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Dr. Aline Zoldbrod - Sexual Health
Dr. Aline Zoldbrod is a well-known Boston-based licensed psychologist, individual and couples therapist, and an AASECT certified sex therapist. She is the author of three commercially published books about sexuality and relationships. Her book, SexSmart: How Your Childhood Shaped Your Sexual Life and What to Do About It has been translated into four languages and was recognized as one of the top three sex-help books of the year. She is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Michigan Sexual Health Certificate Program. You can find her at sexsmart.com.
Tags: relationships | counseling | disappointment | negotiation

The Price of Being in a Relationship

Dr. Aline Zoldbrod By Tuesday, 12 July 2022 04:42 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

The textbook definition of disappointment is the negative emotion experienced when you do not get your hopes and expectations met. Disappointment, then, is an inevitable aspect of life. The feeling may include other difficult emotions, such as sadness, frustration, or anger.

I was surprised recently when I was talking with a couple about an upsetting experience during a weekend sojourn to the lake. One woman wanted to eat out at a nice restaurant for lunch, the other woman wanted to get takeout and bring it home in order to enjoy together on the beautiful deck of their rented house.

Eventually,  the woman who wanted to eat takeout capitulated and ate at the restaurant. But unfortunately, her food was not good, and it was too fattening, and the room was too noisy, and she was sorry she had relented and gone to the restaurant.

I asked why she had not just spoken up and said she did not want to eat in the restaurant. She said she didn’t want to disappoint her wife.

I explained that disappointment was a normal part of every couple’s relationship, because no two people want the same thing every minute of the day.

She was surprised at my acceptance about using the word disappointed. And I was utterly amazed when she told me that her previous couples’ therapist had told them to never use the word “disappointed.”

I can’t get inside that therapist’s mind, but I can’t for the life of me imagine what she was thinking. I’ve been a couples’ therapist for more than four decades, taught courses, and given lectures on couples’ issues, and I have never heard of such a thing

I think it is important that couples normalize the emotion of disappointment, which is just t is one person getting their hopes frustrated. How in the world could that not happen, periodically, when two people’s lives are entwined? People in a relationship are not twins or clones, so they won’t always want the same thing. Life with others is all about asking for what you want and negotiation.

The only thing I can imagine is that this therapist had parents who were forever telling her that they were disappointed in her, and maybe that made her feel so bad about herself that it turned her against using this very important and useful word in any and all situations.

I see way more problems when couples shut themselves down from expressing what their hopes and expectations are. When they do express themselves, there can at least be a discussion.

If you want pizza and the other person wants shrimp, speak up! Negotiate! Take turns. Someone will be disappointed some of the time, and that’s fine.

Of course, some issues are far more important than others. Some — like whether or when to have children, or how many to have — are literally life-altering. If wishes clash in those kinds of major life decisions, it might not be a bad idea to get some help negotiating from a third party.

My message to everyone is to try to communicate your wishes to your partner, negotiate, and to be unsurprised when you only get what you want part of the time. That’s the price of being in a relationship.

© 2023 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

Disappointment is a normal part of being in a relationship — it is unavoidable.
relationships, counseling, disappointment, negotiation
Tuesday, 12 July 2022 04:42 PM
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