One of the most important elements to a successful long-term relationship is having similar relationship objectives. These are your core wants and needs – your relationship goals and couple vision. If you’re on the same page, then you can push forward as a team. But what happens when these expectations are mismatched?
Huge issues can arise between you and your new partner if you don’t have the same relationship expectations. For instance, you might be looking for a serious relationship and they’re not. You believe in getting engaged and being married and they don’t. You want kids and they have no interest in this.
You’re keen on a joint bank account and sharing funds, and they want to keep everything separate. You want monogamy and they like the idea of an open relationship. You’re totally against the idea of cheating and they see it as being less of a problem. You want to lead a fit and healthy lifestyle and they like to party hard. You have a strong faith and they’re not spiritual at all.
As you can see, these expectations are related to big ticket items. This is not about whether you like rugby or league, Indian food or Italian, or travelling to Bali or Fiji. It’s about very important issues for you in a relationship that will determine how you move forward with them.
So what do you do when you have a mismatch of relationship expectations?
Well you first need to decide exactly what your deal-breakers are. You must get clear on what you can and can’t compromise on. Some expectations you may be able to adjust, while others are absolutely set in stone.
Once you become clear on this, then you talk with your new partner and see where they stand. If they’re not prepared to come on board with your non-negotiables then you’re best to move forward without them (e.g. you want marriage and they don’t believe in it). However, if you can both come to an agreement with your objectives, then push forward and start ticking off your goals.
John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship psychologist, as seen on the hit show Married At First Sight, and on Ch 9’s Today show, Today Extra and A Current Affair. He is a best selling author, regularly appears on radio and in magazines, runs a private practice in Sydney, and is a sought after speaker. (www.johnaiken.com.au)