Maybe bae promised to drop off some items you needed for your housewarming party tonight and never came through. Or maybe they were super late to dinner when they were meeting your parents for the first time. Whatever they did — the point is, they let you down. And now here you are, your phone poised in position, preparing for digital battle. But not so fast: What’s the best text to send if you’re disappointed in your partner? Spoiler alert: It’s not an angry one.
Crafting the perfect text when you’re feeling disappointed takes some serious self-control, thought, and care. The last thing you want to do is escalate the situation into a full-on fight, after all. So before you fire off a heated message, take a few deep breaths. Remind yourself that you love (or at least like!) this person, and they are human — which means they are far from perfect. Reassure yourself that they likely did not mean to hurt you or let you down. Then, once you’re feeling calmer, take a moment to assess whether it’s worth picking this battle.
“When your partner disappointed you, your first decision is whether to speak up at all,” licensed clinical psychotherapist and relationship expert LeslieBeth Wish tells Elite Daily. "Not all disappointments need to be discussed. Research shows that mutually happy long-term couples learn to let some behaviors slide."
To be clear, Dr. Wish notes that these behaviors are typically minor infractions, like forgetting to hang up clothes, or always running five minutes behind schedule. When you’re dealing with behavior that goes beyond an annoyance and feels downright disrespectful, however, it’s time to open up the line of communication. Because how can your boo make a change in their behavior if they don’t know it bothered you?
Your next decision, according to Dr. Wish, is how to deliver your message.
“No one message fits all,” she explains. “Know your partner.”
If your partner likes using text to communicate with you on a daily basis, then it’s probably OK to start the convo that way. On the other hand, if they prefer calling your talking face to face, it may be best to wait to have that discussion until you can talk on the phone or in person. Since facial and voice cues and a lot of other information is lost in texting, misunderstandings are more likely to happen. So it’s obviously best to hash out a serious discussion until you can talk face to face, even if it’s over FaceTime.
“One of the most important things to consider is the tremendous value in having the ability to actually look someone in the eye, hear the tone of their voice, and to be able to understand better through their body language what it is they’re trying to say to us,” explains Dr. Gary Brown, a dating and relationship therapist. “Yes, texting is convenient but it is not necessarily the most effective and healing way to resolve conflict in order to connect with our partners — especially when we are trying to deal with the inevitable disappointments that we all have. Relying solely on texting imposes too many potential pitfalls. Words alone are often not sufficient.”
That said, you can still bring the issue to your SO’s attention via text if talking face to face isn’t going to be possible in the near future — if only to get the conversation rolling until you see each other again. This will also give them some time to think about their actions. That means less likely to feel unexpectedly cornered, and furthermore, when you finally do talk in person, they may be more prepared to explain themselves.
Now that you’ve decided to send that text, what should you say? As for what you shouldn’t do, Dr. Wish advises avoiding any language that suggests blame.
Ideally, she says it’s best to start off with words of understanding, and end by offering a solution.
For example, if your partner criticized you in public for something and it rubbed you the wrong way, Dr. Wish suggests you might say: “Last night your comment about me and [insert issue] made me think. I didn't know that you were upset about [insert issue]. But let's keep that private and not discuss it in front of others because it hurt and embarrassed me. So, let's agree to discuss anything that bothers us about each other privately, no matter how small the issue might seem. Love you.”
“This example includes kindness, solution, love, and owning up to some ownership of the problem,” adds Dr. Wish.
Don’t underestimate the power of some well-placed emojis, either. Dr. Wish recommends adding a heart emoji, a kiss emoji — anything that adds an affectionate flair to your message. What does this do? It reminds your boo that even though they did something that bugged you, you still love them. Essentially, it adds a lighter tone to their message so that it feels warmer, and less like an attack.
Disappointment is inevitable in any relationship, no matter how healthy and happy it is, and how compatible you are. How you deal with that disappointment, however, can determine whether it strengthens — or takes a toll on — your bond. Communicating your disappointment is the best way to ensure that you don’t begin harboring resentment toward your partner. Not only that, but it allows your boo the opportunity they deserve to avoid disappointing you in the same way down the line.
Remember, if you decide to text bae about your disappointment, be sure to infuse your message with kindness, love, understanding, and last but certainly not least, a solution. That way, they’re less likely to get defensive — and more likely to be inspired to make a change.