The space that exists between our expectations for our partner and reality are a main cause for frustration in relationships. But instead of being repeatedly angered by our partners inability to rise to our high expectations, we should instead learn to expect that our partners will continue to do what they have always done (reality). For example, if you know your partner is always late it is unrealistic to expect that they will begin to be more prompt over time. Instead, YOU need to change your perspective and expect that they will always be late and decide how you would like to alter your own behavior to accommodate their tardiness. Some ways this can be achieved are by telling them the start time of whatever event you are going to is a bit sooner than it actually is, or planning to meet them there instead of waiting for them. By changing your behavior instead of expecting them to change theirs you will prevent resentment from building over time.
Remember that once upon a time you fell for the person you are with with, flaws and all. These differences are what keep your partnership exciting because they are the challenges you will both face together each and every day. Instead of seeing them as negative traits, learn to adjust your perspective and remember that you have failings as well. No one is perfect, and that is a good thing! So shift the focus from fixing your partner to changing your own behaviors to accommodate the differences between the two of you, and you will both be happier for it.
This Topic of the Week was brought to you by Danielle Adinolfi, MFT