Homecomings are hard and can either be a time of great joy and excitement or times of heartache and disappointment! Sometimes both. So how can you prevent the disappointment? By realizing nothing is like the fantasies in our head and likely our SOs are envisioning something all their own. And when these two visions don’t line up, heartache can happen. Last week I wrote about homecoming anxiety and I wanted to follow through on some thoughts I had about managing our expectations. But as I started writing it I realized it could be a post all its own because it can apply not only to homecoming but to marriage and parenting as well.
Just like after you start a relationship, get married, or move in together, there is a honeymoon period to homecoming bliss. And while you are preparing for the homecoming you are probably setting up expectations of what your time will be like, and also for what will happen after the honeymoon period begins to fade. But this will just set you up for disappointments that could potentially turn into resentment. Maybe they don’t begin to pick up on all the chores they left behind right away and you’re still doing them even though you were so excited to be done with that chore after they returned. Leave those expectations behind and homecoming will be a much smoother transition.
Now you are probably asking yourself how can I do that. I am going to share one of my methods for releasing expectations. Often we don’t even know what those expectations are. They are subconscious and we don’t recognize them. So it can be really difficult to let go of them if you don’t even know they exist!
So Step 1: Identify your expectations.
- When I am trying to identify any bias, expectations or anything that may not explicitly come to my mind is begin to envision what my hope, dream, fantasy of the situation is. For example, we have a wee little one at home and I have changed all the diapers, taken out the diaper pail every week, gotten up at every midnight feeding, given every bath and all the laundry. If my expectations that all of this will magically be lifted off my plate when B returns then I am sure to be disappointed when that does not magically happen. To figure out that this is my expectation I simply sat down and journaled about what immediately comes to mind without any filter or editing. This is just for you, so there is no need to censor yourself! This is exploratory exercise. Then go back and read about what you think will change now that they are home.
Now you know your expectations, how do you let go of them?
Step 2: Release them
- For people who are very tactile you can do something physically with the piece of paper you wrote them on. Take a red marker and put a big “X” through them, throw the paper away. For some just envisioning them in your mind and watching them fly away is enough. However works for you.
And now that you released them, know they will likely creep back in.
Step 3: Keep them in check
- We can never 100% release our expectations but after we do we need to keep those feelings in check and realize that they are likely idealistic and unattainable we can manage them. When you begin to feel yourself disappointed by your SOs actions or lack of actions think back to your list of expectations and ask yourself: “Is this one of my expectations?” Why is this making me feel this way?