Sunday, November 30, 2014

Relationship Expectations and Satisfaction

I want to have the relationship that I dreamed of.  I feel that I get about half of what I want and need out of the relationship I have been in for the last seven years.  How can I have more of what I dreamt I would have in a relationship?

I want to talk to you today a little bit about expectation and satisfaction.  I recently read the art of choosing, which is field with interesting studies about why we choose what we choose and can we make better choices.

And one of the studies that they ran had to do with choosing a partner and what they did was they analysed people that had arranged marriages.  Their families had arranged the marriage for them based on whether they thought that the person was a good match for them in a community way, in a family way, in a socio-economic way and measured the results of their happiness over time.  And these are people that met usually a day or two or few weeks before they married.  And they measured the satisfaction of these couples against people who had a love marriage like you or I who are free to choose who we went to, have and develop a love experience and a commitment and possibly a marriage.

The study was done of these couples over time and the satisfaction they had over time.  And at the end of a 10-year period the measurement was that the people that had a love relationship, who had really sought out their partner and had met each other at that moment of matrimony in love.  Over a 10-year period they had less satisfaction, whereas the couples that had an arranged marriage over time at the 10-year point had developed more satisfaction.

Why is that?

It is because they discover that the arranged couples had no expectation. Where the love couples had enormous expectation of what their lovelife be like, of what their partnership would look like all the years down the road.

Moral of the story in the study is sometimes our expectations get in the way of our satisfaction and it’s not to say that you should not dream, that you shouldn’t have very good standards, high standards for relationship.  I want to encourage you to acknowledge your expectations and see if they really match the partnership, not your idea of someone, not your idea of yourself but who you really are and see what if that can bring you the sense of greater satisfaction in the moment in this relationship with this person.  It doesn’t mean that you can’t grow, you can’t evolve, you can’t develop but you have to be aware that your expectations can be limiting your satisfaction.

And so, sometimes when you adjust your expectations to who you are and who your partner is and you acknowledge what is possible within this realm then the expectations become more truly meet.  Experience the dream of now, the reality of now.  Feel it as rich as it is actually is.

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