Many of the couples who come for therapy are fed up with their relationship as it is and are majorly frustrated with their partner. Often they are frustrated due to the relationship is not what they thought it would be.
Expectations play a large role in overall relationship satisfaction. Frustrated couples will often lash out with one another and bring up things from the past that hurt them ie ‘You forgot our anniversary or ‘You weren’t there for me when I needed you.’ Continuous frustration in the relationship can lead to attachment injuries and can cause resentment and ultimately lead to an unhappy relationship.
Here are some practical tips to help you reduce frustration towards your partner.
It would be most helpful to inform your partner of any expectations that you have, before disappointments. If you want them to text you more often, or take you on more dates, tell them why it is important to you. Please do not hold this information back and expect them to know what you are feeling, that is not fair. Be honest, and confident in your ability to ask for what you want.
2. Manage your expectations
Beyond the basic things that are necessary for a happy relationship, decide what’s important to you and let go of some frivolous things. You can also put your expectations in line. Are they realistic? Are you trying to put a square peg in a round hole? Remember that your happiness is directly related to your level of expectations.
3. Show you Appreciate Them
Be grateful for everything that your partner does for you, from the seemingly small to the big gestures. Appreciate your similarities and differences, and your gratitude will help you unlock a whole new level of love, passion, and satisfaction in your relationship.
4. Don’t keep score
Keeping a mental scorecard of what your partner does or doesn’t do based on your expectations will only cause hurt and frustration. Kill your mental scorecard and remember that if they aren’t aware of your expectations, they can’t possibly live up to them.
5. Practice Radical Acceptance
Acceptance is key. Love your partner for who they are, not who you imagine them to be. Accepting your partner’s differences and peculiarities, makes them feel safe and respected. Judgment, however, causes them to feel blamed and become defensive.
6. Work to Understand your partner
Understanding your partner’s personality and motivations could help you be less frustrated when they don’t meet expectations. For example, if they hate sports they’re probably not going to take the initiative to buy you tickets to see your favorite team play unless you’ve told them how important it is to you. Rather than keeping score, aim to understand your partner’s way of seeing the world.
7. Be in Control.. of YOU
Controlling your emotions and responses when your expectations aren’t met can be the difference between a happy lasting relationship and an unhappy one that’s bound to end. This means you need to take out time to settle and soothe yourself before talking to your partner about the things that upset you.
Decide what expectations are important to you, and communicate them to your partner properly. If you are able to accept and appreciate your differences, then you still have a shot at having a loving and fulfilling relationship.
We can help you resolve frustration and anger in your marriage or relationship. If you would like marriage counseling or relationship counseling, please contact us.