What to do when your partner says they are going to do something and then drops the ball (repeatedly)??

This is a question I get asked a lot. And understandably, it’s super upsetting for a lot of people. There are some simple solutions that you can apply to this dynamic to create the change you desire.

Recently, one of our students, we will call her Jessica, asked this question on a Q&A call with me and I thought I would share her question, and my response, as a way to serve you!

Jessica writes in…

“My husband says he will do something and then he never actually does it. For example, he says he will pick up the kids. He will tell this to the babysitter. Then he doesn’t. It’s as if everything in HIS world is more important than US. Discussing dates and times makes him mad, and we don’t get any progress. I already don’t count on him but still feel triggered when this pattern impacts our kids and other people. I need a perspective shift to try and move forward.”

My reply…
Hey Jessica,
First, I’m celebrating your awareness and your desire to change your perspective. Great job! Here are some next level tools for you.
First, keep in mind that there are in fact, FIVE levels to mastery on the Spectrum of Change.

[For you the reader – here is a quick review of the 5 Levels To Mastery]

There are five levels that any person navigates through along the way to making a change. For instance, if you decide that you want to keep your state above the 50% line…. There are 5 steps until you can actually MASTER that level of skill.

1. Level one is unaware. (not aware that your state is even a “thing”)
2. Level two is aware. (Ah, I’ve heard about state mastery and this 50% line)
3. Level three is cognitive mastery, meaning you’ve studied something and understand it intellectually. (Literally studied all the tools & strategies around mastering your state and very knowledgeable about it. Not LIVING it yet, but very knowledgeable)
4. Level four is emotional congruence about the subject. Making the change does not hit any emotional snags. (being able to master your state above the 50% line without any energetic or emotional snags. It still takes effort to DO it, but you are able to do it some of the time, with focus)
5. Level five is blueprint-level mastery. You can implement the change effortlessly and without thinking about it. (You have mastered your state. You no longer have to TRY or EFFORT, you just do it because you have rewired yourself to do so)

When your husband agrees to do something and then doesn’t follow through, that happens for a REASON. Usually that reason is tied to the MEANINGS they attach to taking that new action.

For instance, people who are wired for comfort may avoid confrontation because it makes them uncomfortable.

When you and your husband speak about making a change that you both want, he may have level two or three mastery while you talk about it. Then in the moment, when he goes back to an old pattern, you are JUDGING him as if he should have level five mastery.

Can you see that?

Consider this example…. You and I sat down and you shared with me that you really want to get up every morning at 5 am and implement a new morning routine.
You share about why this is REALLY important for you. It’s the best thing for you, your family and your work! You are all in. You commit. And you plan.

Then 2 days in, your kid has you up several times during the night, and you snooze until 6:45 when you absolutely have to get out of bed.

What happened?

You said you wanted to make the change? You agreed with me that you would?
But you encountered an obstacle that you weren’t yet prepared to handle and you reverted to your old patterns (that are much more deeply ingrained in you).

You are not yet at level 5 Mastery, but you ARE still on the Spectrum of Change!

Do you have some compassion for yourself in this example?

Now, consider the example with your husband.

He might very well have an emotional snag you don’t understand. Continuing to TALK to him, the same way, about the same thing, will not make him show up differently. And you’ve pointed out how talking about the subject triggers him.

He’s on the Spectrum of change with this one. And there are most likely triggers or challenges that he has to MASTER before reaching level five mastery on any changes you two have agreed to “cognitively”.

It’s time to DISCOVER what those might be. That happens through an Alignment Conversation, like a Brick Conversation®. (one of the tools in the tool box)

Additionally, you are attaching your own strong meanings to his pattern.

YOUR meaning is that he does not prioritize you and the family.
You said it as if it were a FACT.

That’s not a fact. The fact is that he didn’t pick up the kids and he said he would. The MEANING you have assigned is that he does not prioritize you and the family.

This might be tied to feelings of insignificance that you have FALSELY decided to believe. When you bring that energy to discussions with him, you will be unable to move past level three or four mastery yourself due to your own emotional snag.

TRY THIS INSTEAD…
Instead of arguing about this, bringing your energy of disappointment or blaming him….. consider a different approach. Try to stay CURIOUS and appreciate his blueprint.

Is he is trying to avoid confrontation? Might he just be forgetful? Does he have a false belief around what is his responsibility and what “should be” someone else’s? Does he have some sort of fear of “missing out”? Does he resist all levels of control, including schedules?

There are a million possibilities but they are all guesses.

The KEY is, that when you can SHIFT your meaning, you can see that a million other reasons may exist as to why this circumstance is happening.

Once you FREE YOURSELF of these meanings—that only YOU created—then you can move out of blame and into SOLUTIONS.

Leave behind the disempowering story that you tell yourself, and . . .
Begin to create ALIGNMENT.

No matter what your husband does, he is looking to meet a need. When he does not follow through, he is also meeting a need.

What are his drivers? What is he focused on? How is he meeting his needs? How does he feel supported?

The answers to these questions will guide you as you seek to understand why your partner may have an energetic or emotional snag about doing what he said he would.

When you can talk and LISTEN openly and vulnerably, outside the moment of pick ups and drop offs, then you can COLLABORATE to find a solution that will work for you BOTH.

You will never actually get to a collaboration solution until you can show up with out BLAME. It’s not EASY work, but it’s so worth it when you can get to a real SOLUTION in the end!

Sending you a lot of love!

 

  • Liz Rolle

    Or… he’s ADD. People who struggle with ADD or ADHD often have trouble following through; they have trouble initiating; they are great procrastinators. Read a bit about Adult ADD and see if the descriptions fit! If so, then you are dealing with something slightly different. Not that this won’t work, but you would be approaching it with a different understanding of who he really is.