Is Your Relationship Riding the Life Elevator?
We are kicking off this month's theme about how expectations influence our relationship(s). Sometimes in a helpful way and sometimes in a harmful way. If you have a few moments, take a pen to paper (or fingers to a keyboard) and reflect on the following questions:
What do you expect your intimate relationship(s) to be or look like?
Where do these expectations come from?
Are these expectations helping you in any way? Are they harming you at all?
Does everyone in the relationship have the same expectations?
I don't know about you, but I used to watch every rom-com available. I loved sitcoms like Friends. I loved listening to pop music about love. And then one day, it hit me...a lot of what I am expecting from my relationships and heck, what I think that I am supposed to find important in my life comes from TV and music. Okay let's dig in!
So as a cisgender woman, I am supposed to meet someone in my late teens or twenties, date for a couple of years, move in/buy a house that I can magically afford, get married, late 20s have some biological children, probably no more than three children and definitely more than one, sustain a great relationship with my in laws and my parents, everyone stays in good physical and mental health, be happy because I found "the one", set up play dates with my friends who are living the same way, sustain my 9 to 5 job, retire with a good middle class savings to live off of, die happy.
In other words, to be "happy" I should be riding the "Life Elevator". This refers to "the floors" that we should each aspire to be reaching at certain times in our lives. If you hit the specific floor too soon or too late - you're doing something wrong. If don't hit a floor at all, well then there is something wrong with you. Does any of this sound familiar?
As therapists, we often see clients' expectations of their relationships to look similar to this "Life Elevator" metaphor. Some people really do find it fulfilling and authentic to reach these "floors" in the "correct" time. However, many do not.
We appreciate inviting our clients to reflect on their relationship expectations and encourage them to ask themselves- are these expectations serving me? Do they feel authentic? Do they align with who I am and what I truly desire to experience?
And if they don't….what are the floors on your relationship or life elevator? Or scrap the order of the elevator image - what ingredients do you desire for your relationship and life soup? Speak with your partner(s) about this under the knowledge that you are the ones that get to decide what it looks (and tastes) like!
Let us know how all this lands on you, tell us your questions - we love hearing from you! Best way to do this is follow us on Instagram @relationshipmatterstherapy.
If you want to hear more about relationship expectations, check out our last podcast and stay tuned on our social media this month. Lots of cool content coming your way!