Commitment… Is it a dirty word?

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Has anyone ever yelled or perhaps whispered the ‘C’ word in your ear? That harsh and horrid, or passionate and...
Has anyone ever yelled or perhaps whispered the ‘C’ word in your ear? That harsh and horrid, or passionate and inviting word can sound so different depending on whose mouth it comes out of and when. No I don’t mean ‘that’ C word I mean the one responsible for more confusion, fear and loathing between the sexes than almost any other. Commitment!!

The interesting thing about the word ‘commitment’ in its typical modern day usage i.e. one woman, one man together forever in love, is it’s a very modern phenomenon. In fact if you had said to your parents 200 years ago that you were desperately in love with someone and wanted to commit your life to them they would have locked you up or sent you to see a doctor or priest to have your fully exorcised. Commitment combined with love, especially romantic love, was considered most taboo which, when you consider today’s divorce rate, may not have been such silly notion. But the idea of ‘commitment’ in relationships has meant something different to every generation and culture since time began, although I’m pretty sure the lack of it in whatever form it took generally led to similar painful earbashings! So let’s try and demystify this ‘c’ of a word.

What is a commitment phobe? Is he/she an emotional coward or a realist? Wise enough to know they can’t read the future and smart enough to know they and the rest of the world change? Ask yourself, if you were pushed to choose one food only to eat for the rest of your life while standing in the middle of a food hall would you be indecisive too? At this point I can hear cries of ‘heresy’ and howls of disapproval from the ‘committees’ but this is exactly how the commitment phobe feels.

What exactly is your version of commitment? Two people can be very committed in very different ways, neither seeing the others’ perspective and both feeling uncommitted to.  Would you expect someone to give up their version of commitment for yours? Surely if you really cared and were ‘committed’ to their happiness you would be prepared to give up your version of ‘commitment’ for theirs, and so the argument goes around in circles, or in the case of the one being nagged about commitment - nausea proceeds.

Living together but refusing to get married is a great example of another modern day commitment minefield. Does the non - committal party simply not see marriage as a valid institution? Are there religious differences, career issues, are they too busy, or are they just keeping their options open? To all you old romantics out there more often than not it is the latter. Today’s social setting has made commitment almost entirely unnecessary to get ones future ‘needs’ met, and after all it’s the future that commitment is all about. You bought a dog with me so you must see me in your future. You’re going out with me and stay over every night why won’t you move in to my future? Commitment demands you make a prediction and more frighteningly for some a ‘promise’ about that prediction.

Genetically speaking women are more predisposed to the idea of commitment due to higher levels of Oxytocin the bonding chemical, and the fact they are usually the ones stuck changing nappies while daddy is off ‘committing’ to other things. So the drive is definitely inbuilt to gain security and avoid being lumbered with all the dirty work. But as we mentioned earlier commitment is a ‘perception’ based on your values. What you think you need to secure what you think you want from someone else, and relationship commitment comes in many different flavours.
  • Commitment to a purely practical relationship because it provides security
  • Commitment to a purely sexual relationship because it fulfils needs
  • Commitment to an emotional relationship because it makes you feel good
  • Commitment to an arranged relationship because of religions expectations
  • Commitment to a working relationship for the sake of kids and despite personal grievances
  • Commitment to a dysfunctional relationship to avoid loss of funds
  • Commitment to an ‘understanding’ relationship between a sugar daddy/mumma and his/her Belle
  • Commitment to a emotional relationship for mutual comfort with old age
  • Commitment to a working relationship exchanging services to climb the social ladder
  • Commitment to an emotional relationship without commitment to the sexual component
  • Commitment to a current unromantic but practically successful situation because it’s easier than starting again or finding another.
Maybe if you aren’t getting the commitment you want it’s time to take a look at what you’re offering from your partner’s perspective. You can’t force commitment any more than you can force love but you can remember there are many different types and none more powerful than the commitment to be true to yourself and let others be the same.


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