Whether you’re single or dating, you most times use “expectations” and “standards” interchangeably when it comes to communicating what you want out of that relationship.
Do they mean the same thing? The answer is no!
An expectation is a very strong belief you have about the proper way the other person should behave. E.g., You expect them to be there for you, you expect them to communicate regularly, etc.
Standards, on the other hand, can be a level of quality or an achievement that you see as acceptable and normal. For instance, it is expected that whoever you’re with has certain characteristics or standards that appeal to you and may include qualities like being trustworthy, honest, a believer, and so on.
Understand that these two things should be communicated at different stages, especially during the dating phase.
You use standards to set a bar for who qualifies as a potential partner, while expectations are what you demand of someone once you are together.
Note that you can control whether someone meets your standards or not, but you have limited control over whether someone fulfils your expectations. This will require patience and communication.
Do you have standards and expectations you consider “too high?”
So do the following:
1. Clarify what you really want in a partner and filter people as you meet them instead of forcing people to become the way you want. People have different beliefs and values hence you need to determine what you want and relate with people through this lens.
2. Communicate your expectations when you are in a relationship instead of fighting over what you want. There are some modes of approach that can become toxic when you don’t handle it well.
3. Be patient with your partner when they are not adjusting well because it can be a new terrain or attitude for them, but it is always better to allow people to be their real self so that it does not lead to resentment or bitterness.
4. Work on yourself and be sure that you are not having unrealistic expectations in your mind about how people should behave. It’s important to confront where you learnt certain things from so that the respect in your relationship can be mutual.
5. Teach your spouse certain aspect of your love language so that they can understand how you want to be loved. Give examples and clues that they can learn from and show gratitude when you notice signs of growth in the process.