Have you ever had someone in your life who says that are going to do something and just never seems to keep their word? Maybe you have a best friend who is a great friend overall, but just seems to fall short in the following through department. You can choose to continue your friendship and accept that they just are absent minded or inconsiderate, or you can choose to not have that person in your life anymore. I am very much a believer in accepting people for who they are, but there are limits.
I tell my clients that people are who they are. They are not who you want them to be and there is nothing you can do to change that. People change because they want to change. You may be a good influence or a catalyst to their change but trust me, you did not change them.
Maybe you can accept a not so reliable best friend, but can you be with a partner who does not stay true to their word? As a couple’s therapist I hear many people complain about their partner saying they will do something and not follow through. This is bigger than just not doing something because you were tired or didn’t have time, this is presenting itself as blatant disregard for the person they say they love.
When working with a couple and this issue presents itself, I ask is, has your partner always been this way or is this something new? hey often reply, “He (She) has always been that way.” I then ask, “What makes you think that things will change now?” Most people look at me like I’m crazy for asking this question, but I ask because behavior we allow early on in relationships can be difficult to change. Often, we make excuses for certain behaviors our partner displays at the start of a relationship. The old rose color glasses syndrome. As those glasses start to lose their color A.K.A., we start to grow and evolve individually, these behaviors are no longer acceptable and no longer cute.
My mother taught me to stay true to my word, if you say you are going to do something you better be ready and willing to do it. It is not ok to set an expectation for someone and not meet that expectation. This is a true sign that the person who cannot keep their word, has lost respect for the other person, or perhaps never respected that person in the first place. If you find yourself in a relationship with a person like this, it may be time to end it, and if you find it hard to, set some very strict boundaries, for example never asking them to do anything for you again.
Love and Light,
Jessica Alejandro, LMFT