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Great expectations


We all bring certain expectations into a relationship. It does not matter if it is a friend, a significant other or a family member, you have expectations of these people, even if just subconsciously.

One of the most common mistakes made in relationships, though, and one of the quickest ways to cause tension, is expecting one person to be our everything. Now, this can happen in any relationship, but it happens most often with romantic relationships. So that will be my focus here.

You may be thinking, “But aren’t you always writing that women need to have expectations of the men in our lives? Aren’t you contradicting yourself?”

To which I would respond, yes, you absolutely need to have expectations…and accountability. However, expecting the man in your life to treat you with respect and show you he cares for you is not the same as expecting him to fulfill your every need.

And you are thinking, “WHAT?!?” So I will quickly explain what I mean by that statement. Every person, I do not care who you are, has a variety of needs. Some of those needs are basic: food, shelter, clothing—we learned this in elementary school. But I’m not talking about our basic needs; I’m talking about our emotional needs.

According to Dr. Harley (author of His Needs/Her Needs), there are ten common emotional needs among couples. These are: affection, sexual fulfillment, financial support, domestic support, conversation, recreational companionship, physical attractiveness, honesty, family commitment and appreciation.

For most women, not all, the greatest needs are affection, commitment, honesty, conversation, companionship and appreciation. Men, if there are any of you reading this, don’t scoff. You have emotional needs too. However, for most of you, again not all, the needs on which you place greater significance tend to be those women would list last in level of importance.

“Well isn’t that just perfect,” you might be thinking. To which I’d respond, it is definitely not perfect but certainly explains a lot. If asked to list the above needs in order of importance, every person, male or female, would have their own unique order. There is no right or wrong order—there is simply your order. Try it with a friend, or with your significant other. I am willing to bet your lists would be different. And within that difference lies the importance.

Ladies, think about it. How many times have you wanted to “just talk” to your man and he didn’t seem particularly excited about it? At least once I’d imagine. That is because “just talking” is not extremely high on his needs list. Then, you call your best friend and vent your frustration, the two of you able to “just talk” for an hour or more. Your need has been met by the way, but not by your man—by your friend. And that is alright. That is why we have friends. That is why we have family and other support systems. Because your guy should not be expected to fulfill each of your needs all by himself. And your man should not expect you to fulfill each of his needs by yourself.

Now, I am not saying that it is acceptable for your significant other to disregard your needs. If you place a great deal of importance on “just talking,” then because it is important to you, it should be important to him as well. He should make an effort to have conversations with you. But you, recognizing that it is not something he loves to do, should not expect him to chat for several hours each day. There needs to be a balance.

I would also like to state, for those whose minds went there, that I do not advocate going elsewhere if your sexual needs are not being met, nor do I encourage you to stay with someone who uses that as an argument for cheating. There are certain needs, such as sexual fulfillment, which should be met only by your significant other if you are in a committed relationship unless both parties have agreed otherwise.

You do not need to divvy up each of your needs among all the people in your life, but you should understand that no one person will ever be able to meet all of your needs alone. If you expect your significant other to do so, I guarantee your relationship will be a rocky one.


  • Pink Lemonade 5 years ago

    Very insightful and brutally honest!! Great to hear from you!!

  • tt 5 years ago

    good article

  • Blowfish 5 years ago

    Hi there. Long time reader, first time commenter. I really enjoy your articles, and am anxiously waiting for the next one. If you are looking for topics here are some things I would love to hear your suggestions on: text messages: do they have a place in a relationship? Or: How to manage dual personalities of your significant other. Or: How long should I wait before getting "intimate"? Is it ever ok to have pictures of your ex on your night stand? At what point, in a relationship, should I change my Facebook status?

    Thank you so much for your incredible insight and entertaining columns.

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