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What To Say When He Doesn’t Follow Through – 9 Relationship Experts Share Totally Awesome Insights

What To Say When He Does Not Follow Through

“It is necessary, and even vital, to set standards for your life and the people you allow in it.”

~ Mandy Hale

Mandy Hale Standards Quote
Constance Clancy

When you have an expectation and trust that your significant other will follow through and does not, it can lead to resentment, frustration and bewilderment. 

There is obviously an avoidance issue going on as he is avoiding something. Avoidance happens to be the number one coping technique.

This type of behavior is damaging to a relationship even if it is in the beginning stages of dating. 

Ask him why he does not follow through and see if you can understand the break down in his mis-communication. You can also ask him what he wants and make him aware that what he says is not in alignment of how he behaves. 

If he continually hurts and disappoints you, you have to get clear and ask your inner guidance what you want and if it is worth it for you to continue this relationship.

You cannot change his behavior but you can change how you choose to handle yours. 

At the very least, if he is just preoccupied or too busy to follow through, do you really want this kind of person in your life? 

Ask yourself what you really want and if it is for someone to be present and cognizant of honoring and respecting you, then perhaps you need to move on. Your intuition already knows so tune in and your answer lies within.

Constance Clancy, Ed.D. – www.drconstanceclancy.com

Kristen Brown

The dreaded lack-of-follow-through. 

We have all experienced this at one time or another and until we change our mindset around it or have the tools to effectively handle it, it will continue to drive us crazy.

As with all relationship issues, the most effective method of action, is a shift in perception from fear to love. 

In this case our perspective must change from “I am not worthy of a respectful partner” to “I am worthy a respectful partner”.

If we are continuing to process his behaviors through subconscious filter of unworthiness like: I’m not good enough – I should have done blank differently – I need to give him more attention – It’s my job to manage the dates etcetera, we are in the wrong mind frame.

Our job entering and during a relationship is to take care of ourselves first. 

Our heart and well-being must be our main priority. That means, we must know (and fully own) our value in a relationship especially in the early stages. 

What we show up to the door with is exactly we are going to sell to our potential partner. If we allow crap behaviors like disrespect, we have set the theme of our relationship from here on out.

Many women are so afraid of appearing like a bitch that they do not speak their truths. This is a dreaded mistake.

There is no bitch in empowerment.

Teaching others how to treat us is not about being mean. Contrarily, it is a highly loving gesture toward self!

I just had this conversation yesterday with a client. 

She was explaining how she was supposed to meet a man last Friday for a coffee date. He no called, no showed. 

When he did contact her again, he laid out a lame excuse that she was willing to buy. We discussed further how a no call, no show display is absolutely NOT okay and that she must value herself more than the dream of what this man could be.

In my disempowered years, I remember getting excuses like, “I was just too busy today, sorry I couldn’t call you.” 

Because I was so afraid of losing his attention, I bought it under the self-deception of “I’m a very understanding person” even though my inner-knowing was telling me: 

If he had time to pee today, he had time to call! I was undermining my respect, by allowing him to continually put me last and disrespect me. 

I’m now of the mindset that unless he’s lying in a hospital somewhere comatose, he has the time! It takes approximately 30 seconds to send a quick text saying, 

“Hey! Not going to be able to make it. Something has come up. I’ll fill you in later.”

In situations like these, our level of self-worth will proportionally dictate how we respond.

If we find ourselves not standing up for ourselves, we have a clear indicator we are accepting the unacceptable and we have work to do on ourselves. If we show we are a doormat from go, he will continually treat us like one.

How an Empowered Woman Processes Lack of Follow Through:

He doesn’t follow through – She does not wait on pins and needles for his call – She goes about her day/evening doing what she’s inspired to do – He calls. 

She listens to his excuse/reason – She uses her intuitive sense (lie detector) coupled with her logical brain to decide whether to buy it – If she buys it, he gets ONE last chance – If he blows that, better to end the relationship now than to deepen her feelings and try to end things later –

She does not buy his reason/excuse – She clearly tells him (not hysterically) that she will take a pass on him and find a partner that clearly knows and understands her worth – The End.

