Relationships come with a lot of built-in pressure from our parents, our peers and society. With all of the extra scrutiny from the outside, the last thing you and your boo need is pressure from each other. Whether it’s a bad habit they have, that one ugly T-shirt to they like to wear or that constant urge to compare them to someone else’s partner, expecting our significant others to dress, act or say what we want can happen unknowingly. Luckily, we’re here to help. Here are some things that are totally fairytale when it comes to expectations for your relationship.
1. Always expecting them to foot the bill
It takes two to tango, which means unless they tell you up front that it’s their treat, always offer to fork up your half of the dinner, the ice cream or the weekend getaway. You know college students aren’t rolling in the dough and you should expect no different from your SO. They may work crazy hours at their part-time job, but that’s their money, not yours.
Kayla Dungee, a sophomore at Kennesaw State University, agrees. "I don't agree with the guy paying for everything anymore," she says. "We both work so I realized that it's unfair that he dish out all the money while I hoard mine. Now I pay for dates just as much as he does. Nothing wrong with treating him sometimes too."
Remember, it doesn’t always have to be about money. Sometimes, it’s the littlest (and most priceless) things that count the most!
2. Wanting them to dress a certain way
Everyone has their own personal style and everyone goes through phases. Remember your Hollister phase? Or when you thought it was cool to layer on sixty of those jelly bracelets? Now you know better but you had to learn on your own. Your boyfriend may enjoy cargo shorts even though he’s not a contractor or your girlfriend may wear that really tacky orange shirt all of the time, but if it makes your SO happy right now, then you should support it. What Not To Wear isn’t on the air anymore, so you don’t have to worry about having a style intervention with them any time soon.
“Whether consciously or unconsciously, people tend to dress trying to communicate a certain self image to the world,” says Melissa Friedman, a senior at Temple University. “Telling your significant other to dress a certain way undermines his or her personal taste. If you don't like the way the person you're dating dresses, you can decide two ways: deal with it, or if it's really that big a deal, don't date that person.”
Let them express themselves. It’s just that simple.
3. Expecting them to ditch their friends to hang with you...all of the time
We get it, sometimes you’re going through an existential crisis and you just want someone to hold you while spoon-feeding you Ben & Jerry’s. But, if you know that your SO may be hanging with friends and you throw a fit when he or she won’t drop everything to come and hang with you, then it’s a problem.
“I always have to watch myself and be careful that I don't expect my boyfriend to spend so much time with me that it takes away from his friends and family,” says Shelly Adams, a junior at Shenandoah University. “He's got a lot more friends than I do, and sometimes I take out my boredom on him!”
You need "me time" and so does your SO! If you're together constantly, it can get boring. Time apart will give you more to talk about when you're together and will make your time together just that much more special.
4. Expecting them to always be the one to apologize first
One of the biggest parts of a relationship is learning to work in a reciprocal way with another person. So you had a fight about his ex-girlfriend liking his latest Instagram? Think about how the argument started and what role you played before you place all of the blame on him. Yes, sometimes a fight can solely be caused by one person versus the other, but always put into perspective what you could have done to not let it get blown out of proportion in the first place. This doesn’t mean always being the first person to say, “I’m sorry,” but make sure they aren’t either.
Sometimes, it just depends on putting your pride to the wayside. "If you do something to hurt your partner, put aside your pride, own up to your mistake and give an apology," says Carly, a senior at Allegheny College. "It shows that you care about them and your relationship."
You know that you’re always going to have to give some to get some and it’s no different when it comes to apologies.
5. Expecting them to always be comfortable around your friends and family
If you’re wondering how crazy introducing your significant other to your friends and family can be, watch Meet the Fockers and you’ll understand how terrifying it can be. Cut your SO some slack and know they aren’t going to always feel at home with your BFFs and parents right away. Everyone takes their own amount of time to get to know strangers and just because you’re dating, the time to get comfy and cozy doesn’t get accelerated.
"He knows that he's always under the radar for how he acts in front of your family because he could potentially become a part of the family,” says Nicole Ambrose, a senior at Duquesne University. “He always has to be on his best behavior and no one would be comfortable with that."
The least you can do is realize there is a ton of pressure on them when it comes to the family and friends ordeal. It’s perfectly natural, but unless they’ve been cool with each other beforehand, don’t expect them to be BFFL after one awkward dinner occasion.
Relationships are about compromise. Don’t sweat the small stuff and let the little things slide. If something is seriously bugging you about your SO, tell them. But, always think about what it is that’s bothering you. It may not be their outfit, it may be that they’re lazy or that you’re a perfectionist. Always think, take a step back, examine the situation and decide whether or not it’s a bigger issue or something that can be squashed right then and there.