There are loads of promises men make when they’re in a relationship. They’ll spew sonnets and sing from the high heavens about the things they will or won’t do. Unfortunately, many of these promises are going to be broken.
No, I’m not saying men are liars! The fact is that a lot of men make promises based on what they think they should do. In other words, if they think a promise will make you happy, they’ll make it – even if it’s not realistic.
A huge number of promises men make that are broken aren’t broken intentionally. Often, they stem from unclear communication or, sometimes, from promises that are simply impossible to keep. Most people in relationships know that the occasional minor broken promise isn’t a deal-breaker. People aren’t perfect, and it happens.(1)
This doesn’t mean, of course, that you should excuse seriously broken promises. What should be developed instead is an understanding that there are some promises that are rather unfair to expect. Here are some promises men make, but rarely keep.
Here Are 7 Promises Men Make, But Rarely Keep
“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes… but no plans.” – Peter Drucker
1. Promises about not being jealous
It’s never realistic to say “I promise not to be jealous.” First, if you expect a man to keep this promise, you’re asking him to actively stop himself from feeling a valid emotion. Most of the time, this kind of promise doesn’t work out, but it’s very common among promises men make.
Ralph Hupka, a professor of psychology, states that jealousy is an emotion designed to anticipate and potentially prevent a loss. This means that the initial tug of jealousy isn’t always controllable. Your boyfriend might feel this worry of losing you when he sees you hang out with other male friends. (2)
Instead of making your man promise not to show any signs of jealousy, talk about how he can work through these feelings. Make sure he knows he has no reason to be jealous and that he can trust you 100%. Being open with each other can help squash those feelings. Also, find ways to help him practice reason, logic, and positive thinking as you work through these feelings of jealousy together.
That said, jealousy can potentially evolve into a dangerous, obsessive, and controlling emotion, so it’s important to keep it in check. If a partner’s jealousy devolves into shouting, violence, or controlling behavior, it might be a good idea to leave.
2. Promises men make about checking out other people
Here’s the thing about a guy promising never to check out other girls: it’s probably not possible. We see people every single day, and some of them are nice to look at.
Scientifically, expecting this to be among the promises men make and keep is rather unfair. The act of checking someone out is actually a mainly subconscious response, according to relationship expert David Bennett for Medical Daily. (3)
Think of it from your perspective. If you see an attractive person, you’re going to take notice. Even if you don’t stare or you quickly look away, you noticed, at least for a moment. It’s a natural human response!
In fact, 70% of women admit that they experience attraction to other guys. And most of them say that this does not affect their own relationship in any way! If it’s okay for girls to think this way, shouldn’t it be okay for guys to do so?
Of course, there’s a huge difference between ogling someone and just noticing that they look good. It’s okay to tell your boyfriend you’re uncomfortable when he stares at someone for a long minute. But there’s nothing much wrong with him taking a quick, almost subconscious look and moving on; you’d probably do the same!
Instead of getting angry, discuss what makes you feel jealous or uncomfortable. That way, you and your man can discuss what you’re both okay with and what crosses a line. This can even help to build trust between the two of you!
3. He promises never to judge you no matter what
No matter how much someone loves you, they’ll still at times have opinions opposite to yours. They will, occasionally, think that you’re wrong. It doesn’t mean they won’t love and support you when you need it, but they will might be keeping some thoughts to themselves!
For instance, your boyfriend might never understand the types of video games you’re into. He might not understand why you insist on keeping up a very specific skincare regimen. What is more, he might sometimes express those thoughts. That’s what being with another human being is like!
What it comes down to is that it’s okay for your man to be a little judgey sometimes. All that matters is that he ultimately recognizes that your own thoughts are just as valid as his. Agreeing to disagree is far from a bad thing!
4. Men make promises about exes
There could be many promises men make about their exes. They say they’ll never even think about them. They say they won’t text or contact them. But these promises are easier made than kept!
If you’ve had any relationship in the past, you know thoughts about your ex might creep up. These thoughts don’t define you any more than they define your boyfriend. If your ex texts you politely asking how you are, you’d probably feel inclined to reply equally politely. Catching up is okay to do.