Self-worth in check! Next!

Kristen Brown, Certified Empowerment Coach/Mentor – www.sweetempowerment.com

Cynthia Pickett

The ebb and flow of relationships can be tricky. 

Knowing if a turn in behavior is a fluke or a pattern can be difficult. As a rule, if something happens more than once it is a pattern. Of course, there is a difference in something happening more than once in a three-week vs. three-year relationship. When a partner doesn’t keep their word, it is important to look at context and your own expectations.

In today’s society we try to impose way too much control over other people, which creates anxiety for both parties. 

An example, “if you don’t text me back right away it means you don’t care”. We have to give people room to live their own lives and to take care of their responsibilities. However, if someone says “I will call you tonight” and then doesn’t, you may be dealing with a character/respect issue that ultimately could be a relationship deal breaker.

The fine line when someone doesn’t follow through is what is the context, how often does it happen, and how well do they clean it up afterwards. 

If the behavior is routine, the usual excuse is “I forgot” and they get defensive about making an apology then it is probably time to let go of the relationship. 

If you try to stay in the relationship over time this will be an ongoing issue and create a lot of resentment for both parties. 

It also indicates there is a lack of character and consideration on their part. Remember that we do not get to change people; we have to accept them exactly as they are or move on. Is this a behavior you are willing to accept?

If you have examined yourself and believe you are not being too needy and clingy, then simply say, “I didn’t hear from you, you must have been busy” and see what they say. 

Listen to them as they tell you about their day and have some compassion and understanding. If you get “oh, I forgot” you may want to re-examine the level of commitment.

Breaking plans usually means that someone is not into you as much as you are into them. 

Never accept someone standing you up! If plans are made then they need to be followed through on. If they get canceled with any kind of consistency, this is not a relationship that will bode well over time.

Someone once said. “If a person does not have their word, then they have nothing at all” which is truth. 

However, we can’t be so inflexible to not allow life to occasionally happen. Look at the context and decide if there is a pattern or an occasional slip. If it is a pattern it is time to move on.

Cynthia Pickett, LCSW, LADC – www.cynthiapickett.com

Dr. Deborah Cox

Sometimes our partners really do get busy and overwhelmed and we fall to the end of the list. 

Sometimes we can blow this off because everyone fails to follow through once in a while. But when it keeps happening…….We start to wonder if the pattern means more.

Yes, it probably does. 

Habitual no-show signals a problem with the nitty gritty of attachment. 

It suggests an ambivalent or avoidant attachment style. This style is rooted in early childhood experiences of trauma – problems in the very earliest relationships that left your partner with a shaky sense of self and other. 

Attachment trauma always shows itself in our adult love relationships and it makes us either too clingy and needy or too distant and unpredictable.

So, how do I talk to him about it?

1. First, know that we all have “issues” in our attachment styles. 

No one has a perfect history. If you keep this in mind, you can stay positive even though you need to talk about some pretty deep stuff.

2. Second, own everything that’s yours.

“I feel disappointed when you say you’ll call and then you don’t.”

“I get all excited to see you and then I get let down.”

Avoid blaming or psychoanalyzing. Just put your emotions out there.

3. Know that your partner’s behavior is not about you

As horrid as it feels, this avoidant pattern has nothing to do with how beautiful or wonderful or loving you are. This happens no matter how amazing the partner, no matter how deep the emotional connection, and no matter how viable the relationship is. Avoidance comes from a person’s early family history – not from their dating partner.

4. Third, wait. Let your partner respond. 

Are you able to have a productive conversation? If not, try to calm yourself by remembering all the people in your life who love you consistently and unconditionally.

If this relationship is a committed one, consider couples therapy. 

Your partner may have no idea how the inconsistency affects you…….much less where the behavior comes from. A good couples therapist can help you untangle this, trace a path back to the early trauma that set it in place, and grow closer together in the process.

Dr. Deborah Cox – www.deborahlcox.com

Amy Sherman

If your partner doesn’t call when he says he will, doesn’t keep his commitment when he says he’ll come, or doesn’t follow through with your texting conversation, you are in trouble. 

