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What Does Commitment Look Like in a Relationship?

I study emotional responses in relationships and write about them to help others improve their well-being and self-awareness.

Understanding Commitment in a Relationship

Understanding Commitment in a Relationship

Are you here because you feel that you want a permanent relationship to enjoy years of building memories, but you're confused about what commitment looks like?

You might be dealing with some confusion in your mind because your "need" to settle down may not be as urgent as our "desire" for it to happen. It helps to become aware of your values, so you don't make a mistake in judgment and end up spending your life alone. I'll review several pointers that I found are desirable for working on commitment.

Consider Your Values

Even though you think you want to settle down, you may not be conscious of a fear that stands in the way. You might have a fear of your destiny—not knowing what's ahead.

Start by giving thought to determining what your values are:

  • Do you value the freedom that comes with being alone?
  • Do you enjoy quiet solitude in the evenings and when you sleep?

On the other hand:

  • Do you feel better when you are one of a team?
  • Do you enjoy being there for each other through thick or thin?

Think about it. That thought process is the first step to moving forward. Your conclusion will give you the inclination to appreciate the following points about commitment.

Commit to Planning a Future Together

The biggest mistake you can make is not having a plan and focusing on the goal you want to achieve. You need to know how you want your relationship to proceed. You need to know where it’s headed.

Do you know in your heart what you want? You may be just letting time go by without any conception of building a lasting relationship.

There are reasons for this. First, answer these two questions:

  1. Do you want to be in a loving relationship where you and your partner manage life together as a team?
  2. Or do you want to remain single all your life and deal with life’s trials and tribulations all by yourself?

Whatever it is, it all goes back to knowing what you want in life based on your values. The easiest way to get in touch with that is to look ahead. Imagine how things will be in the future.

Once you work at planning a future together, you'll find yourself getting more in tune with visualizing its reality.

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Visualize a Future With Your Partner

I made that mistake in the past. As long as I was happy in a relationship, I accepted the status quo. I didn't think about if it was what I wanted for the rest of my life.

That was a drastic mistake. If I had imagined my girlfriend as my wife, it might have given me the vision I needed to commit to a permanent relationship.

The act of visualizing your future in an existing relationship helps you appreciate what you've got. Otherwise, you might make the mistake of overlooking a great partnership.

Women won't wait around forever. If you don't decide, soon, that you want it to last, it will disappear. The next step is to talk about it.

Discuss Your Relationship Plans and Concerns

I let many years float along in a couple of long-term relationships that went nowhere. That is, we had no plan to build a future together.

If I had visualized the future, had imagined what might come of it, or had imagined my girlfriend as my wife, I might have been motivated to commit.

By sharing these thoughts and discussing a future together, a couple may develop some solid bonds. That effort with communication shows you have a serious attitude, and it lends itself to planning a future together.

Getting into discussions of what you both see as your future helps reinforce the relationship and help with bonding. You could even discuss whatever anxieties you have about it. You both probably have unspoken concerns. Getting it out in the open can have very positive results.

Self-Awareness Can Strengthen Your Relationship

Being aware of reality can help strengthen a relationship. However, if we overlook the positive things and don't give any thought to the entire process, we just let time pass by until the relationship eventually ends. Even a good relationship will fizzle out if there is no plan to make it permanent.

You need to keep your eyes open and be aware of what you’ve got. If you think about other things you expect out of life, then you might be fooling yourself. Expectations may never come to be, but what you have now is unmistakably the reality that's already here. Hold on to it.

That includes being aware of your feelings:

  • Are you happy with your relationship?
  • Is it something you desire to have the for rest of your life?
  • Is there anything troubling you? If so, can you deal with it for the sake of keeping the positive aspects of it?

Once you realize that you are involved with someone special, the relationship strengthens and can continue to grow.

The Best Relationship Could Occur When You Don’t Care

This is an idea that may require some thought to understand. It's a concept that I came up with, and a psychologist friend of mine confirmed its accuracy.

"The best relationship is with someone with whom you don't have a personal interest."

I consider that one of life's rude awakenings. However, there is a meaningful explanation for why a relationship can be great if you have no interest in the other person. It goes like this:

When you have no personal interest in someone, then you have no reason to judge that person. That can go a long way to having a happy relationship.

That makes perfect sense when you think about it, but if you have no interest in the person, then where would the relationship be headed?

That’s why I refer to this concept as: “Life’s rude awakening.”

One may feel good about that kind of relationship because they don't care one way or the other, but are they mistaken about its reality?

There is a bright side. With appreciation for a committed relationship, this can work. People can be devoted to a relationship even when they have no interest in one another, as long as they are interested in building the relationship itself. That might be hard to understand, and that is why I said this concept requires some thought.

Both partners can have different perspectives on life yet can be 100% committed to each other. That means you may not see eye to eye on everything in life, but as long as you appreciate each other for what you both are and you relate well with one another, why throw that away?

To Conclude

Think about it—you have to decide if you want to be alone for the rest of your life or if you want a lasting partnership filled with love that grows with time.

Now that's something to commit to, isn't it?

© 2018 Glenn Stok

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