Are Too-High Expectations Ruining Your Relationships?

The Surprising Science Behind Our Rising Relationship Demands

Nate Bagley
9 min readDec 23, 2021


Photo by Chermiti Mohamed from Pexels

Watch the video version of this article here…

We expect more from our relationships today than at any other time in history.

As Esther Perel puts it:

“Today, we turn to one person to provide what an entire village once did.”

You want your partner to be your best friend, your lover, your co-parent, your protector, your provider, your therapist, your travel buddy, your cheerleader, your maid, your chef, the person who pushes you to grow and be better, and the person who loves you for exactly who you are.

You expect them to share your opinions, your values, your dreams. To be in a good mood all the time. To manage conflict with grace and poise. To never break a promise or betray your trust. To surprise you with gifts, give you compliments, spend meaningful time with you, encourage you to pursue your hobbies, and give you back rubs when you’re having a bad day.

Never in humanity have we ever expected more from one person…

And ironically, we’re busier and more distracted than any other time in history, which means we have less time, less energy, and less attention to offer our partners.

So, we demand more from our relationships, but we’re investing less.

See the problem?

In his book “The All Or Nothing Marriage,” Marriage Researcher, Eli Finkel says that one of the main reasons the expectations and demands that we have for our relationships have continued to increase is because our relationship needs parallel Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

He likens Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs to a mountain.



Nate Bagley

I’m the creator of the Growth Marriage Podcast ( My mission in life is to rid the world of mediocre love.