  • Don’t you want someone who’s reliable, responsible, accountable and trustworthy? 
  • Don’t you want to know that when you need him he’ll be there? 
  • Why tolerate behavior that is frustrating, confusing and aggravating to you? 
  • Do you really want to live your life this way?

Of course not. If you’ve spoken to him about this before and nothing has changed, you may need a new approach and that includes being more assertive and firmer when it comes to these issues.

1. Start by saying what you want and how you feel. 

“When you don’t call me to say you’ll be late, I feel disrespected. I’m making a delicious meal that won’t taste the same if it is cold.”

2. State what you want to happen. 

“I would like you to call or text me about the delay. It would just take a second.”

3. Be sure to explain why this is so important to you. 

“My time is important, just like yours. Please respect that and honor what I am asking. I feel very strongly about this and it would definitely improve our relationship.”

4. Listen to what he has to say.

This kind of communication about things that are essential in your relationship should not be ignored or sugarcoated. Otherwise, you will get the same as before. 

If you feel the relationship is worth fighting for and you feel he is open to this kind of discussion, go for it. 

Keep your body language strong, but inviting and not intimidating. If he cares enough, he will make the effort to follow though.

Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com

Marnee Reiley

Actions speak louder than words. It’s an old expression, and it rings true. 

It’s nice to hear what we want to hear from our partner, but it has to be backed up with the corresponding behavior. If the words are empty and not followed up with action, resentment, anger, and doubt can quickly build in us, thus straining the relationship.

How do we handle our own emotions when our partner consistently proves unreliable? 

We can look at how our partner’s behavior may trigger past hurts, and what meaning we’re attributing to their actions. 

For example, if I grew up with an inconsistent parent, I may have internalized the message that I am not important. 

Today, when my partner fails to call me when he’d promised, it may trigger (possibly unconscious) feelings of low self-worth. Perhaps his intentions were good, but he simply forgot to call. 

Now, I’m on the other side of a silent phone, wrapped up in painful thoughts and feelings that personalize his behavior and may not even have anything to do with him.

We have to remember that we cannot change other people (as nice as that would be!). 

That said, we CAN ask for behavioral changes and share the impact that our partner’s choices have on us. We can go to our partner in a wholehearted, vulnerable way, expressing our pain and asking for some soothing. 

Using “I statements” is a good tool. 

Rather than pointing a blaming finger, hone in on your own feelings. It may sound something like this: 

“When you didn’t call me today, I felt sad and disregarded. Perhaps you didn’t intend this outcome, but I wanted you to know how important it is to me that I can rely on you to do what you say you’re going to do.” 

Ideally, our partner will validate our pain, and take some responsibility for improving our connection. 

If, however, we are met with defensiveness and continued unreliability from our partner, we have to ask ourselves some difficult questions about whether or not this is the kind of person we want to give our heart to.

Marnee Reiley, M.A. – www.youroctherapist.com

Sally LeBoy

What a woman should say to a man who doesn’t follow through is, “Goodbye”. 

There is no excuse for not following through on a commitment. 

Would you accept that behavior from an employee? Why would you accept it from a partner?

Everyone makes mistakes and anyone can make a commitment that they can’t follow through on once in a while. 

But there can always be a phone call or text and an apology in the rare instances when that happens. A pattern of not coming through is just rude. It sends the unmistakable message that his time is worth more than yours. 

You are being relegated to a lower position on his list of priorities. That’s a hurtful message to get, but one that must be heeded. 

You can’t control his behavior and you shouldn’t have to educate someone about common courtesy. Rude, self-centered people are just not good partner material.

I find that women are surprised when a relationship doesn’t work out although there have been clues from the beginning. 

We all want to see the best in people and it’s so disappointing when someone who really seemed like a good prospect isn’t. 

However, ignoring bad behavior just means you’ll be more hurt and more disappointed when the relationship has to end. And it will have to end because at some point it will be undeniable that he is a big baby who hasn’t learned how to treat women.

I always tell women to hold out for what they want. 

