Tips on Communicating Disappointment to a Man

Expressing your disappointment constructively and at an appropriate time can help head off an argument.
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In every relationship, you will experience disappointment from time to time. Whether you are in a new relationship and feel disappointed that you boyfriend rarely calls you or are in a long-term relationship and are disappointed in how your man treated your friends, making your feelings known is crucial, Rori Raye, author of “Have The Relationship You Want,” tells the dating site

1 Share Your Feelings

When you are communicating your disappointment, avoid cutting your man down or blaming him for his behavior in a rude tone. This will likely put him on the defensive and lead to feelings of disrespect, which can break down the conversation. Instead, assert your disappointment in terms of how you feel. Try to start you statements with “I feel.” For example, saying “I feel disappointed when you forget to call me after work” will probably be more effective than telling him that he is forgetful or does not care about you. In short, share your emotions without becoming too emotionally charged.

2 Avoid Superlatives

When you are feeling disappointed, it is easy to forget that most relationship setbacks are isolated incidents or something that you have observed only occasionally. For instance, telling you man that he is “always” rude or “never” picks up his dirty clothes is probably an exaggeration. As with blame, using superlatives to describe your man’s behavior is likely to cause an argument rather than a productive discussion. Instead of blaming your man, phrase your disappointment accurately so that you can address the root of the problem. For example, you might say, “I felt disappointed that you cancelled our date night two weeks in a row” instead of “You never go out with me.” While the first statement expresses a specific disappointment, the second says very little about what is disappointing you.

3 Stay on Topic

Although the discussion about your disappointment might bring up relationship issues other than the immediate problem, save those issues for another time, advises psychologist John M. Grohol of PsychCentral in his article "9 Steps to Better Communication Today." Bringing up subjects other than the immediate issues will typically just escalate things, explains Grohol. For example, if you are feelings disappointed that your boyfriend forgot your anniversary but are also upset about ongoing issues about how you divide up chores, stick to the issue of your anniversary for now, but take time later on, when you are feeling calm, to bring up your other concerns before they have time to escalate into feelings of resentment.

4 Time Your Talk Appropriately

Timing can be important when expressing your disappointment. For example, if you are disappointed because your man forgot to stop and pick up the groceries because he had to work late, consider waiting until the next day to talk about your feelings when he is not feeling tired or stressed. Bringing up disappointments when either of you are feeling unusually tired, stressed, hungry or otherwise not at your best can make it difficult to have a constructive discussion that will end with problem-solving rather than arguing.

Anna Green has been published in the "Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision" and has been featured regularly in "Counseling News and Notes," Keys Weekly newspapers, "Travel Host Magazine" and "Travel South." After earning degrees in political science and English, she attended law school, then earned her master's of science in mental health counseling. She is the founder of a nonprofit mental health group and personal coaching service.