Feeling like your spouse is unreliable is very disappointing. It’s hard enough raising a family, going to work, dealing with all of the responsibilities of life! Not being able to depend on the other adult in your immediate compounds that difficulty.

What to do when your partner is unreliable

There are several reasons why your spouse isn’t dependable. Let’s look at a few of those together.

1. One of the most often overlooked but very real contributing factors to reliability is ADD or ADHD. A psychiatrist or neuropsychologist would help you with this diagnosis and so many couples don’t even realize that this was a factor in their relationship until it is too late.

In fact, our own marriage experienced this shocking wake up call when realizing that ADHD plagued our marriage.

The diagnosis is real and there are plenty of couples experiencing the frustration of big dreams and unfinished projects. Often, by the time the diagnosis is made, the couple has lost a lot of hope; namely, the neurotypical spouse no longer trusting the neuroatypical partner. We invite you to start thinking about whether ADHD could be impacting your own marriage, contributing to the frequent disappointment.

2. Has your home been a constant environment of shame or blame? We all have areas to grow and improve. If you’ve been guilty of nagging, criticism, and negativity (which may feel right to you since it’s so infuriating to have an undependable partner!), it makes sense from your spouse’s perspective to tune you out.

He may not be tuning you out on purpose, but we all have our own defense mechanisms and some of us are a lot more sensitive to being yelled at or criticized. If your spouse grew up in a home where he felt blamed or shamed, when this happens now in the present tense, he’s going to go right into fight or flight, freeze or submit mode; in this case tuning out is essentially freezing or running away.

Understand more about this dynamic by taking the Maximizer/Minimizer quiz and see if it’s impacting your own relationship!

Learning how to create safe interactions, a calm home where negativity is rare and shaming or criticizing comments are refrained from, will help create an environment where each of you can feel safe to show up and perform optimally.

You will of course feel less on edge when your partner is more dependable and your partner will become more dependable when he feels less threatened (unless a diagnosis is the main reason). Who’s going to go first? 🙂

Get the support and validation you need

We’d love to be able to talk with you and help you create this safe environment that is needed to curb the unreliability. Schedule a time to speak with us to understand more about what’s been going on and get the clarity that you need to feel supported and validated.

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Shlomo & Rivka Slatkin

Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin is an Imago relationship therapist and certified (master level) Imago workshop presenter with over 20 years of experience hosting couples therapy retreats in-person and online. Contact info@themarriagerestorationproject.com or