How often is this a cause for your fights?
Have you ever been on the receiving end of someone’s expectation that you didn’t meet? Has anyone ever been on the back of yours?
Picture this, you drop your children off at your ex’s house and start heading out for a coffee date. Next thing, your phone is ringing and you can see it is your ex. What now?
You pull over and pick up the phone to ensure nothing is wrong. Before you even say hello a barrage of abuse is being hurled down the phone at you. “Why didn’t you tell me you took the kids to the doctors? I have a right to know. I am their parent. You need to tell me this”.
You are flabbergasted. It was a general check up. Nothing was wrong and you have done the same thing for the last 5 years before they start school.
Why is it all of a sudden a problem?
Ask yourself – has expectations ever caused a problem in your relationship?
Before you say no, stop and think because I can guarantee that it has happened. Anything from not unstacking the dishwasher, taking clothes off the line, taking the garbage out. These are jobs that need doing. Rarely do you ask the other person to do it. You just expect that they will see that the jobs needs doing and will do it.
But guess what? Sometimes the other person does not see it that way at all! At the start of a relationship or in an emotionally healthy relationship, we can overcome this hurdle. Yet if our relationship is not off to the best of starts and there are already holes, these expectations can make a small hole into a giant crater.
You see, expectations from a co-parenting perspective are even harder, especially if the two of you still lack trust and goodwill. Simple things like texting if you are running late. This may be expected by one but not the other. One of you may expect a phone call if your child is sick, but the other trusts that you know what you are doing, so it is ok just to be told at the changeover.
Then what happens when new partners enter the scene.
- What are the expectations there?
- Who do you tell first?
- How do you tell the children?
- What involvement will they have in their children’s life?
Expectations are enormous
And often misunderstood. Because expectations are our own. They don’t belong to anyone else except us. For the most part, they are never communicated. We just “expect” that the other person knows, and when they get it wrong, we are quick to blame and accuse the other parent of whatever it is they did or didn’t do.
Flip that, though. If you are on the receiving end, do you think it is fair? Should you be accountable to an expectation that isn’t communicated or agreed upon?
Sometimes, it can be hard to see our own bias when we feel let down time and time again. But we are only setting ourselves up for failure if the all we are doing is constantly expecting and not communicating.
If you are ready to change how you are showing up you can get my free guide here.