It turns out your expectation of said sacrifice can impact your gratitude and respect towards your significant other and ultimately, your relationship satisfaction.
The study – published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships – quizzed 126 Dutch couples on their general expectations of sacrifice in relationships before they spent eight days reporting on occurrences they noticed in their partnerships (i.e. foregoing one’s dinner preference to accommodate their partner’s). Each day they would also register their gratitude, respect toward their partner, and relationship satisfaction, each measured on a scale from one to seven.
The findings showed that for people with high sacrifice expectations, partner sacrifice didn't impact respect or gratitude, while those with low sacrifice expectation elicited greater respect and gratitude for the partner and increased relationship satisfaction.
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The research suggests that although compromising on self interest to support your significant other is an important part of a happy relationship, once we come to expect these sacrifices from our parters we no longer appreciate them as much.
So is the answer to stop expecting your BF to make you a hot water bottle when you're cramping like a mofo? Not quite. Psychologist Amie M. Gordon says that while you can't completely get past those expectations, you can up your gratitude and respect by looking for something your appreciate about your partner every day and ensure you express your thanks about it.
Another tip is to communicate about the sacrifices you thinks are normal or necessary in your relationship so you're both on the same page. Because you might think skipping The One Where Everybody Finds Out ep (*Friends in joke*) is a big deal, that sacrifice might be going right over his head.