It's just trouble waiting to happen ...
There's a lot to love about procrastinators ... yes, they're always late to the ball, but once they arrive, they're usually interesting, engaging, and a lot of fun!
They are, of course, people just like all of us. And really, who amongst us isn't guilty of a little procrastination from time to time?
But, dating or living with a true, serial procrastinator on a regular basis is not for the faint of heart. A procrastinator's long string of broken promises, lack of accountability, and periods of unexpected irritability, eventually takes its toll, leaving their partner in an endless cloud of uncertainty and doubt.
It can certainly help to understand what procrastination actually is — a miserable, anxiety-ridden cycle of behavior that, in the end, truly isn't about you — though it can surely affect you, and sometimes painfully.
Only you can determine how impactful a loved one's procrastination is on you and whether you can tolerate it. But from my work in the field, I've learned there are three types of people who almost never find happiness with a procrastinator for a partner. Are you one of these types?
1. You're a procrastinator too
Two procrastinators in love usually enable the behavior in one another, tempting and distracting each away from completing important pending tasks.
And while it's certainly fun to play hooky from life’s demands occasionally, sooner or later, the built up frustration of unmet responsibilities catches up to the couple. Feelings of frustration and irritation quickly flash into arguments, the relationship suffers, and suddenly having fun together becomes more challenging.
This combination of frustration with yourself and your partner builds up and slowly erodes the fabric of your love. Rather than facilitating understanding and tolerance towards each other’s challenges, sharing a penchant for procrastination tends to pull you and your procrastinating partner down even lower than you'd go on your own.
2. Your "love language" is "acts of service"
If you're a person who feels most loved when your partner follows through on completing tasks they promised to do, dating a procrastinator is misery waiting to happen. Others find a procrastinator's lack of follow through annoying, but for you, it feels like betrayal or a slap in the face, leaving you wondering if your partner even loves you.
If your love language is "acts of service," you'll struggle endlessly not to take your partner’s inaction personally. They'll swear they "meant to" get that done, or they "really wanted to" do that for you ... but their lack of follow-through will always leave you feeling disappointed and unsettled in their love.
3. You're stressed out or overburdened
All of us feel overwhelmed at times and look to our partner to step in and help out. But when your partner struggles with procrastination, you'll pull your hair out each time their big, well-meaning promises don't translate into actual helpful action, which just escalates your anxiety level even more.
Not being able to count on a procrastinator means you can never really plan on anything, or feel certain that anything will actually happen when they say it will. This just feels disheartening ... and at the extreme, unsafe, particularly if you already wrestle with anxiety (and use planning as a way to cope).
If you're parenting together, extra anxiety heaps on you each time your partner promises the children something and doesn't follow through (or does so the last minute, or two days after you truly needed it). You're always waiting nervously in the wings wondering if you'll need to swoop in to fix things, so your children don't constantly feel the disappointment that you know so well.
I'm sure you've wondered if your partner will ever change, or if they will ever love you enough to even try.
This feeds a toxic and particularly painful insecurity in your mind and heart. And a feeling like that quickly renders a relationship unsustainable.
If you love a procrastinator and see yourself in any of the above categories, be honest with yourself. Recognize what you're up against, tune into how you feel, and decide what you need to move forward. This is the very opposite of procrastinating: facing your anxiety and using it to fuel solutions.
While I know it is sometimes horribly painful to experience the impact of your partner's procrastination habit, living happily with a procrastinator is possible if you are 100 percent realistic about what is possible and reasonable to expect. This requires strong communication, mutual understanding, and a willingness from each of you to do your part to make your relationship work.
Keeping relationships healthy takes effort and practice. If you are looking for more support in this journey, check out my website where you will find more strategies to help you build stronger relationships and find more balance along the way.