How many lies and how much disappointment should you put up with in your relationship?
Another broken promise.
If your relationship is struggling, you might be looking for some glimmer of hope that everything will be okay. You may be searching for some sign that you and your partner will work things out, despite your history of conflict, arguing, jealousy and maybe even cheating.
Perhaps you two have considered calling it quits but you decided to give your love relationship or marriage one more chance. You and your partner may have resolved to change the habits that are destroying trust.
You have promised one another to be less argumentative.
You have promised one another to make your relationship a priority.
You have promised one another to be more honest.
You have promised one another that you'll keep your agreements-- especially the agreement to be monogamous.
Maybe you have kept your word and followed through, but your mate continues to break promises and leave you wondering if there's any way you can stay together.
It can be an upsetting situation.
Despite the great talks you might have with your partner and the closeness you feel when you two come up with ideas for improving your relationship, he or she repeatedly lets you down.
Ultimately, you get to decide whether or not you will stay in this relationship.
This is the bottom line. We can't tell you what you should or shouldn't do in terms of whether to stay in or leave your relationship.
We encourage you to be very clear within yourself as you make this decision.
Listen to how you feel and what you want for yourself and for your relationship. Remind yourself that you CAN have and that DO deserve to be in a relationship that has the qualities that are most important to you.
Try to take as objective as possible a look at the dynamics between you and your mate. Are there signs that you two are beginning to move in the direction of the kind of relationship you want? Or, instead, do you two seem to be consistently pointing in the completely opposite direction?
Take all of this into consideration as you decide.
If you choose to stay in your relationship for now, ask yourself a couple of questions...
- “What role do I play?”
This is a difficult question for just about all of us. No matter what the situation, if you don't like what's going on, you may be uncomfortable looking at the possible role that you play.
Let's be very clear here: When we recommend that you look at the role you play in your partner breaking promises, we are NOT suggesting that you are to blame or responsible for what he or she is doing.
It's nearly impossible for one person to make another break a promise.
Yes, of course, there is most likely a lot that your partner needs to do differently. But, what you have the most control over are your own habits and your own reactions to particular circumstances.
This is why it's helpful to ask yourself, “What role do I play?”
Do you get angry, critical or judgmental easily? Do you have a tendency to close down or refuse intimacy if you don't get your way? Do you have a jealous habit?
We know, none of these are easy things to acknowledge about yourself. It's really important that you do if they are accurate.
Adopt the approach of discovery. Make it your intention to discover the ways that you might inadvertently or unknowingly contribute to your partner consistently failing to keep agreements.
- “What are the ways I could support follow through on promises?”
Now that you have a better idea of the role that you play in this destructive dynamic, you can begin to explore different responses you might make that could strengthen trust and connection.
We want to remind you here that when you are “beating up” on and berating yourself for your habits, you're not going to be able to see the possible solutions or new ways to be.
Return to your approach of discovery and add to that a sense of openness.
How can you open up to being a source of support for keeping promises?
This might involve you making requests in different ways. If you tend to issue ultimatums or make demands of your mate, experiment with what happens when you communicate your request differently.
For example, rather than declaring to your partner, “You better not be texting with her,” you might say, “Can we talk about your interactions with her? I feel neglected and ignored when you text with her as often as you do.”
One way you can support your partner actually keeping a promise regarding texting with another woman (or man) is to keep the communication open. When you both stay as open as possible, it's far easier for a clearer understanding of what's really going on to occur and resolutions can be mutually agreed to.
There are no guarantees that your mate will stop breaking promises.
As you begin to change your habits and do your share to keep communication more open, you'll also know when to set a boundary and when you've reached a point that is non-negotiable.
It's your decision whether you will stay in this relationship or not. If you choose to stay, however, make sure you are helping to create the kind of relationship you truly want instead of standing in the way of it.
Get help making the big decision about whether or not to stay in your relationship or marriage with Susie and Otto Collin's free mini-course: "The 5 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Deciding Whether or Not To Stay in a Relationship."