Post # 1
I feel like we, as women especially, talk a lot about expressing our own expectations to our significant others.
I was thinking today, after realizing that J asks almost nothing of me (he works, I’m looking for a job…, we split the cooking and cleaning, he pays for everything, he is constantly GIVING to me and doesn’t ask for anything in return… I’m blessed, but sometimes I get frustrated because I want to give something back to him and don’t always know how!); anyway, I was thinking that while I’m accutely aware of my expectations of him, I don’t really know what his expectations of me are!
Post # 3
@ddw: I can totally relate. I am currently looking for a job, and SO is super giving towards me and doesn’t really ask for anything in return. He knows that I will be really generous when I can afford to be again, and I take good care of him otherwise, but I don’t know that he has a ton of expectations really. I think he mainly expects that I’ll be honest with him, that I’ll be good to his family and accepting of his friends, and that I’ll contribute to things financially when I can.
I definitely think that women have a lot more expectations of their partner than men do.
Post # 4
@florence: I can see that (guys having fewer expectations), I suppose. I struggle with this, because the last guy I was with, my ex, had TONS of expectations for me – in an unhealthy way. J and I did distance for most of our relationship, and are still under a month for time actually spent together, so I find myself fighting against assuming he will think/act the way my ex did.
The ex and I were together for 3 1/2 years, and he was emotionally abusive, so I guess this is one of those damaged parts I need to work on getting healthy. He had expectations of me in EVERYTHING – how I would act in any given situation, what I would say, our sex life, how I dressed, who I hung out with, where I spent my time, how often I called him … everything.
After so long living under that kind of oppression (hah!), and getting verbally and sexually abused if I didn’t live up to the expectations (expressed and unexpressed), it can be hard to understand that this relationship isn’t the same, that J isn’t the same, that there is freedom.
Does that make sense?
I know it logically, but it’s not easy to re-learn after so long spent cowering. 🙂
Post # 5
actually he expects a lot! in fairness, the high expectations are reciprocal in our relationship. but he expects me to be supportive when he’s having a bad day or nervous about something upcoming, to spend some time together/on the phone (we’re long distance now) every night, to say goodnight to one another every night, to make tea for him when he’s sick, to discuss all relationship issues together (like how financials will work, how we’ll spend holidays, etc.) and to discuss big purchases in advance. i love those things about our relationship and i expect many if not all the same in return. i think you’re right: understanding what he thinks the relationship will be is really important.
also, @daydreamwanderer: i’m really sorry that you went through that with your ex and so glad you’ve found such a supportive relationship.
Post # 6
@aliceinweddingland: I think those are all very reasonable/healthy expectations! 🙂
Post # 7
I, like a few other posters, am looking for a job and FI is supporting us right now. He’s also the one who does most of the cooking (we split the cleaning). However, I think our only expectations of each other are to communicate with each other, respect each other, love each other, and be there for each other.
Post # 8
@ddw: I am also really sorry that you had to go through that with your ex. While I cannot relate to the sexual abuse, my ex before I began dating my current SO was really controlling and had a ton of expectations of me that he wouldn’t express until I had done something to “disappoint” him. He was actually psycho, I’m not just saying that because he’s an ex, and I honestly do not know how people can sleep at night when they are constantly obsessed with what their SO is doing/thinking at every moment.
I think it is so important to be able to trust in your FI that he is not like that and will never turn out to be like that. It is something that SO has told me time and time again, that he is nothing like my ex and that I have to let go of all that and trust that he will always have my best interest at heart.