While no one is perfect and we all will need to make some compromises, you just can’t compromise on issues of character. 

Character is fundamental to how people behave in the world. 

If you want a person whom you can trust, take off those rose-colored glasses and see who you’ve really got. If you are being the best person that you can be, you deserve a partner who is doing the same.

Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com

Becky Bringewatt

I think it’s safe to say we’ve all had the experience of asking our man to do something for us and we’ve been disappointed because he didn’t follow it through to the end, or maybe didn’t even start it. Or maybe he made a promise to you that he didn’t keep. 

Maybe this happens in your relationship on occasion and maybe it happens more often than not. 

When someone doesn’t do what they say they will do, we begin to distrust them and stop asking them for things, and this usually leads to the decline of intimacy in the relationship. 

So how do you fix it before it goes that far?

First, you need to decide if you’re having a communication problem, such as not understanding the parameters of the request or offer, or if it’s a fundamental disagreement about what you each need out of the relationship.

We all have communication problems. Maybe we’re not good at asking for what we need because we hope that the other person will simply intuit it, or maybe we think we’re making a request when we’ve made a statement but didn’t ask an actual question, or maybe we ask very vague questions and assume others know what we meant. 

I think we all start to think we can read our partner’s minds and that they should be able to read ours after a while of being together. 

However, if we don’t actually ask for what we need very directly, there’s no way to know that the other person even knows what we want from them. And often our partners agree to things to make us happy without really knowing what we want.

Watch your communication patterns and be sure you are making requests. 

A true request will be specific about what is being asked of the other. And if you need something done by a certain time, you’ll want to make sure that’s part of the request, too. Others don’t know the urgency of your needs if you don’t tell them. 

A true request also allows the other person to say no or negotiate terms if they can’t do what we want. 

Although difficult to hear, we must allow the other person to disagree or have their own way of doing things if we really want them to follow through.

It’s possible that your communication style is good and the other person truly understands you and just doesn’t follow through. 

It may be because they don’t think your requests are as important as other things in their life, so they simply put them last. 

It may also be that they agree to things they don’t intend to do in order to make you happy in the moment. It might also be that they fully intend to do it, but then forget or get too busy. None of these are great scenarios. 

Have a conversation about what you need from your partner and why, how it makes you feel when he doesn’t keep his word, and how it affects your relationship, and see if anything changes. 

If it doesn’t change, it might be a clear message that you aren’t as important as the other things in his life, and it might be time to move on.

Becky Bringewatt, MA, LPC, NCC – www.mantiscounselingandcoaching.com

Ileana Hinojosa

Be mindful not to let him off the hook because you are afraid of confrontation or making him mad. 

Say what you mean and mean what you say from the start. Do not tolerate this behavior from the beginning. When we start dating someone new, we often overlook these things because we are excited and have high expectations of the relationship.

If he does not follow through, hold him accountable. 

Yes, emergencies come up and unexpected things happen, but that does not excuse him if he does not follow through repeatedly. 

What reason is he giving for not following through? 

  • If he starts the relationship like this and you tolerate it, this will set the tone for his behavior during the relationship. 
  • If you are struggling with frustration and anger and you are just starting to date, imagine what it will be like when you have a sick child and he does not come home or follow-through because something came up.

Make sure he understands your expectations in the relationship and what your needs are around accountability. 

If he is uncomfortable with these expectations and honest about his inability to be accountable from the beginning, then maybe he is not the one for you. 

Do not sugar coat his behavior and assume he will change. If he is inconsistent now, then that is what you can expect later on as the relationship progresses.

Holding someone accountable means that you will call someone out when they are not following through on their commitments. 

It also means that you have the expectation of accountability and honesty from the person that you are in a relationship with. Does what he say match what he does? 

Actions speak louder than words so evaluate if his words are congruent with his behavior. 

Express you needs around this issue and wait for his response. 

If he continues to be unreliable, then you have your answer. If he steps up and starts to follow through, you can work with that. Do not ignore the red flags and do your part to follow-through too.

Ileana Hinojosa, MLA, LMFT – www.themindfullife.net

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