August 17, 2016 by Thriving Now Support

Expectations and Agreements…

…Knowing The Difference Can Transform Your Relationships!

Today we’re going to talk about Expectations vs. Agreements.  There’s a big difference between them. A lot of people don’t realize there is a difference or how deeply it can impact relationships of all kinds.

Let me give you an example. The other day, a friend was sharing how very upset she was because her boyfriend wasn’t paying the expected amount of rent.  They had moved in together the year before.  They’d originally been splitting the rent, and then his job changed so he wasn’t earning as much. Without saying anything to her, he changed what he was contributing.

I asked her a few questions, I realized that they had never really discussed this and they really hadn’t agreed verbally on anything. They both just assumed… based on what they expected to happen. That was causing a lot of blame and conflict!

I’m Cathy Vartuli from

Agreements and expectations, distinguishing them and understanding how you can use them in your life can make a big difference in any relationship you have.

Most of us were brought up to have expectations.

If you came from the same family and had some of the same experiences… you might have similar expectations.  That means, if you go to your family and you bitch about your partner not doing ‘xyz’, they are likely to agree with you. Why? Because they share and want to reinforce the expectations you were raised with.

They may be horrified and shocked that he’s not following through and doing certain things, because you were brought up with a certain set of cultural expectations that a boyfriend/partner does ‘xyz’ and that’s acceptable and that shows he loves you.

But he came probably, (hopefully), from a different family, and he will have different expectations, may have different cultural beliefs and patterns… and there’s nothing wrong.  It just means that he was brought up to do ‘abc’ instead of ‘xyz’ to show that he loves and supports his partner.

He may be thinking he is doing what would make him a good boyfriend, and taking care of himself, and you may be doing what you think will make you a good partner and will help you take care of yourself.  Most people really just want to do a good job and feel safe and appreciated.

Agreement is something different.  Agreement means you sit down with your partner and you say ‘I want xyz, under these circumstances’ and you discuss and agree on what you intend to do… verbally or in writing… whatever makes you feel comfortable and safe.  You may negotiate, and even struggle a bit to find a compromise or a true win-win… but what makes it an AGREEMENT is that the intentions are discussed and conscious!

You agree on what the outcome will be.  Sometimes people with screw that up, but at least you have your wants and needs out there! You’re not just expecting your prince charming to come riding up on a white horse when he only had a piebald or a black stallion… You’re not surprised and disappointed due to misunderstandings and mis-communications.

This isn’t always easy to start! We have all of this cultural stuff going on, so a lot of us are terrified of talking to our partners about this kind of thing.  We often think that if they just loved us, they would understand.  They would create what we needed if they really get us, if they really understand us, when the truth is half the time we don’t even understand ourselves, and we have conflicting things going on inside all the time.

Taking a nice deep breath together and being present with your partner is really powerful.  Let’s do some EFT Tapping so that we can be more present… and we feel more comfortable saying what we’d really like to have.

Again, take another nice deep breath.

Karate Chop:  Even though I have a lot of expectations and my partner has not been coming through … maybe I haven’t told them what I wanted.

Even though they’re just not doing it right…  They should know better!  What’s their problem?  Maybe I never told them what I needed or what I wanted.  We never really agreed on what would come out of this.

Even though I’ve been living with expectations for a long time…  If they just really loved me, they’d know what I wanted.  The truth is, most people don’t know what they want, not even for themselves.  If we don’t share, we don’t get what we want.

Top of the Head: I have a lot of expectations.
Eyebrow:  That’s very human.
Side of the Eye:  That’s okay.
Under the Eye: But when we start sharing those expectations…
Under the Nose:  And we let others know what we’d like to have…
Chin:  We get to have them.
Collarbone:  At least a lot more of the time.
Under the Arm:  Maybe it’s time I switched from expectations…
Top of the Head:  To agreements and let people know what I wanted.

Take a nice deep breath and notice what’s coming up from you.

What can block more open discussion?

1) Some of it may be you’re afraid of being disappointed.  What if they say no? What if they agree to it and don’t do it?  We have a couple of other recordings on handling disappointment on our Youtube channel – feel free to check them out, subscribe, and please like and comment!

2) You might also be just afraid of saying what you want.  Maybe you’ve been shamed for saying what you wanted in the past.  Maybe you’ve been told that you want too much, you’re too needy, whatever.  The truth is, we get to want and need what we want and need – there’s nothing wrong with that.

You can do more tapping on whatever comes up for you around these issues, so you can share more openly and easily with your partner and others in your life. It makes a huge difference!

When we expect a single other person to be the sole source of what we want, that’s a lot of pressure, and both of us are probably going to end up frustrated, blaming, and disappointed.  It’s really great when you have a circle of support; friends, family, loved ones that can help you get your needs met.  It doesn’t have to just be from one person.

I know that kind of goes against the cultural phenomenon we have of Cinderella or Snow White and the Prince Charming that leads her off to be happily ever after.  Most people can’t do that.

No one person can really be everything we need.  We need interaction with a lot of different people.  We can definitely have one person that is very, very dear to our heart, but getting our needs met in other ways, too, leaves us more balanced.  If you adore steak, eating a steak every day may be your thing, but if you don’t eat some broccoli now and then, or a potato or maybe chocolate, you’re going to be kind of grumpy.  So, get some of those needs met from other friends, and it will take some of the pressure off your relationship.

Realize that when you start role-modeling, sharing agreements and making agreements, that your partner gets to ask for what they want, too.  That starts making things fun because you’re not guessing what they need.  You’re not guessing what their expectations are, and you start doing a better job as a partner and everybody starts being happier with a lot less effort and work.

Let’s just do a little bit more tapping on that and send you off on your way.

Karate Chop:  Even though I’ve been relying on expectations and blame a lot, it hasn’t worked really well, and maybe it’s time I started speaking up.

Even though I haven’t role-modeled this for my partner either, it might be nice to do, and we might have more fun if we were speaking up for ourselves.

Top of the Head:  I like the idea of being able to ask for what I want.
Eyebrow:  I even like more the idea of getting what I want sometimes.
Side of the Eye:  They do get to say no.
Under the Eye:  I get to say no.
Under the Nose:  And sometimes we both get to say YES!
Chin:  Maybe I can let go of some of my expectations.
Collarbone:  And start sharing my wants and needs.
Under the Arm:  That might be more fun.
Top of the Head:  It’s sure to be more productive.

Take a nice deep breath.

How do you feel now? What’s coming up for you?

We’d love to know what you think about this.  Leave comments and messages below. Let us know if you have any questions, thoughts, something else that’s coming up for you so that we know what interests you and what else we can do some tapping on.

Thanks very much and have a great day!


P.S. Rick and I are available for private coaching sessions if there is a particularly thorny agreement you’d like some help feeling calm and confident exploring with your partner.


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