Broken promises not only destroy trust, they affect your future relationships. These tips on recovering from broken promises are inspired by a reader’s comment.
“I am a 21 year old girl, married to a 40 year old man. I don’t love my husband, I married him to provide for my needs. I want to go to school, and he promised to send me to school if I gave him a baby. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and when I asked him about school, he totally refused and asked me to give him another baby. My doctor warned me that I shouldn’t have another child for three years. My husband told me to leave if I want, he will marry someone else who will fill his needs. I feel heartbroken. I don’t have any education or money, and no one to help me. What am I going to do? Should I stay and die softly or go? Please help me.”
Well, the good news is that she didn’t love him! It was a business arrangement: I will marry you and have your child if you promise to send me to school.
The bad news is that he broke his promise. He’s an old guy who saw an opportunity in this girl, and has no problem lying to her, using her, and tossing her aside. It’s disgraceful.
But she was using him too, wasn’t she? She’s a smart woman who wants an education because she knows she won’t get far without it. She married him to meet her needs. Unfortunately, she couldn’t see through his lies, and didn’t think she’d be having to cope with his broken promises.
Recovering From Broken Promises
What promises did your boyfriend or husband make to you? Were they verbally agreed-upon promises or simply expectations you had in your relationship? It’s important to figure this out.
It’s also important to remember that you WILL survive this if you refuse to give up on your hope for a future, for love, for whatever it is you want out of life.
Decide if you should stay in the relationship
I can’t tell this girl if she should leave her husband. It breaks my heart, because she had a baby in order to further her education, and that little baby will actually make it more difficult to go to school. It’s tragic – and all because of that a$$hole who lied to her.
She is right that she’ll die softly if she stays married to him. But, sometimes it’s easier in the short term to stay, because it’s really hard to make it on our own! Lack of money, fear, anxiety — there are so many factors that keep us trapped in bad relationships.
Where do you want to be in a year? Start thinking about that. Write down your plans, your hopes, your dreams. Keep them in front fo you.
Remember how strong you are
You believed his promises, but that doesn’t mean you’re gullible or stupid! It just means you wanted to believe him so badly, and perhaps also means that you’re young. You haven’t lived through many broken promises yet, so you don’t realize how common they are.
It takes a great deal of strength to marry a man and have his child, so you can go to school! You are determined and motivated. You had a goal, and you did what you thought you needed to do to reach that goal.
You are strong and smart – and you CAN survive this.
Take it one step at a time
It’s time to make a plan, to start mapping out how you will recover from his lies and broken promises. You’ll need to set small goals, both emotional and practical, and keep adding to your list as you accomplish each task.
An example of a practical goal is figuring out how you will support yourself without your husband. Where will you go? How will you get money? I don’t have any answers for you; you need to come up with your own plan. Break it down into small steps: could you rent a room in a house? Work for a year or two while saving up for school?
I know it’s extremely difficult for women in underprivileged countries to get an education. It’s an uphill battle – but women HAVE done it!
I want you to step back and look at your life from a long-term perspective. This relationship breakup seems like a huge, terrible crisis right now – but in the long run, it will be a blip on your lifespan. You WILL recover from this if you focus on moving your life forward one step at a time. Don’t feel like you have to go to school right now; maybe you’ll have to wait a year or two. Don’t feel like you need to jump into a new relationship right away – or that you’ll be alone forever! You won’t be alone forever. You’re better off without this man who lied and broke his word.
What do you think…how will you recover from the broken promises in your relationship?
If you don’t think you can survive on your own, read How to Stop Loving a Man Who Lies, Cheats, and Steals.
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.