Disappointment is like worry and care. It can be painful when it’s within a relationship.

I like the Chinese for a few reasons. Their food is delicious. Their toys are great. You should try their proverbs sometime. Here’s an one: “That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent”. Witty and true.

Disappointments are a part of life. They creep in when your expectations do not change. The situation gets worse when each partner insists on vehemently clinging onto their premarital identities and believe that the honeymoon will never end.

How does one deal with disappointments?

As a first step let us get some myths out of the way:

The perfect life is a myth.

The perfect partner is a myth.

And so is the perfect relationship.

That done, let us to reconcile to the fact that relationships bring with them a medley of situations: great times, tough times and a mixed bag of in-betweens that include disappointments.

Often the cause of disappointments is in believing that the partner does not change. Both partners change. They change physically and temperamentally. And neither of them is to blame. It is the force of circumstances that brings about these changes: career, workload, children and a variety of other conditions.

Redefine your relationship. In the beginning, your partner’s primary concern was your happiness. However, as time goes by other concerns creep in. There are so many new issues competing for your spouse’s energy and attention. You can no longer expect to be the centre of your partner’s universe; so tone down your expectations.

Accept that neither of you is infallible. Both of you are prone to make mistakes. It is quite possible that on occasions you are the cause of disappointment. If this is the case apologise. And let your apology be sincere.

During courtship and even in the early years of marriage your partner did whatever you had anticipated: act in a certain way, think the way you do, do certain things for you and respond to things in a predetermined manner. Do not expect that your partner will continue to behave like this. As years go by, circumstances determine your partner’s behaviour.

Communicate your disappointment to your spouse. But do not attack. Rather explain the reason for disappointment. Neither of you wants to make the other unhappy. There is no relationship in which one partner is happy while the other is unhappy. It is therefore reasonable to expect that both partners will wholeheartedly resolve unsavory situations.

Empathise with your spouse. Empathy transforms anger into remorse and forgiveness. In every healthy relationship, if one of the partners is the cause of disappointment it is logical to conclude that it was either inadvertent or the consequence of circumstance.

Learn to control your ego, emotions and expectations surrounding your relationship. When you do this, you will be creating more peace in your life and make the relationship more pleasurable.

Focus on the happiness of your spouse. This will encourage reciprocity.

Do your part sincerely and everything else will fall in place.

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