Going with the Flow

Going with the FlowSome relationships begin with each person having a mental list (sometimes a paper list) of expectations from the other person.  The list could be titled "What I Have To Get From This Relationship In Order To Be Happy With This Person". Other people express few or no expectations. Chances are, neither person is getting what they really want.

The person with the long list will be disappointed more times than not as they discover that the other person is not perfect. They may also discover that the intensity of feelings is not the same. For instance, they may both like going to concerts, but one may be way excited and the other lukewarm. This can cause real friction if the person with the list also expected the same level of enthusiasm.

The person with no expectations and the thought that they'll be OK with whatever happens eventually gets frustrated because their needs aren't being met. They will feel like they always have to compromise. Their lack of a list is working against them.

Recognizing that we have both have needs and expectations is important. Communicating them to each other is critical to the health of the relationship. It takes both people to navigate through these lists so that each person feels they are giving and receiving equally.

Need - I've got to have this

Needs are the deal breakers. They are the things that, if not gotten from a relationship, a person will become frustrated, angry and end the relationship, or seek it elsewhere in an affair. A person may need some privacy and get frustrated with a clingy partner. They may need to feel that their opinion matters, but their love interest won't take time to listen to them.

When needs are not met, the person may not feel safe or loved. Needs are at the core of our being. They are the things that we look for above all other things. Our needs are the deeply held requirements that must be met for a healthy relationship.

Want and Desire - I would really like to have this

Our wants are the experiences that we know will make us happy, smile or just feel good. This is usually a long list of things, because if we don't actually experience each one, no harm.  Life goes on and you'll experience something else. You may really love concerts and want to find someone to go with you.  You may love hiking in the mountains. Life doesn't end if these things don't happen.

Expectations and Confusion

Frustration happens when we confuse wants and needs. Needs have to be met, plain and simple. No negotiation. Without that, the relationship is over. If we begin to include our wants onto our needs list, we have a problem.

If you "need" to have someone go to a concert with you in order for you to be happy, you will be seeking for this for a long time. Finding someone who can fulfill this kind of need all of the time is daunting. If your list of expectations contains many of these kinds of needs, you'll be searching through the online dating sites forever.

Likewise, if you have placed your needs on a "want" list, you'll also be frustrated. This is equating your desire to be respected with the desire to go to a concert. You'll get frustrated as your needs are not met because you've not prioritized them over your needs. Understand and respect your own needs.

Communication is Key (Again)

Like so many challenges we face in relationships, communication is the primary tool we have to connect with our partners. Discuss the wants and needs with your partner. Make sure you both understand what each of you needs and wants from the relationship. This is not a first date topic, but it should certainly happen when you've agreed that it looks to be a long-term thing.

When you both understand each other's expectations, then the dance begins where both people try to creatively meet those expectations. When two people love each other, they will both want the other to be as happy as possible in the relationship. Knowing the wants and needs of our partner is the first step to knowing what part we can play in fulfilling them.

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