What, pray, is integrity?
And is it missing in my relationship?
Integrity means generally sticking to your moral values and principles and maintaining your word, even in difficult situations.
This can look different for everyone, particularly in relationships.
What works for some couples won’t work for others.
It’s also important to note that a large portion of integrity is built on honesty.
If your partner promises you the world on a silver platter, yet serves up dead roses and dusty coal, they lack integrity.
If your partner is honest in telling you their flaws and their shortcomings, yet tries their best (in doing so, probably still slipping up on occasion), they are demonstrating integrity.
(Albeit realistic integrity.)
The bottom line is that you uphold the expectations and commitments that you make towards one another.
Once these boundaries and expectations have been communicated, integrity comes into play.
They might tell you that they think the world of you and love you to bits, but their actions certainly say otherwise…
So what 8 signs are giveaways that you’re in a relationship with someone who lacks integrity?
1) You’re never quite sure if they’re telling the truth
Let’s admit it, we all dabble in the occasional white lie.
If you don’t, you’re almost a unicorn.
Or black sheep.
Whichever way you want to look at it.
Small lies that protect feelings and do no harm can almost be justified, but if your partner has a history of telling lies, it’s not looking good for you.
Small lies can snowball into colossal dishonesty which can tear down a relationship very quickly.
And even if you and your partner find a way to rebuild trust post-lie, there’s a high chance you’ll carry with you a lingering sense of distrust.
So on the whole, catching someone out in recurring lies or a general lack of honesty suggests that their character and morals aren’t quite as upright as you might need.
2) They don’t respect your boundaries
You can love someone, promise them the world, but still set and maintain personal boundaries for your own wellbeing.
It’s a necessity to keep your physical and psychological health intact.
Any loving partner should be conscious of and respect your limits when it comes to certain boundaries such as physical touch, intimacy, or personal possessions.
Unsurprisingly, those without integrity don’t tend to be conscious or nor respect those boundaries.
Say for example you tell your partner that you need to sleep at a certain time to be on top form for work.
You tell them repeatedly, yet they keep pushing you to stay up and watch one more episode of Antiques Roadshow with you.
Or you ask your partner not to wear your socks, but you catch them traipsing around the house for the fifth time in your fluffy bed socks.
Accidentally crossing a boundary once can be forgiven – especially if the boundary or limit was unclear or not communicated.
But a repeat offence indicates you’re in a relationship with someone who doesn’t really care about your limits or what pushes your buttons, which is overall a pretty bad sign.
3) Nor do they value your time
Relationships require a great deal of give and take.
On the whole, this should add up to 50/50 but it’s quite often not.
You might find yourself in periods where you give more and your partner’s priorities come first if they’re balancing more responsibilities for a short while.
Equally, your partner might be the one who has to make sacrifices if you suddenly have something come up – say a promotion or grievance – and they work a little more than usual to accommodate your own needs above their own.
The key is compromise and balance.
But if your partner’s needs are always coming out on top and they constantly expect you to sacrifice your own plans or wishes for theirs, chances are they don’t really value you.
Maybe they’re quick to cancel plans when they’re busy, but whine and complain when you tell them that you’re swamped with work so will have to give date-night a miss.
Maybe they show up late to every meet-up (which would grind anyone’s gears).
If you picture you and your partner standing on some of those archaic balancing scales, who comes out on top?
If your partner always gets their way and doesn’t ever seem inclined to make sacrifices or compromises, they likely don’t have your needs high up in their list of priorities.
Valuing one another is such an integral part of relationships, so maintaining a connection with someone like this can prove very challenging.
4) You are confused
I kind of hate the tripe statement, “if they really love you, you’ll know” that circulates social media.
The idea is that any form of confusion or doubt as to whether they love you means that they don’t, because true love would be obvious.
But as someone who struggles to show certain emotions (yet feels them deeply – think HSP), I don’t think this necessarily applies to everyone.
You can love someone wholly and demonstrate integrity, but still leave them guessing if you’re not able to express emotions or commitment out of anxiety or other contributory issues.
But as a generalisation, people who really do value and love you will do their utmost to make this known.
Even I try to make up for my lack of emotive expression in other areas; by doing acts of service or giving gifts.
So if you’re thoroughly perplexed as to where you stand with this person, chances are their integrity is compromised.
5) High highs, and low lows
One minute it’s love and lust and pure bliss.
The next it’s tears and nail-biting and doom-scrolling at 3am as you worry about how they haven’t replied to your messages in 3 days.
Toxic relationships are often built on this inconsistency.
It’s almost addictive to chase the high of someone’s affection and briefly stand in the sunshine, only to then be thrown into the shadows.
But consistent and reliable love won’t leave you guessing, and integrity means showing up everyday in a steady and unwavering manner.
6) Actions speak louder than words
Part of the reason why those highs are so high is because your partner actually does as they promise, for once.
Making big promises and not delivering is a key indicator of someone who lacks integrity.
It builds upon being honest, as part of honesty is sticking to what you say.
If you notice your partner promising to change or even saying that they’ll buy you nice gifts and take you to fancy places, only to never experience any change (or get any presents), you’re probably dating someone who talks the talk…
But doesn’t walk the walk.
7) Me? Flawed?
We all have flaws.
Some hide them better than others.
Working out how you identify your flaws and work to improve them is a big part of self-reflection and self-improvement.
Unfortunately, none of that growth is possible if you stick your head in the sand and pretend you’re perfect.
Which is an act that many people who lack integrity tend to participate in.
Like ostriches, they play dumb and hide when it comes to accepting or acknowledging any weaknesses of character.
Any constructive feedback they take as a very personal attack upon their character, which can make growing together very difficult.
8) “It’s not my fault”
Because they’re so perfect and have no flaws (see above), they will never accept any blame should arguments or conflict arise.
Conflict resolution is a key aspect of maintaining healthy relationships, because you’ll undoubtedly disagree and argue over all sorts of things.
Part of the blessing of being in a relationship is also seeing someone else’s viewpoint.
Regardless, those who lack integrity will often outright refuse to take blame should arguments arise.
This sucks because if you’re on the receiving end, you can feel like you’re going round in circles being blamed for everything or get stuck in a rut, unable to resolve conflict.
And if you do ever argue and for once “win”, it’s exactly that.
Those without integrity see conflict or miscommunications as a win/lose competitive situation rather than two people working together to assimilate their lives and find mutual harmony.
To round it off…
If the above points remind you of your partner, you have my commiserations.
Being in a relationship with someone who lacks integrity can be very exhausting.
I’ve been there myself, so I know the feeling.
I don’t want to tell you your relationship is doomed, as people can change.
They key is that they have to be the ones in the driver’s seat choosing that change for themselves.
So if you feel like your partner is dishonest, doesn’t do what they say, or otherwise doesn’t seem to have a respectful moral compass – communicate this.
Try to calmly express how you feel and consider involving a counsellor or therapist if needed.
But remember that you can drag a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.
Intertwining your own life with someone who disrespects your boundaries and time can leave you with a heavy emotional toll, so consider the impact this relationship is having on you and how well you’re suited to your partner.