View Full Version : Forgetting Promises in a Relationship


gogleos
06-08-17, 03:54 PM
Hello everyone,
I was wondering if anyone could help me remember promises that I make in my relationship with my girlfriend. I so often make promises, ranging anywhere from important to trivial, but as soon as the conversation at hand ends I cannot remember to do them. I have tried sticky notes and "willpower" to make sure I remember everything, but they do not work as I become desensitized to that stimuli of a post it on my door or bathroom mirror, and the willpower fails as I forget, no matter how hard I try unless I spend every waking moment focused on not doing xyz. I have started a journal where I right my promises down and this is working to an extent, except I have no fail safe, no way to make sure that I remember to do my journal every morning. In addition, the effectiveness of the journal can fade greatly throughout the day, especially with "emotional" promises such as not getting defensive as quickly or working hard to compromise(compared to physical promises of don't leave the toilet seat up or close the door when you leave).

I was wondering if anyone had any good suggestions for real ways to keep my accountability to myself and my girlfriend that does not rely on "well just remember" like so many "self help" websites suggest.

dvdnvwls
06-08-17, 07:56 PM
Maybe it could help to start by examining the wisdom of making and/or expecting numerous promises in the first place. For many of us with ADHD, remembering and acting on a large load of information is already a Kryptonite-like situation, and when you add in the emotional pressure of who you made the promises to, and the fact that some of these promises are sounding like "I promise my ADHD will be fixed soon" - which of course it won't - the whole thing can quickly become a source of blame, contempt, and despair.

I have found it painful and difficult to insist "I won't make a promise that I know I can't keep" - it caused some very unpleasant arguments and some bad feelings that took a long time to be resolved - but the eventual result has been greater mutual understanding and a happier stronger relationship.


I'm not saying "No promises", I'm saying "Only those promises that are both keep-able and highly important".

From the other direction, I've pressured people into making difficult promises in the past, and I consider that whole idea to be mainly a failure. Such promises mostly don't get kept, and you're both left standing there with no solution that's fair or gracious.

sarahsweets
06-09-17, 04:22 AM
Hello everyone,
I was wondering if anyone could help me remember promises that I make in my relationship with my girlfriend.
What kind of promises are you talking about? Does she also make promises to you too?

I so often make promises, ranging anywhere from important to trivial, but as soon as the conversation at hand ends I cannot remember to do them. I have tried sticky notes and "willpower" to make sure I remember everything, but they do not work as I become desensitized to that stimuli of a post it on my door or bathroom mirror, and the willpower fails as I forget, no matter how hard I try unless I spend every waking moment focused on not doing xyz.
Are you saying your promises are stuff that you are supposed to remember not to do? Those are really hard promises. In fact, I dont know if making promises about what not to do is even a good idea. Its hard enough to keep promises about what we are going to do, its kinda rough to make promises about what NOT to do.


I have started a journal where I right my promises down and this is working to an extent, except I have no fail safe, no way to make sure that I remember to do my journal every morning. In addition, the effectiveness of the journal can fade greatly throughout the day, especially with "emotional" promises such as not getting defensive as quickly or working hard to compromise
Why would you promise stuff about your feelings? You are human.
(compared to physical promises of don't leave the toilet seat up or close the door when you leave).

These are ridiculous promises. I would never ask a man to promise not to leave the toilet seat up. First of all, all men do this sometimes. Second of all, its not hard to put the seat down before you use the toilet.

I was wondering if anyone had any good suggestions for real ways to keep my accountability to myself and my girlfriend that does not rely on "well just remember" like so many "self help" websites suggest.

I dont know if making promises like this is healthy. Promises are something I almost never make anymore, I broke to many, especially when I was an active alcoholic. I dont make any promises if I am not sure I can keep them. I dont want to break them. They are reserved for something super important. Making trivial promises are meaningless IMO, and takes away the gravity of the important promises.

ToneTone
06-09-17, 03:25 PM
Totally agree with the others.

If you can't remember the promises, that's probably a sign that you are making too many promises and promising to change way too much. Which probably means you're on the defensive ... which might mean your partner is bringing up too many issues at once.

Making change is hard ... not a little hard ... but back-breaking, maddeningly hard ... Your job is not to promise all kinds of changes ... I say this as I look around my messy bedroom and think about all the times I've made progress in keeping things neat and organized ... only to backtrack ... Actually, I just finished a major work project ... and I'm accepting that it's probably impossible for me right now to engage in a major work project AND keep my living space neat.

The kind of thing you want to promise is something that you can remember ... something that is already on your mind, already high on your own agenda ... and feelings.

Also this makes me think you are under massive pressure and receiving a lot of criticism in this relationship. Which is a frequent occurrence for folks with ADHD.

Good luck.

Tone

20thcenturyfox
07-12-17, 12:07 PM
I see nothing wrong with agreeing you need to be less defensive or more ready to compromise. And I can totally relate to "forgetting" these well-thought-out intentions "in the moment."

The main problem I see is framing these intentions as "promises" which you "break" when you fail to remember "in the moment." In any relationship where one party is trying to outgrow an ingrained but unhelpful behaviour--but especially where that person has ADHD--I think this is a set-up for failure and resentment.

I think it's important for couples to try to "get on the same side" of any problem, so they are collaborating and pushing together, rather than being adversaries with opposite interest.

What about trying to enlist your GF's help by having some hand signals she can use to remind you when she thinks you are being defensive or resisting compromise? Of course it would be nice if she could grin and wink, too, but the nice part of hand signals is that they kind of stand out from the blur of words.

And you may not always agree or pick up her suggestion. But try, try, try to acknowledge the hand signal as at least a reminder that you both have an interest in being on the same side of whatever specific issue are discussing. You can have your separate viewpoints and feelings--I don't mean you should censor or down play those. But at the end of the day you are probably looking for a solution that will work for both.

If she will work with you, and help you on this, wouldn't that be a win-win for you both?

userguide
07-14-17, 04:17 AM
Easy one.

Take a great, sexy picture of your gf and hang it somewhere.
Then pin the promises in this positive context.

emotional blackmail.

:)

sarahsweets
07-14-17, 07:32 AM
Easy one.

Take a great, sexy picture of your gf and hang it somewhere.
Then pin the promises in this positive context.

emotional blackmail.

:)

What do you mean by emotional blackmail? I dont understand.

MyNameIsDima
07-14-17, 02:11 PM
I had that too at my last relationship.
I just promise something and forget bout it, that not mean that your a bad person, you have just a certain difficulty to remember things. I recommending you to tell her about ADHD and symptoms, at the end of the day- your a good person that want to come home and get a hug :). I am sure if she loves you- she will help you with that.
I can tell you, from personal experience that my ex-girlfriend just want accept the fact that i forgetting things because of my ADHD, and said me that "its will not work between us"...and few mouths after its we broke up after 3 years together :(

Wish you the best!

userguide
07-14-17, 07:30 PM
What do you mean by emotional blackmail? I dont understand.


Just imagine his gf looking at him from the poster and asking "Do you still love me, do you still love me do you still love me" and making him recall all the things they enjoy together ;)