What to Do When You’re Feeling Disappointed in Your Relationship


“Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it.” – Rumi

Have you ever found yourself feeling disappointed with your man because he sometimes doesn’t do or say what you wish he would?

Maybe you hint at what would make you feel happy or even tell him directly, but it seems he just doesn’t hear you. You might wonder if he’s deliberately ignoring you. Or worse he doesn’t care.

And there might also be occasions when he actually does come through with your requests, but then it seems as though he’s giving to you somewhat begrudgingly, as though he feels obligated, leaving you feeling maybe a bit victorious yet curiously flat, more than dissatisfied, not feeling so good after all?

I remember a time when I would feel so sad and bewildered because my then boyfriend, now husband, never said he loved me. It seemed as though he did, yet I still wished and ached for those words.

Or sometimes he would ask me what I wanted for Christmas, and I would excitedly tell him, filled with anticipation as the day approached, yet it was as if I had never said a word. For nothing on the list HE asked for appeared – which left me feeling, hurt, confused, and yes, kind of angry.

There were other times I couldn’t help imagining a fabulous gift or an evening out he would surely plan for and give to me to celebrate my birthday. He always did something for me, yet it never ended up looking the same as I had envisioned. So I felt let down, a little or a lot depending on the disparity between my dream and reality.

Do you have similar stories?

Now here’s something to take in and REALLY consider –

The problem here is NOT with YOUR MAN – the problem is with the EXPECTATIONS you created around him.

And expectations can be tricky things, destructive really. They almost always work against you, inevitably leaving you feeling DISAPPOINTED and often feeling sad, upset, frustrated, wounded, or something else which just doesn’t feel good.

I’m NOT saying you shouldn’t expect anything at all from your man, for respect, kindness, consideration, and love would be reasonable expectations to carry.

YET I would venture to say that these qualities are an is-ness in a relationship. They just are, and you don’t need to think about them at all – IF this is a good man – IF this is the man FOR YOU.

When it comes to things like a card or a gift he might give you for a special occasion like your birthday or Christmas, for example, or anything around which you have created an image in your head and pinned your hopes on, it’s unlikely to look like what you pictured; it will not have met your EXPECTATIONS. And you will feel bad, if only a little.

For example – Let’s say you had your heart set on a beautiful red dress. But he brought you the purple one instead. You like purple as much as red, yet because your expectations had been built up for the red dress, you felt discontented, somewhat if not mostly unhappy with his gift.

BUT had you stayed open and curious to whatever he might bring you, had you allowed the potential for surprise, you would have likely felt thrilled and delighted, touched by his thoughtfulness and care. And you might have discovered you love the purple dress even better. He chose it FOR YOU after all.

When you have an agenda, you close yourself off to possibility. And you will be unable to recognize something which might be totally FABULOUS because it doesn’t look like what you had imagined.

On the other hand when you’re not expecting anything at all, when you can keep your mind and your heart open to whatever he brings for you, when you can feel joy and awe in each and every moment – and gift – you will surely feel pleasantly SURPRISED with and in AWE of it all.

If nothing happens, you didn’t expect it in the first place. Though with this mindset and heart awareness, you might recognize a gift of another sort, something which you would not have noticed otherwise. How wonderful, yes?

For example, there was a five month period where my man was commuting to a job accessible only via airplane, so he would fly up Monday morning and fly back Thursday evening. That year Valentine’s Day fell on a Tuesday. We happened to have concert tickets that day for the symphony (one in a series we had purchased). I was prepared to either give them away or maybe take a friend. Instead, my man flew back home that afternoon to go WITH ME and sleep the night with me before having to go back to work again Wednesday morning. This could have been such a lovely, potentially passionate, love filled mid-week rendezvous.

Yet I held onto the expectation of a card, flowers, and/or a gift. So the entire evening I felt deflated, separate from him, not very happy. And I ended up missing out on what was actually such a wonderful present from him – time together spent in love which is SO much better than anything else.

When you are able to release your expectations, and simply keep your heart open to anything and everything, when something does happen, you will feel SO thrilled, even if it’s only a pretty seashell or an unusually colored pebble. You were thought of in those moments, and this can feel so precious.

With this new way of thinking and feeling, the daisies he picked for you will feel sweet, a special treasure. He was holding YOU fondly in HIS HEART while he selected his gift for you. And you will feel touched, cared for – LOVED.

BUT if you had roses from the florist stuck in your head, other beautiful miracles, another sort of loving gesture from him will look like weeds, an afterthought, your expectations unmet, and you will feel upset.

And look what you would have missed out on – ALL the wonderfulness from YOUR MAN which has been there along with an opportunity for a lovely connection – with HIM.

He really does want to do for and give to you, but not when he’s feeling pressured (yes he can feel even your unexpressed expectations) and not when he can’t seem to get it right.

