By the time we reach adulthood, we will have had our fair share of disappointments.
From watching our sister get a toy we secretly coveted when we were little to watching the boy, we had a crush on leaving the dance with another girl when we were a teenager.
If one is alive, one has experienced disappointment!
Disappointment in relationships is normal. That is because each person has their own way of thinking, acting, doing. Even in the best of love stories, there will be moments of anger and disappointment.
Let us examine dealing with disappointment in relationships: what we can do to prevent it, handle it, and recover from it.
What leads to feeling disappointed in relationships?
People can feel disappointment in relationships when their expectations are not being met. Expectations is a complex term because expectations can be vastly different from person to person.
There are basic, universal expectations that we look for in good, healthy relationships—for example, mutual expressions of love, faithfulness, kindness, respect, honesty, and caring.
Unrealistic or fantasy expectations can cause disappointment
And then there are expectations that are perhaps not so much based on reality: for example, thinking your partner can read your mind and “should know” what you want for your birthday, or expecting your partner to be Mr. Fix-It around the house when he has always been awful with a hammer.
These “fantasy expectations” can lead to disappointment in relationships.
So a key element in coping with disappointment in relationships actually starts with adjusting expectations.
Often when people disappoint you, it is because you have overlaid upon them your vision of how you think things “should be.” You think your partner should bea big romantic, like the men you see in the rom-com that you love to watch.
When he doesn’t display these characteristics, like bringing home a huge bouquet of long-stemmed red roses or whisking you off on a surprise romantic weekend, you feel disappointment.
But the reality is that you were viewing him through the lens of what these films were portraying as “romance” and not through a more realistic lens of who your spouse truly is.
10 ways to deal with disappointment in relationships
Here are listed ten key ways to help you save yourself from feeling disappointed in a relationship.
If you follow these tips, you will be able to avoid several reasons that lead to disappointment.
1. Verbalize what your expectations are
No one is a mind-reader. Your partner cannot know what you expect from them unless you tell them.
If you stew in anger each night because they have once again not taken out the garbage without you asking them to, how about approaching the issue in a non-confrontational way?”
“Hey…you know what would make me truly happy? You taking out the trash right after we are done with washing the dinner dishes!” And when he does the chore, give him positive reinforcement for it. (A hot kiss, for example.)
When communicating with your partner, stick to the topic at hand.
If you are going to tell someone you are disappointed in them, it is healthier to focus on the ‘single source of the disappointment’ and not give them a list of all the ills they have caused you over the past month.
Sure, the topic you are bringing up may be related to other relationship disappointments, but save those for another discussion.
8. Let go of expecting your happiness to come from your partner
If you rely on your partner to make you happy, to validate your self-esteem, to give you approval, you will experience disappointment in relationships.
Personal happiness is not something you want to place in the hands of your partner or spouse. You want to self-cultivate this. Give yourself what you need: compassion, nurturing, admiration, self-love.
When you take responsibility for creating your own enriching life, youwill find that things are much less dramatic when people disappoint you. Yes, a relationship should add to your happiness but not be the exclusive source of your happiness.
But with some adjustments to our own personal expectations and a respect for other people’s individual backgrounds, cultures and experiences, we can lessen the number of disappointments we feel, especially disappointment in relationships.
All it takes is some changes in how we perceive things, and we can keep relationship disappointment from constantly knocking at our door.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.