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6 ways to deal with disappointments in a relationship

Yesterday was your wedding anniversary but it slipped your mind. Ridden with guilt, you planned a fancy dinner at your better half’s favourite restaurant. Unfortunately, you had to cancel it at the last minute because of an unavoidable work call. You got home, apologised again, but this time, the conversation turned into a heated argument opening the floodgates to complaints. “Why don’t you understand?” “You are always busy!” “You have changed!”

Issues from the past are dug out and hurled at each other. It is certainly not the first time when a disappointment has turned into a conflict. It is the fact that with each conflict the chasm between you and your partner grows bigger. Or so it feels.

Disappointments in a relationship can come in many forms. The important thing is to address them before they shapeshift into a conflict or something ugly. So, how can you deal with disappointments before they cripple your relationship? Relationship experts say most of the disappointments spring from unmet expectations and a lack of communication between partners. Those in steady and stable relationships testify that the maturity, understanding, and patience with which a couple handles the ebb and flow of their relationship determines its strength and longevity. Bringing these long-standing truths to the fore, Soulveda shares perspectives and actions that help deal with disappointments in relationships.

Keep the confrontational urge at bay

Confrontations, casual disagreements, and minor fights are a part and parcel of every relationship. According to social worker Sagaya Shanthi, “Confrontations are necessary. But it is vital to approach the topic in the right manner as an overtly aggressive confrontation can cause irreparable harm to your relationship.” So, when you feel disappointed by your partner’s behaviour, it’s best to discuss the issue and understand each other’s perspectives, instead of flying off the handle. Having a healthy dialogue will enable you to keep those unwanted emotions at bay before they do irreparable damage to your relationship. “A two-way dialogue can go a long way in saving your fractured relationship,” says counsellor Celine Suguna of Vimochana.

Arguments between couples

Arguments between couples tend to escalate when one of them takes things too personally

Know the facts first

Trivial things like working late or forgetting an important date can also lead to disappointments and resentment. That’s when, it is important to stay calm, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you may not know all the facts. As American author, Fawn Weaver said, “Happily ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a choice.”

It’s only fair that we give a chance to the other person to explain their point of view. That is how we can even hope to understand their actions. “If still in doubt, sit down and discuss those trivial issues,” says Suguna.

Put yourself in your partner’s shoes

A good way to deal with anger and resentment that sets in due to frequent disappointments is to see the picture from your partner’s perspective. That means putting yourself in your partner’s shoes to understand what they might be going through. Their problems and frustrations are just as important to be understood and empathised with. Empathy is the foundation of a relationship where two people are well understood.

Listen first, talk next

“It is very important to listen to your partner,” says Shanthi. A patient, attentive listener will always hear out their partner’s thoughts, instead of jumping to conclusions that, at best, hurt and offend the other person. This is likely to infuriate the other partner, only taking the whole situation downhill. Once anger sets in, the interaction keeps getting harder and more unpleasant. More so, lending an ear in a state of seething anger is a lost cause. So, next time there is a heated argument with your partner, ensure you hear their side of the story first before you tell them yours.

fractured family relationships

A two-way dialogue can go a long way in saving your fractured relationship

Weigh the negatives against the positives

If your partner has made a mistake that has left you disappointed, don’t view that incident in isolation. Instead, remind yourself of the good memories with your better half. “Compare the good things your partner did earlier, to this instance and look to find closure and perhaps a solution,” says Suguna. Utter disappointment can blind you, distancing you further from the voice of reason. So, take a step back and a deep breath, calm yourself down, and address the issue at hand.

Look at the bigger picture

A partner’s actions can be hurtful, but a rash decision can end what was once a harmonious and healthy relationship. Disappointments in a relationship can’t be bigger than the relationship itself or the individuals involved. Therefore, it’s good advice to view your disappointment in the context of the bigger picture. “In some cases, couples may have children. So, stop and think about the bigger picture,” says Suguna.

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