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Tips for Communicating with Your Mate about a Broken Agreement
By Susie and Otto Collins

In the course of your love relationship, you make many agreements.

Some are relatively small such as who will take the trash to the curb each week while others are larger and probably more significant like agreeing to be monogamous with one another.

When you break an agreement-- whether
consciously or unintentionally-- the effects can vary.

Your mate may be understanding and okay with the broken agreement, he or she might feel disappointed and angry, or your relationship may be in jeopardy because of your actions.

No matter how significant or insignificant the agreement seems to you, when you break enough agreements in your relationship, trust will be affected.

Your partner will undoubtedly wonder if he or she can believe you when you promise anything. This can quickly spill over into your ability to connect with and love one another.

Broken agreements happen.

How and when you choose to communicate with your partner about an agreement that has been breached can make a huge difference in the effects to your relationship.

Just as important is the follow through on decisions you two make in the aftermath of the broken agreement.

Patti is a stay-at-home mom while her husband Nick financially supports the family. When she's not caring for their young children and the home, Patti can be found in a quiet nook with her notebook writing poetry.

One day, when their children are older, Patti plans to earn money with her writing. She's been counting down the days to next week's poetry workshop at a nearby college.

Months ago, when Patti registered for the workshop, Nick agreed to take the week off work to watch their kids so that Patti could attend. Since making that initial agreement, however, Nick
has said nothing about requesting vacation days during that time.

Now, with the workshop just 2 days away, Patti asks Nick if he's arranged to be home next week and he admits that he's not approached his boss about it yet.

Patti feels angry that, yet again, Nick has broken an agreement that would allow her to do something that she enjoys. She also resents that she will now have to try to figure out alternative child care arrangements or miss the workshop.

Be honest and open.
If you choose or are unable to keep an agreement that you've made with your love, be honest and upfront about it.

No matter how insignificant the agreement seems to you or, conversely, no matter how upset you think your mate will be about it, come clean about what's happened.

Yes, this could be a really difficult admission to make. Perhaps you feel embarrassed or ashamed of your actions, but be courageous and act with integrity.

This is a vital way that you can begin to repair damage that was done and show that you'd like to rebuild trust.

What would have happened if, instead of Patti having to ask Nick if he'd arranged to take off work the next week, Nick would have instead come to Patti and shared honestly and openly with her?

How differently do you think Patti would have felt if Nick had admitted to her that he's feeling insecure about his job and that his boss recently
told him that his performance is not up to par?

It's probable that Patti would still feel irritated and even concerned, but she might also understand the reasons behind Nick breaking their agreement.

Create new agreements and follow through.
When you are honest and open about breaking an agreement and why you chose the actions you did, it may be easier for your mate to listen to what's true for you and to hear your heartfelt apology for breaking the agreement in the first place.

This may take time-- especially if something like
infidelity happened.

But when you are courageous enough to speak with integrity, you can open the door to possibly
making new agreements.

Nick can show Patti that, even with his problems at work, he still values her desire to explore something she loves to do.

He can support her by asking if they can make a new agreement where he takes all (or part) responsibility for arranging child care during the workshop.

Essentially, Nick can begin to rebuild trust by not only acknowledging that he broke an agreement, but also extending himself in a way he wouldn't normally.

If your partner is open to making a new agreement in the face of a broken one, you are on your way to rebuilding the trust that was eroded.

Be sure to follow through on the new agreement to rebuild trust.

As you two practice being honest, open, forgiving and flexible with one another, your connection can rebound and even flourish.







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Contact Info
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins
PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling 614-459-8121.
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