Communicating with Your Mate about a Broken
By Susie and Otto Collins
In the course of your love relationship, you make
Some are relatively small such as who
the trash to the curb each week while others are
probably more significant like agreeing to be
with one another.
When you break an agreement--
consciously or unintentionally-- the effects can
Your mate may be understanding and okay with the
agreement, he or she might feel disappointed and
your relationship may be in jeopardy because of your
No matter how significant or insignificant the
seems to you, when you break enough agreements in
relationship, trust will be affected.
undoubtedly wonder if he or she can believe you when
promise anything. This can quickly spill over into
ability to connect with and love one another.
Broken agreements happen.
How and when you choose to
communicate with your partner about an agreement
been breached can make a huge difference in the
Just as important is the follow
on decisions you two make in the aftermath of the
Patti is a stay-at-home mom while her husband Nick
financially supports the family. When she's not
their young children and the home, Patti can be
found in a
quiet nook with her notebook writing poetry.
their children are older, Patti plans to earn money
her writing. She's been counting down the days to
week's poetry workshop at a nearby college.
ago, when Patti registered for the workshop, Nick agreed
the week off work to watch their kids so that Patti
attend. Since making that initial agreement,
has said nothing about requesting vacation days
Now, with the workshop just 2 days away, Patti
Nick if he's arranged to be home next week and he
that he's not approached his boss about it yet.
angry that, yet again, Nick has broken an agreement
would allow her to do something that she enjoys. She
resents that she will now have to try to figure out
alternative child care arrangements or miss the
Be honest and open.
If you choose or are unable to keep an agreement
you've made with your love, be honest and upfront
No matter how insignificant the agreement seems to
conversely, no matter how upset you think your mate
be about it, come clean about what's happened.
could be a really difficult admission to make.
feel embarrassed or ashamed of your actions, but be
courageous and act with integrity.
This is a vital
that you can begin to repair damage that was done
that you'd like to rebuild trust.
What would have happened if, instead of Patti having
ask Nick if he'd arranged to take off work the next
Nick would have instead come to Patti and shared
and openly with her?
How differently do you think
would have felt if Nick had admitted to her that
feeling insecure about his job and that his boss
told him that his performance is not up to par?
probable that Patti would still feel irritated and
concerned, but she might also understand the reasons
Nick breaking their agreement.
Create new agreements and follow through.
When you are honest and open about breaking an
and why you chose the actions you did, it may be
your mate to listen to what's true for you and to
heartfelt apology for breaking the agreement in the
This may take time-- especially if something
But when you are courageous
speak with integrity, you can open the door to
making new agreements.
Nick can show Patti that, even with his problems at
he still values her desire to explore something she
He can support her by asking if they can make
agreement where he takes all (or part)
arranging child care during the workshop.
can begin to rebuild trust by not only acknowledging
he broke an agreement, but also extending himself in
he wouldn't normally.
If your partner is open to making a new agreement in
face of a broken one, you are on your way to
trust that was eroded.
Be sure to follow through on
new agreement to rebuild trust.
As you two practice
honest, open, forgiving and flexible with one
connection can rebound and even flourish.