When I really GOT this important lesson, I starting hearing the words “I love you” in my husband’s actions, in how he looks out for me, in his adoring gaze, in his loving touch, in his sweet kisses, in his tender caresses, in the special gestures reserved ONLY for me. He had been telling me he loves me all along, but because I was caught up in how I thought it “should” be, I had missed it.

I was now able to recognize his innumerable gifts which were actually amazing and touched me more deeply because they were filled with his heart.

He was giving to me in HIS WAY, and when I shifted my perspective around this, I discovered his way was very SPECIAL indeed.

Expectations plainly and simply set you up to NOT feel good, and they do nothing to bring you closer to  your man – instead they pull you apart, little bit by little bit.

When your heart is as open as possible to life and love, flowing with each moment – whether it feels good or not, when you can let go of those expectations, your life and YOUR RELATIONSHIP will feel SO much easier, SO much happier, SO much more fun, SO much more LOVED FILLED. And you will rarely feel disappointed in your man or your relationship again.

Have you experienced something like this? Please share your story in the comments below.

Photo by Helmuts Guigo

25 thoughts on “What to Do When You’re Feeling Disappointed in Your Relationship”

    1. I’m confused. We’re supposed to expect nothing so that when the men in our lives treat us like a doormat we won’t be disappointed? This article is what is wrong with so many of us. We are resigned to being the least important members of our households, and when we feel badly about it, it’s because we’re being selfish. I’m sorry but that’s wrong. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Reciprocity in a relationship is important. If one member is a giver and the other is a taker it needs to be communicated not swept under the rug. Before everyone jumps down my throat, I’m not referring to the person that expects everything to be perfect or their significant other to read their minds everyday. But if you’re feeling innately disappointed with regularity in your relationship it calls for communication with your partner, not a complete destruction of your expectations.

      1. OMG. You’ve said this so beautifully. To quote Maya Angelou, “Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.” Is it so wrong to want to be treated like we matter? The only way I won’t be disappointed is if I have no expectations at all?

      2. I agree, it’s kind of sad to think lowering my standards and having no expectations is the solution. The reason I have expectations in the first place is because it’s exhausting and even demeaning to be the one constantly putting energy into building the relationship with little reciprocation.

  1. Awesome article Dominique! I’ve been there so many times. Expectations can be tricky and hard to let go of…

  2. Lori – Thank you so much Lori. You are so right about the trickiness of expectations. They can so easily sneak up on you, making what could be a wonderful feeling situation into a not so good one if not an awful feeling one. And it’s all about gaining awareness around yourself and your habits and patterns and working to nip the pesky expectations in the bud.

    Thank you for sharing.


  3. I really enjoyed this article. It puts such a different perspective on relationships and relating – different really than anything you hear out there… i.e., the conventional wisdom. Why do we get so caught up in expectations in a relationship? Are we taught it? Or does it come naturally to us women?

  4. Mary – Thank you so much. I feel delighted you understand what I’m conveying, what I have come to learn works not only in a relationship but in one’s life overall. And it’s not even about working. It’s about what creates a beautiful feeling environment for yourself, within and without, one which feels good and fulfilling more and more of the time.

    I don’t think expectations come naturally to anyone. The only thing innate in everyone is LOVE, and love is what we are born as; love is what we are at core. But love gets covered over very quickly starting with the first time we felt pain whether it be physical or emotional of both. And the layers build over the years with each wound or trauma.

    The rest is taught, and this includes fear. For example, we don’t know to fear heights until we either fall off a ledge, or our care givers warn us away. The former usually is the most effective.

    I think in part we are taught to expect which closes us off quickly to possibility, yet it’s also in part fear, something we all have. Yet since fear is something we learn, then I suppose expectations are totally something we take on, learn. It’s all around us after all.

    Fear is insidious, and many if not most attempt to keep fear at bay by attempting to control – other people, self, the surroundings, which can maybe alleviate the fear for awhile and in some circumstances, yet long term, not so much. And in even in the short term, I think it’s likely more of a band-aid which is really only covering over thing not being dealt with. The attempts at control ends up inevitably controlling us. And it also tends to push the people we might want the most away.

    Thank you again for being here.

    Love to you.


    1. Dear Dominique

      I found this article because I searched for an answer to my huge feeling of disappointment. I was taught to have high expectations and find it very hard to get rid of them. I constantly measure my partner up to an impossible standard that even I don’t meet. I feel he holds me back and doesn’t inspire me. That he isn’t the alpha male I craved for to match my alpha female self image. But I am nothing of the sort. I am caring and sensitive and very loving. And he has very little ambitions other than being with me and increasing our family (I already have a child). He is broke and works shift jobs and only just began to attempt to build a career path.I feel I have a lot to learn from him and force the resentment down. After all I brought him into my life so there must be a reason he is there. And I will stick to thst thought because I am tired of not being happy. Thank you for writing this and being there. I needed to read this today.

