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by Jennifer Brown Banks

Unrealistic Expectations and "The
Grass is Always Greener" Syndrome

Have you heard of Joel Osteen? Well, if you haven’t, he’s a dreamboat of a preacher that comes on every Sunday, on various broadcasts, and the awesome author of Your Best Life Now! (Check your local listing for program details.)

He’s the pastor of Lakewood Church, and I highly recommend him. Anyhow, I check him out as often as I can, particularly when I miss a weekly worship service, and need some “spiritual food.”

The other day, he did a sermon on how we can find greater rewards in relationships, if our expectations are realistically based. He shared how everyone has shortcomings, but if we focus more on our mate’s positive traits, as opposed to the negative, we’ll find greater success in matters of the heart, and more romantic richness. I thought to myself, how true!

Think about it. How often have you wished your man made the money of a music mega star? Or that your girl looked more like Halle Berry? Or that he would be less of a couch potatoe? Or that she’d lose weight? Or that the “honey moon” stage would never end?

Though people can change, they rarely do. Quite often our partners come to us in “as is” condition.

Still, those that suffer from the “grass is always greener” syndrome, are always looking to trade up! No matter how good they’ve got it, they are always in the market for something more. And sadly, through trial and error and heartbreak, they discover that there isn’t necessarily more… just a trade off!

With that being said, it’s incumbent upon us to truly know what we want and need, and whether it’s realistically based, considering the nature of the person with whom we’re involved, and the length of the relationship.

Here are a few of the most common unrealistic expectations, and how they can cause discord and eventual demise of a relationship. How many are you guilty of?

1. Expecting him to never look at another woman, or to find another girl attractive.
Ladies, can we be real? Men are visual creatures. And they are stimulated by variety. Just because your guy finds the lady at the cleaners cute, doesn’t make him an animal or a louse! As long as he’s not blatantly staring her down, salivating, or making overtures, let him look! After all, he’s with you, isn’t he?

2. Expecting him/her to want to spend every free moment in your company.
We all have a myriad of needs that are best met when we have multiple friendships and social outlets. An occasional night out with the boys (or girls), does not mean that you are not cherished.

3. Thinking our mates are mind readers!
If you have a need or a gripe, express it and let it be known. Then let it go.

4. Expecting him to remember all important holidays, birthdays and relationship milestones.
Men are not wired the same way we are -- at least not most of them. Do yourself a favor and save some frustration along the way. If you want him to remember to acknowledge an important occasion or event, circle it on his calendar, talk about it a few days ahead, or drop a hint to his close friend.

5. Expecting the relationship to work out without working at it!
Anything of value in life is only sustained through effort and emphasis. Just remember that what it took to get her it takes to keep her.

6. Expecting things to never change.
In the beginning, he brought you flowers. Now he brings you attitude. That’s the story of love. Everything changes with time. As long as his kindness, regard, or care for you doesn’t diminish, you’ll do fine.

7. Expecting to see eye to eye on everything.
Though it’s important to have similar values and interests to have a fulfilling relationship, dating and mating doesn’t always work that way! As the saying goes “opposites attract. You can disagree, just don’t let it cause dissention.

If you are guilty of at least two of the above, you may want to consider that perhaps you may not “realistically” be ready for a long-term relationship.

For more info on Joel Osteen see


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Jennifer's Gems is a weekly column written by award-winning poet and writer, Jennifer Brown Banks. It is published every Wednesday. Click here to read her welcome letter.

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