The title of this month’s blog sounds dramatic, and yet it’s true. Assumptions and expectations about a person’s beliefs and behavior can kill a relationship over time, especially when they are unspoken.
Example assumptions and expectations include:
- Now that we have a grandchild, you will want to have them at home during the week for a few hours each day just like I will because you love them as much as I do.
- Now that I’m retired and home all the time, you’ll want to spend every day with me because I want to spend every day with you. If you don’t, I’ll feel hurt and rejected.
- When I get home, you’ll want to hear about everything I did during my day and be totally present and interested in what I have to say. If you’re not, it means you don’t care about me.
- Because you’re my best friend you’ll want to talk with me on the phone once a week for at least an hour. Because I want that, you’ll want that too and be available for it.
These are just a few that can trip us up. The judgement, disappointment, resentment, and anger they can engender become blocks to love and connection.
Conversation that is open and curious to name and explore them is so important, especially for a couple going through a major life change – retirement from a career, an illness, a change in finances or home, or the birth of a grandchild. It is an opportunity to create understanding and design how you want to live individually and together in the relationship.
Relationships are essential to our well-being and are the most important of the five pillars to a fulfilling life. We dream of growing old with our mates and dear friends. By the time we’ve reached the second half of life, we don’t need research to tell us that they are the source of both our greatest pleasures and deepest pains. Navigating them well makes a huge difference in the level of fulfillment and satisfaction we experience in our lives.
Set aside undisturbed time to sit down as a couple or with a best friend. Be as curious about exploring the assumptions and expectations as you would a different country and culture with its customs and beliefs. Then create some agreements about how you’ll find common ground and honor each other. It will reinvigorate your relationship and create the space for more love, joy, understanding and fun.
Sabrina Roblin, CPCC, a former executive and co-founder of Life Reinspired, is happily enjoying her best chapter of life. She now helps others do the same. Schedule a free Life Reinspired Strategy Session or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.