In a relationship, a challenge arises as to whether a man’s expectation falls into the reasonable or unreasonable category. Taking time, considering what is being asked and the reason for the expectation forces one to prognosticate the future for themselves and the relationship. Nothing strains a relationship like an unrealistic standard.

Let’s look at expectations, their unreasonable counterparts and the motivations behind them.

Appearance: “I want her to look…”

Everyone has a type or things about how their partner looks. Because of the initial impression made by appearance, several expectations form. Some of these are based on personal taste. A partner may prefer a certain hair color or clothing choice. Sometimes these can be fluid provided the guy realizes all the factors going into how someone looks.

Unrealistic: Run away if when his expectation sounds like a letter to a popular men’s magazine complete with measurements and phrases like “the girl next door.” A preference for down to earth beauty typified by the description is fine. When it becomes the only focus, he is seeking some teenage fantasy rather than a real person.

Reason for the Unreasonable Expectation: Simply put, a lack of maturity establishes this type of expectation. One of the greatest dangers with playing into this view of oneself centers around the flattening of other healthy aspects of you. Intelligence and personality become secondary at best with a focus on a looks.

Personality: “She’s got to be…”

Everyone has heard a litany of descriptors for personality or nature including sweet, exciting, biting and countless others to which they are drawn. We all have parts of our personalities and they manifest themselves in different ways. One person might display playfulness by cracking jokes while another might chose to take time to plan an activity. Neither is wrong because they show a nuanced way of being.

Unrealistic: “You need to be…” implies a static form of interactions. The words themselves dictate someone wanting their needs to be met without every taking into account how the other person feels. No one gets to mandate the way someone expresses themselves.

Reason for the Unreasonable Expectation: Any number of reasons might be the cause for such an expectation. Fear of not being in control or wishing to deal with only things on the surface may nudge a man to keep things light, reasonable or sensual. Emotional and relational self management combined with safety may make a guy stick guardrails around a freely expressing person.

Relational: “My partner always…”

People like to know who they are dealing with. They seek someone with similar interests, love languages they connect with and with whom they experience a connection. These factors, in and of themselves, are not bad. They can help in the selection process and everyone has them.

Unrealistic: “Always” and “only” for every aspect of a partner does not allow for a wide range of things. As the list grows from one or two declarative items, the man has stopped looking for a person. He starts seeking a list. A major drawback is how many people it cuts out of being a potential partner.

Reason for the Unreasonable Expectation: Does everyone not want exactly what they want without any surprises? Most do. If asked, men would say they are open minded with a few deal breakers. This is true. A few men go so far as to mandate everything about the person they seek. Those individuals could be dealing with issues and possibly require time and space to grow.

Everyone, men and women, have expectations. It is impossible not to have them. The moment the expectations dictate everything about a possible partner is when they cross over into unrealistic. Standing up to unreasonable demands will help break the expectations opening the door for a deeper relationship and opportunity to discover each other for real.


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