You’ve probably also seen your ex pop up on social media and gave into curiosity about how they are now. Does that mean you’re aching to get back together with them? Usually, not at all; it’s the same for your man. Starting new relationships is actually the biggest key to fully getting over an ex! (4)
Does this make it excusable when men make promises about avoiding their ex, then break them and hide it from you? Of course not. This comes across as shady, no matter the intention. This can cause mistrust to build and result in an ugly argument. It’s never good when your man feels he has something to hide.
Setting boundaries about exes is important in a relationship. Make it clear that your boyfriend should tell you when they talk to their ex; do the same for them. Draw a clear line where something makes you and your boyfriend uncomfortable and don’t cross it.
If your boyfriend tells you when his ex messages him and informs you that he’ll message back, this is a huge sign you can trust him. Instead of banning him from ever talking to his ex, encourage open communication and honesty between the two of you. That makes for a much healthier, positive relationship.
5. Promises to change his ways after a huge fight
Men make promises – lots of them – after a big argument. They’ll say they will turn over a new leaf immediately. They promise to put aside the behaviors that started the fight. A lot of the times, though, you need to be ready for the fact that these promises won’t come out how you expect.
It’s not that a man can’t change. It’s that changing is a process. No one is able to completely change habitual attitudes and actions overnight. When you expect huge changes to happen all at once, you’re expecting something unfair and unrealistic.
So don’t be angry at your partner if he’s taking the long route to get where he’s agreed to go. Instead, take note of small accomplishments and baby steps. If he thrives on positive reinforcement, tell him you notice and appreciate his efforts, and you might see his pace pick up a little!
However, if your boyfriend does not appear to be making any effort to change at all, this is a red flag. You should be able to see small steps being taken in the right direction. If he’s not even trying, get out of there!
6. Promises men make about hiding things
Men always say they will never hide anything from you, but they don’t always follow through. To be clear, there’s a big difference between a dishonest relationship and a relationship with healthy personal boundaries.
Sometimes, your boyfriend might have some personal thoughts about his life that he needs to process on his own. He might have a friend or family member who is sick or who he lost. Try not to take it personally if he doesn’t talk about these things right away. He might need time to think about them before he’s ready to talk about them.
According to clinical psychologist Ryan Howes, boundaries are crucial in a relationship. Expecting your man to have no boundaries in order to keep a promise he’s made you isn’t healthy. In fact, forcing him to open up when he’s not ready could have a negative effect, rather than causing him to be more open. (5)
At the same time, mistakes that affect the other person shouldn’t ever be hidden – even if confessing will make the other angry. When you do wrong, you have to own up to it and face the music like an adult. But there are other things that get unintentionally hidden, thus accidentally breaking a promise.
If there are things you never want your boyfriend to hide from you, make sure he knows so he can keep them in mind. It’s difficult not to accidentally hide things when you don’t even think they’re worth mentioning!
7. You’ll be together forever and he’ll always love you
We don’t mean to end on a downer, but let’s be realistic here. There is a very, very good chance that your boyfriend means these types of promises with all his heart when he makes them. This is what he wants. He can see a future for the two of you together, and that’s great.
But here’s the thing – no one can predict the future. It’s full of twists and turns. Things can happen, people can change, feelings can alter, and couples can grow apart. Absolutely no one can predict the future and where it’s going, so even the best-laid plans can fall apart.
This isn’t to say you should be a total skeptic, or that you shouldn’t believe your boyfriend truly loves you this much. There’s nothing wrong with positive thinking! This is just to say that you need to be aware that this promise doesn’t guarantee your future together.
Instead, what builds your positive future together is putting in equal effort, being understanding and honest, and having open communication. If you’re both not trying your best in the relationship, all the promises in the world can’t stop a break-up.
Final Thoughts On Promises Men Make But Rarely Keep
Breaking promises in a relationship is not great, obviously. It shows disrespect and can also cause deep hurt. There are many promises that should never be broken. Promises of fidelity. Promises to be better people. Promises to be respectful. Promises to remember important dates. Promises to be there for one another.
But the seven minor promises we’ve talked about today? You probably shouldn’t count on them being kept. What’s more important than those promises men make is understanding why both parties feel these promises are necessary.
Both you and your man should have reasonable expectations for each other. Relationships are a two-way street. In other words, putting the effort in to make it work realistically for both of you is the secret to a happier romance. Communicate, be honest, and work it out. Chances are, you’ll come through stronger for it!