We all have expectations for the relationships in our lives. You’ve been pulling a lot of long days on your job and feel hurt when your supervisor doesn’t seem to notice. You make a fancy dinner and are resentful when your partner seems unfazed by your efforts. You take your kids to Disney World for a vacation, and rather than being appreciative, all they do is whine and complain and fight in the back seat of the car; you’re annoyed.
Your Own Expectations
The hurt, resentment, and annoyance are all the product of expectations that you have about how the other person should respond to you and your efforts. Sometimes these expectations are absolutely clear and specific. You and your boss agree that if you exceed your sales quota, you’ll get that promotion. You and your partner agree that if you stay home from work for a sick child, he’ll do the same when the next sick-event comes up. When the deal is broken — the promotion doesn’t happen, your partner isn’t willing to stay home on the next round — you’re rightfully upset.