What is a commitment? One definition is, “the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, relationship, etc.” A further definition is, “an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action.” If you look in different dictionarys, you will find some variation on this same theme.
When we enter into a long term relationship, we usually make some commitments to that person and we expect them to make similar commitments to us. I’m not just talking about marriage. People can be in relationships for years without a legal commitment, simply an emotional one. Some people feel that the legal commitment alters the relationship and I’m not sure if they are correct or not. While in theory, it shouldn’t change things, in reality it often does. (That’s another blog.)
The best way to understand commitment with another person is to have a conversation with them about it. Both of the people should be able to share what their expectations and obligations are in the relationship and then there are no misunderstandings. If a person tells you that they have difficulty being only with one person but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to be with you, then it makes no sense to feel hurt when that happens because we knew it was part of their definition of commitment. They don’t intend to the leave the relationship, they do need variety. Believe it or not, if you talk about it, people will let you know. It is then our choice to go on with this relationship or move on to find someone who has a similar definition to ours of what commitment means in a long term relationship.
It is truly pretty simple, but it is definitely not easy. Most of us decide we “love” someone and we want to be them no matter what, so we avoid having conversations that might lead us to know that they might be a great person, but might not be great for us in a long term relationship. This is when ego gets in the way of being happy. We want what we want and we aren’t willing to really look at all the information before creating a commitment. Truly, this is just fine as long as we are willing to live with whatever happens and don’t expect the other person to be different or to be more of what we want them to be. No one should have to change who they are to be in a relationship. Neither person should have to change to please the other person.
Commitment is about being in a relationship, long term, in a way that is pleasing to both parties and allows us to be who we authentically are. Talk about it before hand, really be honest in what you say and in hearing the other person, make sure this is what you want long term and then commitment is no longer scary and tends to work out well!