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The Art of Dealing with Disappointment After 60

We all experience disappointment. Whether it’s caused by broken promises, health issues, world crises, financial distress, or by family arguments, disappointment is a regular visitor.

Disappointment dampens our spirits with feelings of helplessness and futility when things are not as we would like or expect them to be. When we are experiencing disappointment, it is difficult to find happiness, be optimistic and look forward to each new day.

We’ve all had to deal with the disappointment of heartbreak. Relationships do fall apart and recovering seems to get more difficult as we get older. Whether we’ve lost a loved one through a break-up or their passing, the sense of loss and emptiness can be emotionally crippling.

When you’re older, you tend to think the person was our last chance at love, which makes disappointment from heartbreak more difficult with each passing year.

Could our unrealistic expectations of others be causing us so much emotional and intellectual turmoil?

Generally, we want to see the best in people. Perhaps we are too eager to give people the benefit of the doubt, putting our trust where it isn’t warranted. Some of us may be ignoring someone’s bad behavior, hoping it will miraculously go away.

We need to better handle disappointment so we can avoid or recover from it as quickly as possible. Here are 5 ways to better handle, deal with and understand disappointment:

Manage Expectations

We need to carefully manage our expectations to ensure that they are realistic, not wishful thinking and blind hope. We need to realize that outcomes may not be what we want and be honest with ourselves if we are being overly optimistic.

It is okay to expect the worst if the evidence points us in that direction. We can then be better prepared for the results and not experience so much disappointment when things turn out differently than hoped for.

Accept Reality

We need to take off our rose-colored glasses and see what is really there, and not see what we want to see. Often this is very difficult, as we do want to be optimist and see the best in others. Look back at what has happened, what may happen and what is likely to happen.

If someone behaves a certain way, don’t expect a change, unless there is evidence that they will behave differently. Just because you want them to act a certain way, does not mean they will.

We need to accept that the people around us are who they are. Don’t feel bad about knowing that someone will not stop smoking because they should. Don’t be disappointed in yourself because you couldn’t resist the Chocolate Lava Bomb for desert.

Accept that in certain situations, it is what it is. If you put a delicious dessert on your plate, you will eat it! This isn’t being negative. It’s being realistic.

Remove Dependencies on Things That You Can’t Control

When we depend on the actions of others for our happiness, we need to ensure we are not depending on others based solely on what they are saying.

Find some evidence to either support or negate their promises. In this way you are depending on what you have discovered based on the evidence. Intellectually, we know that if someone repeatedly demonstrates the same negative behavior, we shouldn’t ignore the evidence, but we often do.

We need to be confident with our expectations so we don’t beat ourselves up with “why did I trust that person/company/product” when disappointment sets in.

Have Alternative Plans

Always plan out how you will handle things. Don’t just have one plan, have a few for each situation, so you’ll know what you are going to do depending on the results.

By having a plan for both good and bad outcomes, you’ll balance your expectations. This could help mitigate the disappointment if the outcome isn’t what you hoped for.

For example, a plan for controlling your tendency to devour deserts could have you avoiding them as best you can. But if you do indulge, you also have a plan to cut down on your food intake for the next few days.

Be Positive About Yourself

Love yourself and do things that are good for you. This includes thinking good thoughts and seeing yourself in a positive way. This will give you the confidence to manage your expectations, accept reality and remove your dependency on what you can’t control.

Disappointment is part of life. There is no way around this simple fact. But we can handle and control it if we have a better understanding of what caused it. Having a positive outlook on life and looking forward to each new day keeps us happy, healthy, and able to enjoy ourselves.

It’s all good!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What advice would you give to a friend who is trying to deal with a disappointment in their life? When was the last time that you were disappointed and how did you deal with it? Please join the conversation.

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Mark Steven Porro

Focus on the joy! There’s plenty out there if you look for it.

Stephanie Bryant

Loving myself is the root of my problems. People tell you what you should do to be able to do this but it’s much harder with all I’ve been through and going through. I have gotten joy out of helping others all these years but I’ve lost myself in doing that. I’m 62 and know I need to think of me first but tough to teach an old dog new tricks. Wish there were classes to learn techniques. I have not been able to do it on my own. I have a lot of negative people in my life, family that’s difficult to disengage from.

Susan King

I would say, its not necessarily your expectations that are unrealistic, but the person you may have the expectations of. Is it unrealistic to have the expectation of a 50+ year friendship that you might need them in a crisis? No. But if that person is the type who is not a giving person, one who has a history of not being there for you… then the expectation is not realistic, but expecting it from that particular person is. Don’t set yourself up for heartbreak by asking people for assistance when they have an empty emotional bucket… they simply don’t have it to give.


I am struggling with disappoint right now. I lost my husband of 40+ years in June. I was very supported my family for the first few month, however as everyone else got back to their “normal” I have not. One grandson who I practically raise has had a baby at 18 and is living 1 hour away with the girl and her Dad. Now that the baby has come, they feel the hour drive is too far for the baby. Really the baby’s mother was told by her mom that my daughter was more worried about the baby than her when the baby was born. I haven’t done anything to upset her yet they still will not come visit using the excuse it is too long of a right for the baby who is now 6 month old and I as the great Mimi has seen her twice. Then my daughter moved a few (8) miles from the house she had near me and she is too involve with her wife and 6 year old nephew – she rarely calls to check on me. My 29 yo grandson who has lots of mood issues he and his disabled (64 year old ) mom live with (68 yo) me and he is upset with me because I am still mourning my husbands death. I also have some mobility issues and pain which effects me every day. So.. I am fighting back trying not to judge or expect too much from them yet I am having a hard time with that. Blessing to you from Texas.


I am 60 had to leave my boyfriend after 22 yrs to help my mom she is 84 She is a handful plus take care of my boyfriend he has suffered a broken neck now he is getting worse I’m both there caregivers And work 10hrs a day at my job .I am depressed have anxiety mood swings I have been to coupling which isn’t helping much I have no friends No time for myself I suggest reading Afffirmations and Gratitude appa they are good for support Hang in there I have tolearn to love myself first which is really hard Maybe you need to meet someone to talk too I took my aggression out on them . It wasn’t good Think Calm Breathe you have a choice chance And renew yourself for you Hope This Helps You can talk to me Sincerely Michele 😊

Deborah Hauser

Honestly Patricia I’d move away from all of them if I were you. Not states away but towns away. I’d start over again. I don’t mean stamping your foot & making a dramatic exit. I do mean finding a quiet little apartment filled with peace. And have the mental space to reconfigure my life to my age & to my needs & to my desires. You can pray for these family members, if that’s your practice … but restart your life with physical distance. I’ve learned at 65 it’s very possible to love people from a safe distance. Best of everything to you.


Thank you so much for the great words.

The Author

About Perley-Ann Friedman, The Happy Cat. I now live on Koh Lanta, a small island in southern Thailand. I am enjoying my alternative lifestyle as I ease into retirement. I’m in my 60s, healthy, active, have red hair and totally love cats. I’ve consciously chosen to be positive and to continuously grow as I journey through life. Visit me at

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