The Difference Between Standards and Expectations in Dating

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expectations in dating

What’s the difference between having high standards and expectations in dating? They’re both important. Here’s why…

It’s important to have both standards and expectations in dating. What’s the difference between the two? How can you create clear and realistic standards, and how can you manage your expectations so you don’t get hurt? 

The Difference Between Standards and Expectations in Dating

The Difference Between Expectations and Standards

Expectations are what we impose on others, and standards are what we hold for ourselves.

Standards in Dating

Our standards signify the way we want to be heard, seen, and treated. It’s important to identify our standards and expect them to be met when we’re dating and in relationships. 

Some examples of standards in dating:

  • Respect for your opinions, feelings, needs, beliefs, and desires
  • Shared values, ethics, and worldview
  • Honesty and trustworthiness
  • Feeling of safety, equality, and affection

Expectations in Dating

An expectation is a strong belief that something will happen. It’s based on an assumption, not reality, because we can’t predict how someone will behave or how our date will go.

Once we understand our own expectations are nothing more than our best guesses built into a belief about someone or something, we can begin to manage them. These best guesses are based on our deeply held opinions mixed with a big dash of hope. 

Three Ways to Manage Your Expectations in Dating

1. Get curious

When in doubt, get curious. Ask for clarity. Ask what the other person needs or wants instead of assuming. For example, you might assume the person you’re dating wants to go out to eat after a long day at work, when they may just want to stay in and cuddle. Save yourself from disappointment by asking, not assuming.

2. Stay present and open.  

When you stay present to who your date is, you’ll stop projecting who you THINK they are, or who you WANT them to be. Stay present and open, and you’ll have far fewer misunderstandings and disappointments. 

3. Don’t date potential. 

One of the biggest mistakes in dating is meeting someone who would be great ‘if only…’ You stay with them because you see their potential, but they’re not changing for you. Stay with them because you like who they are NOW, not who they’ll become ‘if only…’

That’s how we can manage our own expectations. It’s a little harder to manage other people’s expectations of us. But it’s definitely doable, and it’s worth investing your time and energy into being proactive in three key areas.

3 Ways to Manage Other People’s Expectations of Us

1. Communicate.

Speak up early and often. Let the people you date know how you want them to treat you. Repeat yourself if you have to, and you will probably have to with many people. Let them know your standards and boundaries, like what hours they can call, when you become intimate with a partner, and generally what you will and won’t do.

For example: If you both share what you need in advance of a vacation, such as downtime to recharge, you’ll have more fun and less disappointment or resentment. 

2. Anticipate problems.

It’s healthy to anticipate and speak about the worst-case scenarios in dating and relationships so you can be prepared for whatever comes up. That way, you can insure there are less big surprises and upsets, and things will go much better.

3. Know your partner’s biases.

If you know your romantic partner’s core beliefs and where they stand on hot button issues, it can help you have compassion for their differences, which helps you connect and communicate better with them. 

Master Your Expectations

Understanding the role of expectations in your love life will help you begin to raise your consciousness about expectations, so you recognize them when they show up, and you can nip expectations in the bud. 

You’ll feel empowered when you begin implementing the strategies I’ve shared for eliminating expectations of others, and for minimizing others’ expectations of you.

Having this understanding will enable you to manage expectations so they don’t manage you.

If you’re feeling stuck in dating and relationships and would like to finally find love, sign up for a complimentary 45-minute love breakthrough session with Sandy

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Get a copy of Sandy’s books, Becoming a Woman of Value; How to Thrive in Life and Love and Choice Points in Dating; Empowering Women to Make Healthier Decisions in Love.


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