Expectations of Giving and Getting in Relationships
I don’t know about you, but after reading Gina Lake‘s book – Loving in the Moment: Moving from Ego to Essence in Relationships I now realize that most of the disagreements in my current relationship have been caused by
my expectations of what my partner should be willing and able to do for me. Ultimately, when I did the expectation break down, I realized that it’s all based on the idea I created in my head of the great qualities I found in a handful of men along the way. What I forget is that I never actually met the man that had all of these qualities at the same time, but my Ego convinces me that the right man, if he loves me enough, will gladly mold himself into that “perfect” man. Geez, selfish much?
According to Gina, as long as you’re identified with the Ego you believe you need something to be happy and you turn to our partner for it; and because no one, but you, can provide everything you think you need, the Ego is never satisfied because it always wants more. As a result, we withhold love from our partner when we feel that they are not fulfilling our idea/fantasy of what our ideal partner would be like. We become disappointed because we believe that only that “ideal” partner will bring us the most happiness. We fail to realize that our conditioning (see The Ego Is So Unflattering, Yet So Hard to Shake for more info) is what’s there, feeding our Ego instantaneous reasons why we shouldn’t be in a relationship with someone. And it’s our Ego that ultimately encourages us not to settle for less than our ideal, but relationships and love need realism and not idealism to work.
Gina goes on to add that our conditioning surrounding roles in relationships has been influenced by our culture and generational norms. Before men were expected to be physically cared for, while women expected to be financially cared for. Now we demand that each gender be able to do everything. Rather than demanding less of our partner, now we expect even more. The trouble with wanting our partner to do more for us is that it isn’t their responsibility to fulfill our needs, although that’s a wonderful side effect of a good relationship. Unfortunately, since Ego never gets enough, it will also not get enough on this aspect either. Instead it pushes for all it can get and its lack of gratitude ends up wearing on the relationship, which often causes a withdrawal of love. Vicious cycle I tell you.
Gina says that to get something from our partner, we will not only have to give to them, but also be appreciative of what we get, whether it matches what we wanted or not. Ok, ok, I’m starting to get it – although I have a partner, I should not expect him to be a slave and do everything I ask him to, but rather be grateful that he has chosen to do something to help. Geez I suck at that. Don’t get me wrong, I am completely appreciative, but my Ego always finds a way to add in something to the effect of “next time could you do it this way….” I tell you my Ego is strong, but working on quieting it. 😉
Gina goes on to say that sometimes we may have to give more than what we want to give and get less than we would like, but we can’t hold that over our partner because giving to get only leads to resentments if we don’t get what we want. Often, the reason we don’t feel like giving is that we’re angry at our partner for not meeting our ideals or conditioning, which is something you should examine and determine whether its worth throwing love out for. Remember, the Ego tries to manipulate others with anger and withdrawal to try to get them to do what it wants, but that generally backfires. All it does is draw out your partner’s Ego and not much can be solved when the Egos go at each other.
Gina reminds us that what you give to your partner must come from a sincere desire to give. So how do you give, when you don’t feel like giving? Gina encourages us to only give our partner what we’re willing to give and enjoy giving. If they don’t appreciate it and demand more, then maybe they’re not a good match because what you have to offer isn’t being valued by them.
Gina asks us to remember that our partner is not in this world to take care of our needs and we are not in this world to take care of our partner’s needs. Once we let go of that expectation, then we can truly see anything and everything they give as gifts. But don’t forget to acknowledge the gifts and show gratitude for them, even if it’s not what you specifically asked for or wanted, because gratitude will keep the love flowing. Trust me, this works. Although I do sometimes spoil gifts with my Ego’s need to ask that my partner do something better next time, those times when I don’t, love flows eternal.
What expectations are keeping you from letting love flow eternal? Are they based on reality or idealism?