When I think about my relationship, I sometimes think of all the things I was not prepared for. I think of all the things that I did not learn in school. I was prepared for the fairy tale and the idea of prince charming to sweep me off my feet and live happily ever after. Well that kind of happened and then I came back to reality and realized that we have a ways to go before its happily ever after. The biggest thing I missed was that I would have to change my expectations of how a relationship works.
As a counselor this is one of those things I teach clients all the time. Sometimes our expectations are unreasonable (like expecting our boyfriends to ALWAYS put gas in our cars, even though we get home hours after they do). Most times our expectations are completely different from what our significant others expectations are. Sometimes our expectations change over time without us even realizing it. This happens because hopefully we were not raised in the same family and have different backgrounds and different worlds. We have different understanding of how to survive in the world and neither is better or worse; just different. The trouble begins as soon as you attempt to cross those different worlds.
This is a struggle for me. See I am the type of person who has always been able to achieve what they want, when they want, where they want, etc. etc. etc. But when you add another person in the mix the timeline gets weird and kind of funky. You are no longer achieving for yourself but for and with another person. Sometimes that other person wants completely different things. Sometimes that person does not understand what you want. Sometimes you don’t even know what you want.
What I normally would tell a couple is to first sit down and figure out what you both want. Together examine if those things are achievable within the relationship. See if any of those things are completely irrational. Trim fat where necessary and then plan to execute. This of course is much easier said than done because in this equation someone may have to give up something, hopefully both people will come out feeling like winners.
For me, I have to learn to be less selfish and realize there is no I in team. Its okay to give up some of the things that I expected, and hopefully in turn my significant other will do the same. There you have it, another delightful struggle of being an adult.