intense disappointments are inevitable. One thing that I ask individuals I work with about is their relationship history to get a clearer picture of the individual patterns that are brought into the relationship. For example, someone who has had satisfying relationships with family members, friends and past partners, and is struggling in the current relationship, might reasonably assume that the problem is with the current relationship. On the other hand, if an individual looks at past relationships and finds a pattern where relationships don’t go well, and feel that others let them down, they might want to investigate some of their own feelings about their expectations of others. Mixed in with all of th
is, just to make it more complicated is the myth that someone else can make us happy. The truth is that someone else can add to our happiness, but we are all responsible for making ourselves happy.
We can all learn important information about ourselves and out expectations of others by identifying patterns about how we relate to others, because we are the consistent thread that runs through all of our relationships.
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