11 Reasonable Expectations in Healthy Romantic Relationships

Everyone has expectations when it comes to relationships. Some of them are unreasonable, such as expecting your significant other to be drop-dead gorgeous and earn $10 million a year. Other expectations are reasonable, such as expecting not to be treated like a garbage fire.

Here are 11 things that are reasonable to expect from your partner in your romantic relationship:

  1. Respect

Respect is foundational for any healthy relationship. In a romantic relationship, respect involves recognizing that your partner is a whole person, not just a means to get closer to something else that you want. Respect also involves the concept that you understand that your partner has opinions and experiences that differ from yours, and that’s okay.

  1. Communication

Communication ranks right up there with respect when it comes to expectations in a relationship. It’s a serious conflict of interest if you expect your partner to communicate with you clearly, constructively, effectively, and positively, but he or she either can’t or won’t. It’s reasonable to expect mature adults to be able to communicate well. Communication one of the fundamental building blocks of any healthy relationship.

  1. Honesty

In any relationship, you should expect honesty and be honest. This is especially true in a romantic relationship. Without honesty between you and your partner, the relationship will not have a foundation and will instead be built on unstable lies, making it unsustainable.

  1. Trust

With honesty comes the expectation that you can trust your partner with no hesitation or reservation. You should feel safe with your partner on all levels—physical, mental, and emotional—and you should never feel as though you doubt him or her.

Trust is a two-way street. You trust your partner, and your partner should expect you to give the same level of trust in return. Neither of you should feel obligated to constantly check in with each other seek each other’s approval when it’s time to hang out with your friends, or feel like one of you is dictating what the other can and cannot do and the way the other should or should not do it.

  1. Equality

There needs to be balance and equality for a relationship to remain healthy and thrive. Where one partner is weak, the other one picks up the slack. It’s reasonable to expect to be treated as an equal because in a healthy romantic relationship, the partners are equals. This needs to be true even in financial matters, even if one partner earns a higher salary than the other.

  1. Support

Have you had a crummy day or a stressful week? Is family drama getting you down? In a healthy, mature relationship, it’s reasonable to expect your significant other to be there for you. You aren’t just friends and lovers—you’re partners. Partners need to work together and be there to offer support to each other. Partners work together to find ways to make things easier, better, and less painful.

  1. Time Apart

You have every right to expect alone time away from your partner. No matter how deeply in love you are with each other, it’s healthy to expect a certain level of privacy and time alone so you can do your own thing, even if you just need a break to gather your thoughts. Alone time isn’t about the old adage “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Allowing partners the space to remain distinct, individual entities able to function independently will help you function together even better.

  1. Dates

In any romantic relationship, not just a new one, you have every right to expect to go out on dates with your partner. There certainly isn’t anything wrong with relaxing on the couch together watching Netflix, but you should expect more from your dates. You may need to schedule a weekly date night, or set specific time aside where it will be just the two of you with no distractions. No matter how busy your lives become, you need to make it a priority to make time for each other.

  1. Sex

Expecting an active sex life is healthy and reasonable. Sex isn’t the most important aspect of a relationship. But it’s a significant factor and one that must be fostered. Sex provides not only physical pleasure but also intimacy and comfort. Your partner should feel comfortable and open enough to share his sexual preferences and desires with you, and should provide a safe, non-judgmental space for you to do the same.

  1. Affection

While sex in a romantic relationship is an expression of affection, sex and affection can each stand on its own. Therefore, desiring affection without ending up in bed is reasonable and healthy. Holding hands, kissing, and cuddling all are normal components of a relationship and necessary expectations for a satisfying relationship. All these physical expressions of affection—including sex—release the hormone oxytocin in the brain. Oxytocin is often called the “cuddle hormone” or the “love hormone” because it causes positive emotions to surge and helps create deep bonds between people.

  1. Understanding

Romantic relationships can be complicated. Each person accepts love and expresses love in a unique way. Depending on where we’ve been in life and the examples we’ve seen, our concept of love can differ greatly from our partner’s concept. Because of this, a healthy, happy relationship that will stand the test of time requires partners who are willing to both understand that these differences exist, and expect that their partner will understand this as well.

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