Relationships have changed over time. In the past, people married primarily for money and babies. Women took care of the children, while the men worked and financially supported them. Nowadays, it is fair to say that we expect much more. But we also need to keep in mind that times have changed as well. It is not easy to support a family on one income anymore, so in most marriages, both spouses work. Both spouses are expected to tend to each other’s needs. They are both expected to share in the housework and child care. They are both expected to be each other’s best friend and confidante, sharing everything together.
Everyone expects so much from their partner nowadays, and unsurprisingly, it is leading to divorce. Instead of relying on multiple people to fulfill their needs, people are expecting their spouses to be their everything. But as you can see, it can get tiring very quickly. There are only so many hours in the day, and it is practically impossible.
Nobody is perfect. If you are looking for a man or woman who fits every single one of your needs, you are going to be disappointed. It is fine to have reasonable expectations and it is fine to have complaints. Some of them are valid. For example, if your spouse stays at home all day and neglects the children, that is a valid complaint. If your spouse goes to work, but parties afterward and always comes home after midnight, that is another valid complaint.
But many of us take the issue of soulmates way too far. Here are some ways in which we rely on our partner too much and cause strain in the marriage.
Treating Our Spouse as a “Missing Piece”
Your spouse is not a puzzle; they are a human being and should be treated as such. However, many people have certain things that they long for from a spouse and expect this person to complete them. We expect one person to meet all our criteria and feel disappointed when they do not.
A lot of these expectations have to do with a previous relationship and do not reflect the current one. And since we tend to recreate the past with our relationship patterns, chances are we are likely to form relationships with those who are unable to meet all our criteria. So finding the missing piece never happens.
Forgetting Our Spouse’s Autonomy
When we first meet someone, we are excited to know that person better. We are curious about who they are as an individual. But as time progresses and we become more and more comfortable with them, we may see them more as an extension of us. We develop a fantasy bond and see that person as more of a part of a couple rather than a singular person. So instead of “you” and “me,” it becomes “we.”
In this type of relationship, we sacrifice parts of ourselves and ask our partners to do the same. But once we do this, the relationship becomes less exciting. Resentment builds up and our partner becomes less attractive to us.
Shrinking Your World
Once we develop this fantasy world with our partner, we start shrinking our world, so to speak. We impose restrictions on the person. We expect them to give up certain things for us. We demand their attention to make us feel more secure and all this does is narrow our world.
Instead, we should be expanding our world. We should be allowing our partner to be more independent. This in turn makes the relationship livelier and healthier.
Expecting Your Partner to be a Mind Reader
This is a common expectation often exacerbated by the media. Movies and books tell us that if our partner really loved us, they would know what we are thinking. We would not have to tell them when we are upset or sad and they would instinctively know what to do.
This mind-reading game pops up in various forms. After all, we should not have to tell our spouses what we want for Christmas; they should already know. We expect to spend time with them this weekend, but we do not tell them that, so they make other plans. Of course, this leaves us disappointed.
The truth is that nobody can read minds. Your spouse may be able to see clues about what you want and how you are feeling in certain circumstances, but they cannot truly understand how you feel unless you tell them. You need to be able to freely express your feelings, wants, and desires without the fear of being vulnerable. You should also encourage your partner to do the same. That’s what a relationship is all about.
Treating Your Partner as a Caretaker
Your partner is not your parent. Sure, they may care about you all the time. While you should expect some degree of extra care and nurture (such as when you are sick or injured), you cannot expect them to take care of all your needs 24/7. It is assumed that you are an adult and can care for yourself.
Your partner can only do so much for your well-being. Your relationship will be much better when there is an equal amount of give and take between two adults.
Seek Legal Help
Many people who are in marriages expect their spouse to be their everything. While it is normal to have some expectations of your partner, you will wind up being disappointed if you overdo it.
If you have been let down by your marriage, Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can help you divorce with ease. We understand how stressful things can be and we will help you work through it. Fill out the online form or call (954) 398-5712 to schedule a consultation today.