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Indecisive Partner: Why They Can’t Decide & 22 Firm Ways to Deal with It

You are constantly frustrated because you have an indecisive partner. Here’s why they are that way and how you can deal with it so your life is easier.

indecisive partner

Indecisiveness is a common trait among many people. But little did we know that there is an underlying cause to this slightly annoying habit. And yes, it can be annoying having an indecisive partner, so let’s take a look at what makes them that way and what you can do about it.

What makes people indecisive?

To actually understand indecisiveness, you need to remember that people who are indecisive are not really interested in their own final decision. They are more concerned about who is involved in the outcome of their decision.

They are experiencing inner passivity which is borne out of a misguided idea that they are weak and helpless. They are deciding without really believing in their own authority.

No matter what decision they make, the choice is usually based on the perception of the person or people who are involved.

They can’t make a quick decision because they don’t want to be blamed for failing to make the right one. Even if that’s not the case, they’re still reluctant to do so in case they make the wrong one for themselves.

Shallow or not, the reasons for indecisiveness are borne out of self-doubt. No matter which choice a person ends up making, there is a huge possibility that they will not be happy about it unless the person they’re with assures them that it is. [Read: Indecisiveness – when your inability to decide is a decision too]

The subtle signs of an indecisive partner

You may think you have an indecisive partner, but do you really? If you’re on the fence about whether or not your significant other can actually decide things on their own, then here are some traits of an indecisive partner.

1. They cancel plans without a good reason

If you notice that your partner is canceling plans with you for no good reason, then this means they are not usually sure of their plans. So, that leads them to want to cancel regardless of the consequences of doing so.

One of the reasons this happens is that indecisive partners are impulsive.

They make emotional decisions right there, right now. It’s like they don’t have the ability to think into the future and figure out whether or not they should do something or not. [Read: Never make someone a priority when you are only an option – the truth]

2. They make promises they don’t keep

Your partner might make you all sorts of promises. They could be anything from taking you out on a Friday night to losing weight and getting in shape.

But regardless of the promise, if you notice that your partner makes promises to you but “forgets” easily, then they might be indecisive. 

What they say at any given moment might sound like a good idea to them. However, when the time comes to deliver on their promises, they claim they “forgot” or that they “just aren’t feeling it right now.”

You can’t really rely on their words or actions. So you’ll have to focus on them making better decisions.

3. They keep a lot of their plans to themselves

If you think you have an indecisive partner, one of the things to look out for is if they prefer to keep their plans a secret.

The reason they might keep things from you is that they want to do things at their own pace without any pressure from you or anyone else. [Read: 12 signs it’s time to jump ship and leave your partner]

4. They can’t commit to anything

Another great way to figure out whether you have an indecisive partner is to see if they are unwilling to commit to anything – especially if the plans are pretty far in the future *at least for them*. They don’t like to plan ahead, so they prefer to live in the moment.

They do this because they don’t know what their *mood* will be when the time arrives. Either that or they just don’t know what they want. This usually manifests in a lot of different aspects of their lives – not just with your relationship.

How does this affect your relationship?

When you hear about it from other people, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal. But from the perspective of the one who’s experiencing this with an indecisive partner, it can be quite taxing.

The most common arguments you’ll hear from couples is about where they’re deciding to eat. It’s even the butt of many, many memes online. [Read: 18 relationship turns offs that can ruin your romance]

It does not necessarily cause breakups, but it can annoy people and can even be the cause of the fighting, or worse, the dreaded silent treatment. When this happens frequently, there is a chance that it can affect the whole dynamic of your relationship.

When making huge decisions about your relationship, taking too much time can allow for other developments too, and not all of them are positive.

For example, if you take too long to answer a marriage proposal or make the proposal, you’re screwed. But when it comes to decisions like where or when to move in together, it can cause tangible repercussions like real estate price surges.

If you find yourself on the receiving end of your partner’s indecisiveness, you have to be prepared for the consequences. Aside from that, you need to take responsibility as the person who can help them with it. [Read: 12 easy steps to change your life and find your happiness]

How do you deal with your indecisive partner?

There are a lot of things that your partner can be indecisive about. Serious or not, you will have to deal with this. Why? For one thing, you care enough about this person to want the best for them. Here’s how.

1. Plan B, C, D, and so forth

If your partner can’t decide on Plan A, it’s your job to give them as many viable options as possible. Make sure that you’re always ready to help them, so it would help to study up on the things that they have trouble deciding – even when it’s about your relationship. [Read: 12 things happy couples talk about to understand each other better]

2. Put your foot down

When your partner can’t decide on their own, it’s time to call in your “Relationship Card.” You are now a unit, which means that your decision matters just as much as theirs.

If you are allowed to make the decision – because some can only be made by your partner – you should show your assertiveness and just do what needs to be done.

3. Find your center

If you are not in a position to make a decision for your partner, it’s best that you just step aside and take a breather.

Dealing with an indecisive partner takes a lot of patience. If you have very little of that, you better start training yourself to have more.

4. Think outside the box

Your partner may be having doubts about their decision because they don’t have a firm grasp of what the outcome may be.

You can help your partner by offering options that they aren’t familiar with. An example would be choosing to move into a place they don’t know about but is just as safe and beautiful as your other options.

5. Be a little selfish

Giving your partner too much leeway can be disadvantageous sometimes. This is where you can draw the line and tell them that what you want should matter as well.

