What if your partner does not meet your expectations

Thursday September 15 2016

By Beatrice Nakibuuka

People get into relationships with a lot of expectations. Some expect their partners to be trustworthy others hope they will love and care for them above everyone else. However, sometimes one does not live up to the expectations leaving their partner disappointed.

Hope Nankunda, a counsellor at Health Promotion and Rights Watch – Uganda, says many people today get into relationships with different expectations. While some are looking for love, some may be looking for companionship, or money, among others.

Many people also dream of having a relationship built on trust and honesty without insecurity. A relationship where your partner will respect your opinion and divergent views as thinking and viewing issues differently helps couples learn.

“Some people expect their partners to be respectful, proud of them and accept them the way they are with unconditional love,” Nankunda says.

When falling in love, it is important not to aim at changing your partner. It is better to appreciate them the way they are and learn to accept or live with their character.

The reality
In relationships, people have their own behaviour, beliefs, and visions.


According to David Kawuma, a counselling psychologist at Mildmay Uganda, we cannot expect other people to treat us as we would treat them. He says we cannot force change upon someone who demonstrates he or she is stuck in their own ways.

“During courtship, some people hide their behaviour and will do whatever it takes to please their partner even when it is out of pain and hard struggle because they do not want to lose their partner,” he says.
After marriage, Kawuma says, they no longer have to pretend because they already have what they wanted.
“The man who used to do anything to take you out for example will stop. This is not because he does not love you anymore, but it is because the responsibilities have increased or because you are already in his home and so he expects you to take care of the home as his wife.”

These changes if not handled well can sometimes lead to a breakup. For example the wife may think that her husband has money but does not want to provide.

As Nankunda says: “Some girls get into relationships for money and when they do not get it, they become frustrated. Once the man realises this, he equally gets disappointed and will most times ignore the wife and her demands.”

How to handle
Different people have different ways of dealing with disappointments.
Some ignore even when hurt while others walk away from the relationship.

But a relationship should be based on love and communication. Where you think you are not getting what you expected, have an open discussion with your partner to forge a way forward.

Freely share your feelings so that you understand each other and plan together to see how best to improve your situation.

“Talking will be more productive because what matters in a relationship is the two of you. It is, however, important for you to calm down first before you communicate your feelings and let the other person speak. This will enable you get feedback. If things are not working out, you can have a mediator who is neutral to help you solve your problem,” says Kavuma.

Be aware of reality by acknowledging your partner’s behaviour and that the person may not be willing to change. Sometimes we long for approval from partners and when we do not get it, it makes us feel empty. But sometimes couples need to get out of the fantasy world by remaining open to all possibilities.

“You can talk to someone who is more experienced. This will help you understand your situation better and objectively. It could be your fault that you were disappointed, so talking to someone helps you reflect and judge yourself carefully.

Be positive about having a dialogue,” says Kavuma.
As Nankunda adds: “Giving up on a marriage because you are not getting what you initially expected doesn’t guarantee that you will get it in your next relationship. Marriage is for better for worse.”