  5. well, nice article. But I am confused. I am confused if my expectations are unrealistic. I am with a 28 year old man for 3 months. I am 30. From the beginning, I realized that he does not have enough time for me to stay together and enjoy each others company. He claimed he loved me from last 5 years that is why he was single so long until he got me. so here is the list of my disappointments. please let me know am I being obsessive?
    1. We never spend long time, private times together. It happened maybe 3/4 days in three months.
    2. I have a job, and i study. Still I manage time for him. But he does not have job at the moment. But he is always busy. what is he doing? He is drinking with friends or playing games with cousin or going to see his grandma that he claims ill often or taking all responsibilities of the neighborhood to solve their problems.
    3. One night we had a date plan. His friends called. He drove me back home as soon as he could to be with his friend.
    4. After 3 days of 48 hours work, I got some free time to spend with him. But that day he chose to watch a football match with his cousin.
    5. He behaves as if he is involved in all family matters and his opinion is so important. But come on, his parents are alive and so his grandparents. He doesn’t need to stay in a property dividing meeting.
    6. I don’t feel important to him. I never felt it.
    7. He never helps me with anything. But he would do everything for friends and cousins.
    8. He still wants to say he loves me and wants to marry me. I am not sure if i can be happy with him this way.
    9. I am his last moment plan.
    10. I don’t want gifts, i just wanted his time. Despite being unemployed, he never managed to give me enough time, and now he is joining a new job. So i can guess he will disappear.
    I am feeling insane. Am I the one to blame? HELP

    1. Your not alone, a big discussion has be had as you probably always try to be understanding and that is taken for granted. Just an idea I’m not a counselor.

  6. I have been really struggling with expectations lately and it has been causing a lot of fights in my relationship.

    I am afraid I will lose my boyfriend because of it. I need to change and your article is of great guidance to me.

  7. what does the man do in the relationship when he is feeling that the expectations are already bringing him down and feeling tons of pressure?

  8. I came across this article while trying to understand why I feel so disappointed with my husband.
    I find your opinion as to why women are disappointed in men to be skewed.
    As I sit here wondering what expectations I have set, I realise that I set less expectations for my husband then for my children. With that said, I feel some expectations should be met.
    You are literally telling women it is their fault, that their husbands do not meet certain expectations. You are wrong!
    Why are my expectations deemed too high, when all I want is for him to throw his waste into the garbage rather the floor?

  9. I expect my husband to help me with the baby, remember our anniversary, birthday or anyother holiday or special day, a simply phone call during the day to say hi, or to try and peel his eyes of his phone… needless to say I am always dissapointed. Which leaves me very frustrated and unsatisfied with my marriage.

  10. I expect my boyfriend to spend time with my children and I, not just me. When they are with their dad he wants to spend time together but when they are with me he is too busy. It has been going on for a year and at first I didnt want to pressure him or rush the children into meeting a new man. But a year later I feel disappointed that I have to put my foot down and basically demand he spend quality time with us as a family. I think he should initiate this at some point. He is 10 years younger than me and I do understand he does not have kids so these things dont cross his mind but he knew from the beginning we were a package deal. I am also always disappointed when I have some need for his help such as helping me move or my car broke down and I need a ride and he is too busy or sleeping. I was with my kids’ dad for 6 years and he would drop everything to help me anytime, even now. He is older and more mature and I feel he is a much better man all around. I have expectations and he always lives up to them because he set the standard! Unfortunately, during a rough patch and a split from him I met someone new and I am very in love with the new guy. But he is lazier, slower and less experienced so I have to be extremely patient when I want to scream at times. This article is helpful in that wa, I think. I have to expect nothing and I wont be disappointed. Ha!

  11. How do i let go of my expectations? I am constantly disapointed he either blatantly disregards my requests or just forgets. He says he loves me we are getting married in two months but I am panicking because i dont feel loved. I feel invisible.

    1. This article is crap. Sorry. I’m a married man with three kids. If he doesn’t treat you as you would hope or expect, there are either one of two things going on:

      1) He really doesn’t care for you that much. Some people hide in relationships and enjoy the “idea of a relationship” more than the emotional intimacy.
      2) He’s replicating what he saw / learned growing up. This can be changed – but understand that this is a new way of relating to someone.

      And if you’re looking for a good article on this matter, here’s what one would / should say: “Honey, here’s what you can expect from me. [fill in the blank] Here’s what I expect from you. [fill in the blank] And here are the non-negotiables. [this is your list of things that will NEVER be acceptable in your relationship]

      Now off you go!

      Caveat: I have met some extremely demanding women, and the above assumes you’re not one of those people. Introspection is always a good starting point.

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