I hope that you will be able to put all of your worries aside soon and that your FI will continue to be able to help you in the healing process. 🙂
Post # 9
I was going to say everything that @florence said, but she said it so well, I’m gonna just say “Ditto”
As for us…I voted other because we discuss it, pretty often (sometimes I ask, sometimes he states without being asked; sometimes he asks, sometimes I state without being asked), to keep communication constant. We’ve been together for 12 years, living together for 10, married for about a month and we STILL make sure to communicate our expectations. Especially because life changes. When we first moved in, he was making the money, I was looking for a job. A year later, we were both in grad school; I had a job, he was using his savings. Two years later, we both had jobs, but I was making more, and so on and so on. Constantly communicating, asking each other: “How can I help? What else can we do to make life easier?”. How we ask is key…we never ask “Why don’t you do more? Why didn’t you tell me?”, we always discuss issues in future terms, like “How can we avoid getting angry again?”. And always knowing that the underlying expectation is “I know you’ll always try your best & I will never assume otherwise.” Actually, I’d say this is our only expectation & every detail, every thing (task, role, etc.) we each do, stems from that.
Post # 10
FI has none. Other than treating him with love and respect and being faithful and being me. I think that’s what unconditional love is. Maybe as women, we are a little pickier. Also, I am harder on myself than FI ever would or could be, so he doesn’t really have to ask anything of me.
I too had an ex that was horribly controlling. It was guilt guilt guilt-, so I think that’s why I chose FI. He asks nothing of me, other than that I am me. I still try to be perfect all of the time, from ex and lasting effects from my family, but we are working on that 😉
Post # 11
I can very much relate to what you are talking about, as you and I are in similar situations right now. However, my husband has been pretty upfront about his expectations, which are as follows:
-He likes it when I pick up after myself — simple, you might think, but I’m a bit of a pig so this actually has had to be stated multiple times in the month since we moved in together.
-Up until my recent job offers (yay!) he said that he wanted to be able to trust that I was putting “100%” into finding a job. Until he told me that, I really wasn’t putting 100%. I started devoting myself more to the job hunt, and making sure it was visible to him, after he said that. Lo and behold, I got offers!
-He likes sex. I wouldn’t say it is an “expectation”, but he has voiced his desire for regular sex in a totally non-controlling, non-confrontational way. Thankfully, I like it too 😉 but I think its easy to get out of the habit once you move in together!
Of course, there are other expectations that are unspoken at this point. We both expect trust, honesty, accountability, everything that comes from an equal and respectful partnership from each other. I think the honesty thing is big with us — thus why I appreciated my DH voicing his “expectations” to me. God knows I have voiced my own, too!
Daydreamwanderer, it breaks my heart to hear you’ve dealt with such abuse. I’m so happy that you’ve found someone who loves and respects you. With that comes the ability to say, “Hey, dude, what do you want from me? How can I contribute? How can I make it known that I desire to contribute?” I think a candid talk about it might make you feel better! But I am sure you are “pulling your weight” just by being you 🙂
Post # 12
We’ve had a long sit-down talk about this, because his world is so VERY different to mine. I’m English, he’s American, i’m a physio, he’s a SNCO in the Marine Corps. He’s aware that I’m the one who’s going to have to make most of the changes once we’re wed, currently he lives in MD and i’m in VA so our day-to-day lives are totally separate.
While I intend to find work once we’re married, it will be hard as the Marine Corps will move us around every few years. I’ll also have to cope with deployments, inviting random strangers (his CO, etc) over for dinner, being an unofficial mentor for junior Marine’s spouses, him not coming home til three in the morning cos he’s had to re-inventory something. I’m a little concerned that i won’t get it right, that i’ll be an embarrassment to him somehow when i fluff up in front of the General at some important event, but FI has reassured me that i’ll be fine, and he’ll back me up.
As he already did when one of his SNCO buddies and i got into a slightly drunken argument over (of all things) the Declaration of Independence!! Later on, i discovered his buddy had congratulated FI on finding someone fiesty enough to stand up to him, and that i’d do well at a Marine wife!
I think if you have concerns, the best thing is to let him know. He’ll probably point out dozens of ways you contribute to your relationship, things that he really appreciates and show him how much you love him; things that you probably aren’t even conscious of because it’s just part of who you are anyway.