Relationships are hard work. This is obviously why couples seek out relationship coaches like me. And if you were to ask which particular challenge happens more than any other among my clients, I’d say it’s when their partner’s actions don’t line up with their words.
When actions don’t align with words in a relationship that can be very problematic—and even toxic in some cases. Let me share some examples of why.
I was working with someone who was dating a man, who was dating multiple women. One of the other women was the “main girl,” my client was one of the “side chicks.” She was so caught up in the mystery of this guy that she continued to try to support him as he claimed he would leave these other women (all talk, right?). He would even come to her and vent to her about how the other women were treating him.
This is a toxic relationship, and it showed her struggle with self-esteem and her own self-worth. After three years with this guy, he left her and stayed with the main girl. This is an example of his actions not lining up in any way with his words, and she continued to be abused because of this.
I know another couple who has been together for about 10 years. I know the woman in the relationship wanted to get married, but she never forced the issue. The guy stayed around and hinted at marriage (all talk, right?), but he wouldn’t do anything to move them closer to the alter.
Over time, they had two children. The children are still small, but the guy has decided marriage doesn’t make sense, so he decided to move on.
Again, this is a case of actions not lining up with words. How long does it take for you to decide enough is enough? He never fully intended to marry this woman—if so, his actions would have produced a ring. For him, the pros outweighed the cons in the status quo of the relationship, so he was along for the ride (pun intended), and it was never any more than that for him.
Lastly, I had another client who would say what she was going to do (all talk, right?), but then she wouldn’t do it. Her significant other asked for space, and she wouldn’t give it to him. She felt he was lucky to have her, and she intended to make it a point for him to recognize it.
Needless to say, she pushed him away. If you say you are going to give someone space, make it happen. If you have no intention of doing so, don’t say this is what you are going to do. Line up your words with your actions.
The often-used cliché “don’t talk about it be about it” is more than a cliché when it comes to relationships. It should be a way of life. Your actions mean more to your commitment than anything you could ever say. On the other side of the relationship, watch for the actions to line up with the words.
If they don’t line up and if the only thing about them that is consistent is that their words are consistently empty, it’s time to explore other options for the sake of your own well-being.
BMWK, have you ever been in a relationship with an all-talk no action person? Also, ask yourself an honest question: do you think you always back up your words with action?