Skip to main content




Love Addiction Recovery Help & Support



Recovery Groups

Online Groups for Love Addicts


30 Healthy Reasonable Expectations You Should Have in Relationships

By Jim Hall MS, Love Addiction Expert, Relationship Coach




  • People in secure relationships tend to have healthy and reasonable expectations for how they are treated — thus are more likely to have happy relationships.

  • Insecurely Attached Love Addicts tend to have low or unrealistic expectations -- hence are more likely to experience dissatisfying or toxic relationships.

  • In this article-- learn a list of thirty real examples of relationship expectations you should adopt to help you on your path to breaking free from toxic love patterns.

  • And why maintaining high expectations is essential to having a fulfilling secure relationship.



What expectations do you have for a romantic partnership?


Do you have high and realistic or low and unrealistic expectations or any at all? 


Is it okay to have expectations in relationships?



And your relationship expectations rightfully should be high but realistic.

Like it or not, every relationship comes with expectations.


So whether you are a man or woman, it's vital to assume your right to possess high expectations for a romantic partnership. 

In life, we often get what we expect


What does it mean to have reasonably high expectations for a relationship?



Having high expectations is not wrong or unreasonable, nor do they ruin relationships. It certainly doesn't mean having unrealistic expectations. High expectations mean you reasonably require a romantic partner (and yourself) to exhibit appropriate behaviors and attitudes that enrich the relationship.



In healthy relationships, people tend to have high expectations for how they are to be treated -- with respect, love, and kindness.


Maintaining high reasonable expectations is advantageous. It helps foster intimacy and closeness and forms the foundation for a thriving and satisfying relationship.



Securely Attached individuals have them. They won't accept 'crumbs' from a romantic partner-- such as disrespectful behaviors, game-playing, and emotional or physical abuse.

Secure individuals know they deserve real love and to be treated well— nothing less. As a result, they are more likely to experience happiness and satisfaction in romantic relationships.

In contrast, if you identify as an Insecurely Attached Love Addict, your expectations for a romantic partner have probably been quite different. Unlike someone Securely Attached, you've probably had a history of entering relationships with low expectations.

You've more likely tolerated inexcusable and less-than deserving behaviors from a romantic partner leading to heartache and disappointment.

Low expectations are a path to dissatisfaction and heartache in relationships.

You can remake your relationship expectations by learning the behaviors and attitudes you rightly deserve in a romantic partnership.

You don't have to resign yourself to perpetual low expectations of undeserving conduct and relational immaturity.




What are examples of expectations all men and women should unquestionably embrace for a romantic relationship? 


Below are thirty of them. You can call it your Relationship Expectation List. * print and post it somewhere to remind yourself what you have a right to expect in relationships.


30 expectations you should have in a romantic relationship

"I have a right to expect, with confidence, a romantic partner who":


  1. Cares about my well-being and shows it (not just words)
  2. Doesn't play games- effectively communicates (is direct and honest)
  3. Is reliable and consistent- Yes, maturity
  4. Turns towards me, not away; doesn't keep intimacy at arm's length 
  5. Treats me with kindness, love, and affection
  6. Is fully committed and loyal
  7. Never shames/belittles/abuses - For any reason, whatsoever
  8. Makes me feel heard, understood, validated
  9. Makes me feel safe-- emotionally and physically
  10. Whose life goals are compatible with my own

  11. Is receptive to compromise; resolving conflict; working through "bad times" when needed
  12. Doesn't try to rescue me from my problems; can walk 'side-by-side' in support of me helping myself
  13. Doesn't expect me to rescue or heal his/her problems or be their pathway to spiritual enlightenment
  14. Shares equal power in our relationship- doesn't act better-than
  15. Loves and values me no matter what my size or shape

  16. Can laugh, play, and share positive experiences
  17. Honors differing opinions/viewpoints – yes, happy couples lovingly agree to disagree
  18. Desires a mutually satisfying sex life
  19. Supports my goals, pursuits, dreams- Is my cheerleader
  20. Accepts who I am, both my strengths and imperfections (doesn't try to control/change me)

  21. Is emotionally present -- not "checked out", distant, or emotionally unavailable
  22. Is reassuring whenever I feel down, anxious, or insecure
  23. Shows empathy when I'm vulnerable (express my needs, feelings, concerns)
  24. Treats me like a best friend, never an enemy 
  25. Respects my physical and emotional boundaries

  26. Responsive and caring about my relationship needs (e.g., closeness/intimacy) -- Core relationship needs should always be non-negotiable
  27. Acts and treats me like an adult; not a child- Indeed, I am a grown-up
  28. Openly includes me in their life and inner circle- Doesn't hide or keep secrets
  29. Creates adequate time for our relationship- to spend together; talk, play/have fun, go on dates, etc. 
  30. Makes me feel he/she always  "has my back" -- An essential feeling in a secure partnership


All of these expectations are reasonable, healthy, and appropriate.  

Secure people embrace them. So can you. You are worthy of it.



Indeed letting go of low expectations and embracing high expectations is crucial to whether or not you will experience a genuinely happy, fulfilled relationship. Adopting them in your life is an act of self-care.


Moreover, doing so is essential to overcoming any love addiction, codependency, and insecure attachment patterns.



Always insist on kindness, love, affection, and respect. And, of course, it's essential to exhibit the same attributes yourself.



A couple more points: Some people may say that having high expectations is asking too much—that such individuals and relationships don't exist.

Never buy into this garbage- It's NOT true. 

You also might hear some people, even therapists, suggest that you should expect less if you're unhappy in a relationship.



They may reason that having lower expectations will help you feel more fulfilled and content with a romantic partner. Again, don't buy into this false reasoning- at all!



Remember, we get what we expect.


If you expect little from a relationship, you will likely settle for someone who offers little- and only you pay the price.



And finally, if you currently are in an unhappy relationship- you can still adopt high and reasonable expectations.

You might consider sitting down with your partner and talking about the Relationship Expectation List that is important to each of you - and focus on addressing those first. Patiently and politely let your partner know what you would like them to do differently for the relationship to improve. And indeed, couples therapy can be valuable to your relationship to help both of you satisfy expectations for one another.

But no longer do you have to sell yourself short and settle for 'BS-breadcrumbs.'


If you're an Insecurely Attached and/or a Love Addict and want a happy relationship, commit to upholding high secure-based expectations-- that are reasonable, healthy, and appropriate.

And indeed, maintaining high expectations is vital to your growth and recovery from love addiction.

About the Author- Jim Hall, MS: 
Jim is a Love Addiction Specialist, Recovery Coach, and Author of 3 Books on addictive love and how to overcome love addiction and insecure attachment patterns.  Learn about Jim and how he can help you.


Join my Newsletter with thousands of others
Love Addiction Newsletter



Work with me if you need quality relationship and recovery guidance:
Love Addiction Coaching
online/phone sessions