What to do when partners don't follow through on their word
One of the common problems women face in their relationships is when their partners don't follow through -- examples: he says he will call, but he doesn't, he says he will text, but he doesn't, or he makes plans for the weekend, and then, bails out.
Needless to say, this causes a lot of disappointment, confusion and anger. I would like to explore the best ways to tackle this, how to best approach this conversation and to resolve this issue with effective communication.
The last thing that we women wish to do when we feel or think that we like a man is to get him upset. Yet, that is exactly what we must be willing to risk to have an authentic relationship. We teach people how to treat us by what we accept and by where we place -- and defend -- our boundaries. When we fail to address or express our feelings when someone doesn’t follow through on their word, then we are saying it is okay to treat us like that. The result? We’ll get more of the same and continue to be annoyed by how he treats us.
Instead, immediately after the first incident, we must speak up and state our disappointment that he failed to call, text, show up, whatever. We must firmly request that he communicate his desire to change his plans. Then, we have the choice of our reaction.
For example, my boyfriend had plans with me and then, was given a great opportunity to help a friend compete in an expensive fishing contest in another state. He called and stated his opportunity, that he realized he already had made plans with me, and was literally asking if I would be okay to change our plans or simply postpone them. What is important here is that he was willing to forgo the fishing competition to keep his word. Of course, I wanted him to enjoy his fishing trip and was delighted that he got to do something that he loves to do in an arena that doesn’t come up very often. Had it been a regular fishing trip, well that might have been a different story. However, I don’t feel he would have canceled on me for a regular activity. The most important thing to remember here is that he was willing to not go fishing, and he communicated his desire to change plans.
Unfortunately, too often we’ll retaliate by either pulling the same stunt and simply not show up, or worse yet, say nothing. If your desire is an authentic relationship that is to be long term, it is highly important to address feelings and his behavior choices immediately after an incident. We do this not by placing blame, but by expressing how his actions caused us to feel and what we wished he had done instead. This clears the air so we are not carrying this around with us and lets him know an alternative way of dealing with these types of incidents in the future.