The other day while on campus, I saw a young woman yelling at her boyfriend in the middle of the campus coffee shop. Now, for those who know me, you know I enjoy listening in on others' conversations so I can learn more about people I don't know. The more I listened, the angrier I became. This woman was angry with her boyfriend not just because he didn't buy her a cup of coffee when he bought himself one, but also because he hadn't noticed that her hair was different.
My first thought:
I felt like I was on a bad episode of some cheesy TV show and as a woman, I asked myself if women are really portrayed this way to other women and men when they argue with their significant other in public. I then asked myself if people really think their significant other owe them something and that they are entitled to everything their significant other has. It made me angry, and also made me reflect on my own behavior with my boyfriend of nearly 3 years.
Let me start by saying this: Your significant other (boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband, etc) does not owe you ANYTHING. Shocking, right?
Let me explain:
In my dating experience (and by experience, I mean the two serious relationships I've been involved in), I have noticed that there is an unspoken list/regime of things that your significant other should automatically do for you without being asked. This idea in itself is toxic if we look to the well-known idea that one of the biggest causes of break-ups and divorces is lack of communication.
The idea of any sort of unspoken thing that someone SHOULD do for you is strange to me, and the fact that someone would get mad at someone else for not doing something they were never actually told to do is even stranger. That being said, your significant other doesn't owe you anything. Unless you blatantly ask them to do something, you have no right to get angry with them for not doing it. If they didn't say the thing you wanted them to say, you can't justifiably yell at them or get upset. Everyone has their own mind that works its own way. You fell in love with that person for a reason.
There will never be a moment that you and your significant other get along 100% of the time. It just won't ever happen. No matter how alike you are or how in love you are with someone, you'll never agree on every little thing. Sometimes that's a good thing, and sometimes it sucks. But you can't get angry with your significant other for disagreeing with you or for saying something you don't agree with and if you do, your relationship won't last long.
If you think these ideas sound foreign and awful, good. But you may be implementing these things into your relationship without even knowing it. I know that I find myself getting irritated with my boyfriend for not reacting the way I expect/want or for not doing something I expect him to do. But that has absolutely nothing to do with him.
I am not entitled to him taking out the garbage or doing the dishes or even cuddling me because he's my boyfriend. He doesn't tell me that I look nice or hold my hand because he's SUPPOSED to. He does those things because he wants to, not because he knows I expect him to.
Your boyfriend or girlfriend isn't obligated to get you a cup of coffee just because they bought themselves one and it's not fair of you to get mad at him or her for not noticing a slight change in your appearance. If you don't feel like you owe them anything and that they have no right to get angry with you for not doing something you were never told to do, you have no right to do it to them.
If you continue in your relationship with the idea that your significant other owes you nothing, you will be pleasantly surprised and even excited each time they do something out of pure choice. Removing expectations from your relationship can better your relationship and even save it if you find yourself doing these things.