Positive Psychology | Disappointment in relationships.

5 Things to Remember When Dealing With Disappointment In Relationships

This is inevitable, people are people, and we’re bound to bring each others happiness and disappointment.

Of course you can always move to a house in the country, get 25 cats and be happy that way, but if you’re willing to make yourself vulnerable to the joys of life with other human beings, you’re making yourself vulnerable to some degree of frustration.

Unless you master a very important part of your mental structure – your expectations.


All disappointment, specially disappointment in relationships, originates in our expectations. How we believe someone should feel about us, how they should treat us, or even how they should behave in the world. And the closer the relationship the higher the expectation of behaviour and the stronger the frustration.

Sure you feel disappointed about someone in the bus who doesn’t stand up to give a pregnant woman a seat but, coming from a stranger, that’s a minor disappointment for you. But if the person you’ve been married to for more than 10 years suddenly behaves in a totally unexpected way, the pain of disappointment can become very hard to deal with.


In minor or major disappointments in life, this is what I try to remind myself of:


Be grateful to see reality as it is.

When someone does something unexpected, and shows me a side that I didn’t know about, I’m always grateful to be given a wider perspective of reality. Even if it’s a hard truth to bare with, it’s still better than living with a lie. So the sooner the truth comes to the surface the better.

To see reality as it is is to accept that it isn’t as I want it to be, and that’s something that needs to be accepted rather than resisted.


Accept that people aren’t always the best version of themselves.

We all have our faults, wishes, needs, traumas and wounds. We’re all individual beings with big life stories. To expect others to be perfect is just unrealistic. People inevitably have faults, just like we do. Just like we might have disappointed people around us, most likely without even realising it.


Decide what’s best for you.

Be truthful about your standards, about how you want to be treated and who you want to have around you in this life’s journey.

After being disappointed in a relationship, it’s our choice to whether keep that relationship alive (if there’s any chance for that to happen) or to simply let it go.

If you decide to keep the relationship, forgive truly and completely, but if you decide to let that relationship go then also let go of any grudge.

I’ve decided to be very careful with the people I surround myself with so I had to let go of many “friendships” who were disappointing me, not living up to my standards of friendship, and pulling me down. There was disappointment there and it wasn’t easy to let go, but I dealt with it by valuing self-respect and self-love over unhealthy co-dependency.

In romantic relationships things can be a little different as there is usually more co-dependency and with more intimacy comes more knowledge of one another and more possibility to find disappointment.

The point is, how tolerant are you? How high are your standards? How much are you willing to give up on your expectations?


Love yourself.

Just because someone didn’t behave the way you expected it doesn’t mean that it’s your fault or that you’re not worthy of a better treatment. People will behave poorly because of what’s inside of them, not because of you.

Beating yourself up for another person’s poor behaviour is to take the blame for something that’s not your fault.

You might have no idea of the reasons that lead to that behaviour and the reason might be much more intricate and related to the person’s life’s story than you can ever imagine.

So, in case of disappointment, first and most importantly, love yourself.


And, if you can, love the person who disappointed you.

Because that’s the only way to truly let go. To understand that they’re doing the best they know and can, and if that’s not as much as the best we think they should, then that’s ok. It’s the way it is, and that’s always ok because we can’t make it in any other way.

So to be able to love the other person as she/he is, or at least not hold grudges against them, is to respect ourselves enough to not keep a negative energy within us and instead be an example of peace, love and high standards of living.



How do you deal with disappointment?

Have any particular situation you’d like to share about this?

I’d love to hear from you!

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