Handling Disappointments In Relationships

It is clear that there is no such thing as a perfect relationship. Unfortunately, as negative as it sounds, we all to some degree or another are settling for something less than our perfect mate. Before I offend everyone who believes that their relationship is good, let me clarify that this does not mean that you cannot have a deeply, meaningful, wonderful relationship. It only means that everyone is fallible and you cannot expect perfection in your partner.

What does it mean to except less than the ideal? It means that you will experience disappointments in your partner. As a man, you cannot expect your wife to make a good living, look great, be a great mother and homemaker, be thrifty, sexy but reserved, and also have enough energy to satisfy your every sexual desire as often as you wish. As a woman, you cannot expect your husband to be the rock of stability, be able to talk for hours with you, enjoy shopping, romantic walks on the beach, be spontaneous, but also hard working, disciplined, and family oriented. Both ideals sound great, but no partner will live up to that fantasy and each partner will find themselves disappointed.

How well do you handle that disappointment? Your answer defines the level of happiness and success in your relationship. Some people cannot handle disappointments very well. When they arrive home and see that what they hoped for is not there, they shut down, become enraged, or passively aggressive punish their partner by withholding love or act out in some other unhealthy fashion.

What I have learned is that people that love each other don't plan to be or want to be disappointed and most people while driving home are excited to see their partners. However, when the disappointment comes, that excitement goes quickly by the wayside.

So what are you supposed to do? You have to redefine your relationship. You have to understand what is important to you in your relationship and then learn to express that to your partner and your partner must do the same to you. It is critical to understand that there has to be complete honesty with where you find yourself disappointed and then together work on those issues. For example, if as a woman you want your husband to be more spontaneous, then you have to vocalize that need, then make a plan to change that behavior. Or, if as a man, you would like more sex then you need to understand what it would take to make that happen which would require understanding what it takes to create that opportunity in your household whether it is more flirtation, giving your wife more alone time, or just helping out more with the kids.

Once the plan is agreed upon then there needs to be major commitment to the change process. Change does not occur overnight and will commonly regress if the change is not reinforced. My suggestion is that in your plan of change you set up consistent, frequent checkins on how the changes are going. During those checkins you will have the opportunity to validate what is going well, improve what is not working, and continue the communication process. What you will find as a secondary gain is that you and your partner will believe you can work through any issue. You will learn how each of you communicate and what it takes to reach a compromise. As a result of your hard work, you will experience much less disappointments in your relationship and find yourself with a deeper connection.