You had an idea of what you were looking for in a significant other for as long as you could remember. Even as a child, you fantasized about finding your own version of happily ever after.

Maybe your parents showed you what love truly was. Or maybe your parents were divorced and you saw what you didn’t want for yourself and your relationship.

You know that a relationship is something that takes a lot of work. Sometimes, it doesn’t come as easily. You’re ready to put in the work. As with anyone, you want to make sure you’re putting in as much effort as your partner, each other’s needs are being met, and you’re both respecting one another. That’s not too much to ask for, right?

This is how to set realistic expectations in your relationship. 

Be Open and Honest

Communication is key in any type of relationship, romantic or not. You want to make sure you’re being open and honest with one another from the get-go. Make sure you’re letting your partner know your expectations, wants, and needs. This is the best way to prevent miscommunication in the future. Another benefit is making sure neither you nor your partner has to assume or guess what the other person wants.

Be Willing to Compromise

When you’re in a relationship, there may be times when you’re not always on the same page as your partner. This is very common and is likely to happen from time to time. You and your partner are two completely different people with your own wants, needs, beliefs, ideas, and more. You won’t always agree on everything, and that’s okay. When those disagreements do happen, you want to make sure that you’re working through them. Make sure you’re working to find a mutual resolution to any problems that arise. That means that the solution you’re working towards benefits both of you. Make sure you’re not fighting to win because no one wins if it’s one-sided. Work together and meet one another in the middle.

Be Respectful

Make sure you’re always showing respect and being respectful to your partner, no matter what. There will be some tough conversations that you may have to navigate together, but letting your emotions get in the way won’t make things any easier. Even in tough times, make sure you’re allowing one another time to speak and share each of your opinions, thoughts, and feelings. Turn off any and all distractions. This means turning off the television and putting your phone away. Give your partner your full, undivided attention, just as you would want from them. It’s just as important to listen to your partner as it is to express yourself.

Set Boundaries

Boundaries may seem like a harsh ask, especially in a relationship, but they actually can help strengthen a relationship even more. Boundaries are crucial to make sure you’re meeting your own needs, as well as your partner’s. When you’re in a relationship, it can be easy to forget about your individual needs or set them aside in order to focus on your partner or your relationship. Try not to do this! You’ve probably heard the phrase, “You can’t love someone until you love yourself.” You may want to roll your eyes at this, but it’s so true. You need to make sure your cup is full before you can share with others. Make sure you and your partner are setting time for yourselves and your own interests, hobbies, passions, or relaxation.

Next Steps

Reaching out for help when it comes to your relationship doesn’t mean your relationship is over. In fact, it means that you care enough about your partner and the relationship you share to want to make it better.

If you’re interested in learning more about couples counseling, reach out today to set up a consultation.

About the author(s)

Karen is the founder and Clinical Director of Cohesive Therapy NYC. She earned a Masters in Social Work from New York University and has extensive training in Hypnosis, Anxiety, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Brainspotting, and DGBI. She is a member of the Institute of Certified Anxiety Treatment Professionals, The Rome Foundation, the National Association of Social Workers, The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, and the American Social of Clinical Hypnosis.

About Cohesive Therapy NYC

At Cohesive Therapy NYC, we believe that you have an immense amount of inner strength and resilience, even if it is yet to be discovered. Cohesive Therapy NYC is a private group psychotherapy practice in New York City that focuses on treating adults who struggle with Anxiety, Trauma, Chronic Illness, and the adult impact of Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN). Cohesive Therapy NYC therapists see clients all throughout New York State (Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester, and statewide) using online therapy and are also available for in-person visits in their NYC offices, located at 59 East 54th Street, New York, NY 10022. We specialize in helping people who are dealing with anxiety, relationship issues, chronic illness, and digestive and adult trauma related to childhood family dynamics. We all deserve a chance to be well and have support.