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4 unrealistic expectations that can torpedo your relationship

Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW, is a clinical therapist, and the author of three books, among them, Love Lessons from Bad Breakups and The Complete Marriage Counsler. She gives love advice on programs including Today and HuffPost Live, conduct...

If you expect your relationship to be just like the movies, you're doomed

The prince kisses Sleeping Beauty and she wakes up, overcome that he has saved her life. That works fine for a fairy tale but what does he do for an encore? Doubtless he ever disappoints the now awake beauty because she expects him to continue being the savoir/hunk/mythic man of her dreams. In short, she expects the impossible and that's not real life. Once you learn to expect and enjoy the possible versus yearn for fantasy, healthy love is achievable. 

1. That your partner will never fail you

Even George Clooney isn’t George Clooney. He’s gorgeous, a millionaire, famous, funny, suave, intelligent, evolved and owns a villa on Lake Como. In short — utter perfection. But here’s the shocker — even George Clooney isn’t always the Sexiest Man Alive.

Handsome leading men, romantic movies, Harlequin romances, our girlhood dreams and the media have done tremendous damage to our notion of what a relationship should be. But we only see the airbrushed, debonair George Clooney (or substitute Brad Pitt, whoever floats your boat), not the real person who yells, farts, has selfish moments and wasn’t put on the earth to just make you happy.

So learn to look beyond the packaging to the real person underneath. That is who will be snuggling in bed with you at night — and spoiler — he/she probably snores.

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2. That your partner should know you so well, that he/she always knows what you want

Expecting your spouse to know exactly what you want because — well, if he really loved you, shouldn’t he know you really do want to go out to dinner even though you said you were OK staying home? — is a dangerous trap many women fall into. Indeed, a recent study found that expecting your partner to be a mind reader leads to negative communication and anger.

So unless your partner is John Edwards, tell him what is on your mind and in your heart. He will be grateful.

The sad reality is there is no Santa Claus and your guy doesn’t know what is going on in your head any more than you know what is going on in his head.

3. That your partner considers you the only sexy person on the planet

When a man commits to one woman it doesn’t mean that he stops noticing other attractive females (however, he shouldn’t be doing crazy eye rolls when you are around). If you’re watching a movie with Angelina Jolie, he will not be unaware of her beauty. If you get upset that he occasionally admires another feminine form, he will feel you don’t trust him or have faith in your relationship.

What counts is that you are the only hottie in his heart and bed. But he is human. As are you. What was your reaction watching Channing Tatum in the Magic Mike movies? I rest my case.

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4. That no-spouse-allowed nights will no longer seem appealing

Oftentimes, people believe that once they're married they will be always be invited to their spouses' social events. However, for the two of you to be joined at the hip 24/7 is neither realistic nor healthy for a relationship. The two of you should be one another’s top priority, but not the only important element in one another’s lives.

He will continue his Sunday morning golf games, sometimes go to bars with friends on a Friday night or even enjoy the occasional afternoon solo. Taking up separate hobbies gives you more to share when the two of you come back together.

You should be following the same M.O. The best relationships are not codependent, but inter-dependent. Partners are separate individuals who are not threatened when the other person wants a little space. Healthy couples don’t complete each other; rather, they adore each other.

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