How do I set more reasonable expectations for relationships?
May 15, 2008 9:30 PM   Subscribe

How do I set more reasonable expectations for relationships?

[Hello metafilter! Relatively new here – and a bit rueful that my first post is in the “human relations” category! Hopefully the hive mind will forgive and offer constructive criticism…]

Roughly six months ago, I exited my most recent (of many) long-term relationships. I’ve been extremely lucky so far – almost all of my relationships so far have involved people who were stable, well-balanced, and generally well-meaning, and have ended amicably or in friendship. BUT…. now that I’m single and dating, I feel like this has given me quite a skewed perspective on relationships! My going assumption being that, if I like someone, that there’s no possible way it can’t end amicably – meaning that I often assume intimacy way too quickly, and open myself up to feeling fairly beaten up when it does end badly.

Please help! How do I set more reasonable expectations? I'd like to be able to maintain optimism without approaching every relationship like an 18-year-old naïf...
posted by puckish to Human Relations (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
How old are you? Your age will inform the answers, I think.
posted by loiseau at 9:34 PM on May 15, 2008

Watch some Judge Judy and be glad that no one you've been involved with is crazy/incredibly stupid.

I don't think there's anything wrong with being optimistic and friendly. You'll attract optimistic and friendly people. (Which is probably why your exes are the same way.)
posted by phunniemee at 9:42 PM on May 15, 2008

Yeah, I'm confused here. Perhaps you just have a good personality yourself and are attracted to people equally well balanced. People tend to be attracted to the same kind of personality types over and over again, so if you have nice, pleasant, relationships you'll probably continue to have ones like that.
posted by delmoi at 9:52 PM on May 15, 2008

Every relationship in your life can be smoothed out, every relationship can be wonderful, but it's always going to begin with you. Have the courage to talk to yourself with truth, be completely honest with yourself. Perhaps you can't control what is going to happen around you, but you can control your reactions. Those reactions will guide your relations to others. The reactions are what make you happy or unhappy.

You are responsible for the consequences of whatever you do, think, say, and feel. Perhaps it's hard to see what actions cause a consequence, what emotions or thoughts, but you know the consequence because you feel it. You control your relationships by making choices. It is up to you to see if you like the consequences of these choices. If you enjoy the consequences, then keep making those choices. But if you don't like what is happening try to find out what is causing the consequences you don't like. This will help transform your expectations.
posted by netbros at 10:15 PM on May 15, 2008 [2 favorites]

It is not unreasonable or naïve to expect the people you care about to not behave like jerks to you.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 1:01 AM on May 16, 2008 [2 favorites]

Be single longer.
posted by kisch mokusch at 3:04 AM on May 16, 2008

Try purposefully taking on a few short term relationships. This will at least give you some separation from the LTR mindset and may give you some insight on how to approach a fulfilling LTR?
posted by JJ86 at 6:05 AM on May 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

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