Don’t force your decision on them, but do explain that it would make you happy to decide for both of you. If they don’t agree with you, return to #1. [Read: 19 signs you’re being overly selfish in your relationship]

6. Don’t be afraid to use mind games

This is not about manipulation. Think of it as stimulating your partner’s mind in order to help them decide faster.

The most popular one is the game where you make a person choose between two random choices rapidly until you surprise them with an important question and they end up answering with the first thing that comes to their mind.

You can find other ways too, to help them make decisions faster, based on their subconscious thought processes. [Read: Psychological manipulation – 16 signs and tactics real manipulators use]

7. Use their gut

Studies have shown that our instincts are more effective than relying on calculated decisions. It’s pretty easy to use your instincts since there are only two ways to go about it. I

f you feel good about your decision, just go with it. If it makes you doubt yourself or makes you feel bad, leave it alone.

Explain this to your partner and tell them whichever feels less stressful is the right one at the time.

8. Let the chips fall where they may

You cannot change a person, but you can help guide them to become better at the things that make them weak.

In cases like these, it is best to be there as much as possible for your partner. But there is a limit.

Know when to give up and just be there for your partner. You never know, they might experience something along the way that can help them improve. [Read: The big reasons why empathy is so important in a relationship]

9. Give them a deadline

When you are frustrated by your indecisive partner, then sometimes you just need to give them a deadline.

Be firm and tell them if they don’t come up with a decision by a certain day and time, then there will be consequences. Or, you could tell them that you will just make the decision for them. That will help their decision-making along.

10. Have healthy communication

When you get angry with your indecisive partner, you have to watch yourself to make sure that you don’t break down the communication between the two of you.

Try to avoid yelling, screaming, or name-calling regardless of how frustrated you feel. Keep the conversations logical and healthy.

11. Choose your battles

Sure, you might feel like fighting every battle with your indecisive partner. But if you do that, you will drive yourself crazy. So, you need to prioritize what is important to you.

If you need an answer on something very important – such as attending a wedding or going on vacation – then push the issue. But if it’s something like going to see a movie that night, you might want to let that go. [Read: How to stop fighting in a relationship and 16 steps to really talk]

12. Support their decisions

When your partner decides something, but they aren’t 100% sure of it, then you should support their decision.

Sometimes all they need is to see that you approve of their decision so they can take that next step. When they see that you are supportive of them, then they will be more likely to act on their choice.

13. Don’t expect them to change

If you see your indecisive partner making progress, you shouldn’t expect too much. They probably won’t magically change into a person who is good at making decisions.

So, don’t get your hopes up and have expectations that are too high. If you do, you might get disappointed a lot. So, you will have to be patient with them.

Things to remember when dealing with an indecisive partner

An indecisive partner is likely to be disagreeable most of the time. This can make it difficult for you to help them become less indecisive. They might get stressed out when you push them too hard and they might resent you for trying to control how they feel about their decisions.

In situations like that, you have to be vigilant. This is especially true if your partner’s indecisiveness is starting to affect your relationship in a negative way.

1. You must surrender all control

Your job is to guide your partner. Once your end of the bargain has been executed, you just have to stand back and let your partner deal with this new information.

Whether or not they change for the better is ultimately up to them. Don’t be a control freak when it comes to your partner’s decisions! [Read: 20 glaring signs you have a control freak in you]

2. Do not fall for their puppy dog eyes

This might have been going on for a while, which means your partner is not the only one to blame.

If you’ve been enabling them to the point that their indecisiveness has become an issue, it’s time to change and be strong enough to ignore their pouting.

3. Use the silent treatment

If your partner refuses to change their ways, not humoring them might just do the trick. Ignore the fact that they’re taking too long to decide and do things on your own without them.

Soon enough, they will see that they’re missing out on so many things because they can’t decide quickly on the things that really matter. [Read: How to use the silent treatment in a way that it helps your relationship]

4. Help them understand why this is necessary

Helping your partner is only possible if they know what’s up. You need to tell them about their problem and how it’s affecting your relationship.

Show them how this process will be beneficial for you both. When they have all the information, they’re more likely to agree that working on their indecisiveness is a good idea.

5. Don’t apologize for trying to help them

They may get mad at you and try to argue that you’re not accepting of their flaws. The truth is that some flaws are completely unacceptable, especially when it’s doing more harm than good.

With that being said, you’re doing what you think is best for your relationship. Do not apologize because doing so will just put you back at square one.

Should you stay with an indecisive partner?

This is a question that only you can answer. However, it only comes down to one thing – how is your partner’s indecisiveness affecting your life?

If it’s in a negative way, then you might want to reconsider the relationship. But if it doesn’t bother you too much, then you might want to stay and work it out.

But don’t mistake indecisiveness as a personality disorder. There are extreme cases, but that can hardly be said for someone who just isn’t confident about how they decide things.

Instead, treat this like you would any obstacle in your relationship. Discuss it, work on it together and do your best to solve the issue with your partner.

[Read: 16 silly bad habits that can hurt your relationship in no time]

Dealing with an indecisive partner isn’t easy, and it can even be frustrating. But with a little patience and effort using these tips here, you can change their life and your relationship for the better in no time.

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Carol Morgan LP
Dr. Carol Morgan
Dr. Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University where she loves corrupting young minds. As a relationship and succes...