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What is a realistic expectation in a relationship? Relationships are full of ups and downs and sometimes we are expecting from our partners more than they can give us. That is why it is necessary to study the topic of relationship expectations in detail. Whether you have just started to build a rapport or you have been building close bonds for a long time, you will need to distinguish between reasonable and unrealistic relationship expectations. So, if you want to avoid emotional distress from disappointments in your love affairs, keep reading this article to the very end. 

How Do You Set Expectations in a Relationship?

Based on the relevant statistics, most daters don’t feel like their relationships are going well. That is mostly because of unmet needs they experience during the process of building close bonds. Some people don’t build any relationship expectations towards their partners in order not to be let down in the long run. However, this is the biggest mistake in creating love affairs. 

Believe it or not, if you want to develop healthy bonds, you will need to correctly distinguish girlfriend and boyfriend relationship expectations. Thus, you will better understand how to behave in a particular situation, avoid conflicts and find a compromise with your partner. Once you have a plan for your relationship development, it will be much easier for you to make the most out of your romantic experience. 

But how to set healthy relationship expectations? Here everything depends on you and your partner. You may create a list of rules or just have an insightful conversation with your significant other when you outline your preferences and needs. The main thing here is to find a consensus and agree on the same point. 

relationship expectations list

What Are the 5 Most Important Things in a Relationship?

Before proceeding with the topic of relationship expectations vs reality it is good to determine the crucial aspects that build the ground for strong love affairs. Here are the top 5 things that identify that your bonds have the future. 

  1. You have strong chemistry. To determine this fact, you will need to discover 10 signs of chemistry between partners. This will help you understand whether you have met the best match. 
  2. All your arguments end up with compromises. Even if you experience arguments (and this may happen pretty frequently), you will always demonstrate enough understanding to smoothen it up and develop your bonds in the right direction. 
  3. You show care. If you care about your partner and achieve the same in return, feel free to create a relationship expectations list since your bonds will certainly have a future. 
  4. You motivate your partner to be better and vice versa. One of the cornerstones of a successful connection between people is to get an additional dose of motivation from your partner and share your inspiration as well. 
  5. You have the same relationship goals. There is nothing better when both partners look in the same direction. So, make sure your significant other has the same intentions as you.    

What are Reasonable Expectations in a Relationship?

The top realistic relationship expectations listed below will allow you to assess the state of affairs in your couple and provide the necessary guidelines for insightful discussion. Therefore, you can better understand whether your partner fulfills your needs and answer the question “Are my relationship expectations too high?”

Mutual trust 

If you practice empathy between each other and do your best to deliver the best experiences and feelings to your partner, you will create a trustworthy environment in your relationships over time. Learn how to be a better partner for your significant other and avoid creating questionable situations when the trust of your partner can be seriously shaken. It goes without saying that there are no excuses for cheating and betrayal in healthy and close bonds. 


It is advisable to discuss the level of commitment in your couple to avoid future disappointments and burnout. Imagine the situation when one partner considers that they contribute more in relationships than they get in return. This is the first step to misunderstanding. That is why both partners should be equally involved in relationships. This is what makes them feel like a part of a team and promotes a higher level of trust between each other.

realistic relationship expectations

Affection and appreciation 

Unless you are building sugar daddy relationship expectations, you will need to discuss the way you will express your love and affection. Do you both prefer words of admiration or tight hugs and kisses? Are you going to express your feelings in public? How will you show respect to your partner? Discuss the affection signs with your partner and set the expectations related to demonstrating your love. 


Intimate life is one of the major parts of relationships and you will need to discuss it in the tiniest detail. On top of that, both partners should preserve the sexual connection and bring an additional dose of vibrancy to their intimacy. Even if you are going to discuss dom/sub relationship expectations, it is necessary to devote special attention to sex. Try to combat all the possible limitations and obstacles and enjoy your intimate life to the fullest.  

Mutual understanding, respect, and compromise

These are probably the most essential long-term relationship expectations. Both partners should be flexible enough to seek compromise no matter how tough the life situation is. Once you prioritize your love, you will certainly respect your partner and avoid possible arguments. Also, it is advisable to withhold criticism and judgment and demonstrate a special interest in the values and beliefs of your partner. 

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Unrealistic Relationship Expectations

Unhealthy relationship expectations may promote limitations of personal space and freedom of both partners. Aside from spoiling love affairs, unrealistic expectations may destroy the mindsets of both partners which may result in insecure connections. If you or your significant other experiences one of these needs, you will need to work on them and switch to more realistic expectations to give your relationship a chance. 

No yelling bounds 

While constant fighting between partners isn’t acceptable, some couples want to avoid arguments at all. These are quite strange expectations since productive discussions between partners may result in tightening the connections and positive alterations in relationships. Granted, all partners experience negative emotions towards each other. So, it is quite unwise to avoid conflicts since the offenses may accumulate and explode like a bomb. 

Mind reading

Suffice it to say, people can’t read each other’s thoughts. So, if you expect your partner knows what you want for sure, you might be wrong. Try to learn how to share your feelings and emotions to guide your partner to your needs. It is always better to have a productive conversation rather than expect something impossible from your lover. 

No relationships with people of the opposite sex

It is quite unwise to ask your partner to end all kinds of relationships with people of the opposite gender. If you dare to introduce such relationship expectations to your significant other, most likely, they will experience resentment. However, if such thoughts pop up in your mind, consider working with your fears and finding the reasons why you don’t want your partner to communicate with the opposite sex. 

Spend all your free time together

Even if you have new relationship expectations to spend all your free time together, you may break the boundaries of your partner in such a way. However, if you want to share your leisure time with your sweetheart, it is still advisable to balance your personal interests and time opportunities. Thus, you will have more quality time and increase your excitement. 

Spend all your free time together pic

Regular sex

Numerous aspects affect the frequency of sexual intercourse. Starting with decreased libido and ending with a lack of sexual activity in relationships — you can’t predict how many times you are going to have sex per week. Moreover, you can’t force your partner to have intimacy when they aren’t in the mood. Suffice it to say, not all couples have sex regularly, especially if they are engaged in a long-lasting commitment. That is why constructive discussion about your intimate life will work best in such a way. 

Final Word

Depending on the couple and certain relationships, people might have different expectations towards their partners. That is where it is useful to determine whether your needs are realistic or unhealthy. The former usually promotes a higher level of satisfaction from love affairs in both partners. The latter typically destroys the chemistry between people. If you feel like you have unrealistic expectations, you will need to analyze your bonds to the tiniest detail. Work on your desires to live a happy life with your significant other.  

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Dennis Farley

Dennis Farley began his career as a dating coach after earning his degree in Pshycology from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He quickly realized that many people struggled with dating and relationships, and that there was a need for clear, practical advice that could help people find love and happiness.

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