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What Does Commitment Look Like in a Relationship?

It’s helpful to apply self-awareness to improve emotional response to relationships. Glenn Stok studies this and discusses his research.

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?

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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 planing a future together, you'll find yourself getting more in tune with visualizing its reality.

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 our 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


Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on November 08, 2019:

Hi Brenda - It’s interesting how you looked at this the other way. It must feel terrible if your partner has no interest in you.

That feeling should make my point clear, what I said was, “when YOU have no personal interest in someone, then you have no reason to judge that person.” That makes it easier for you to accept that other person, rather than finding fault.

However, your inference brought to my attention how that feels to the other person. That’s just as important to consider.

Being interested in one another needs to be a two-way street, but then that brings up the issue I spoke about—and that is the chance of judgement creeping in.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on November 07, 2019:

Your article is quite interesting.

I found it interesting to say you can have a great relationship with someone who doesn't have an interest in you or what you do.

I recently tried a relationship like this and i felt a bit left out when he did not have any interest in my writing when i always tried to be interested in things he did.

But...that is relationship.

Enjoyed the read.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on May 29, 2018:

Jo Miller - You noticed an important issue I was discussing. It meant that I was living in the moment, and that made me content with the relationship. The only missing part was considering it to be permanent because I didn’t think about the future.

That was a long time ago, and I learned from that what a mistake it was, causing me to overlook the possible great future we both may have had together.

Jo Miller from Tennessee on May 29, 2018:

I was struck by this comment in your article: "I tended to neglect considering the future." I'm not sure I ever dated anyone for any length of time without considering that. After one failed marriage, I decided I was perfectly content to spend the rest of my life, not alone necessarily, but unmarried. I waited a long time to remarry, but as soon as I met my husband I knew right away this was someone I could imagine a future with.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on May 27, 2018:

DredCuan - If I didn’t make myself clear in my prior reply, it’s always important to accept the bad with the good. Life does not only contain good times. Those who allow themselves to learn from past experiences will come out ahead.

Travel Chef from Manila on May 27, 2018:

I'm not pleased to know that you had bad memory from the past. I think what is important now is the learning curve. And of course, to maintain positivity despite of a negative situation right? As my favorite quote goes.... "Everything happens for a reason!"

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on May 26, 2018:

DredCuan - I also believe in those wedding vows. And I like how you think. True commitment can only be real if one accepts sharing the bad times as well as the good times. People tend to give up too quickly if things don’t go exactly as they expect from a partner. I’ve made that mistake in the past.

Travel Chef from Manila on May 26, 2018:

Lol I'm just sharing my experience. Yes, I do believe that relationships are not only for good times, but also for bad times. Like what the usual wedding vows of a Catholic priest for the soon to be newly weds, "in sickness and in health till death do us part". Well this is only applicable to those people who wanted to have a serious relationship.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on May 26, 2018:

DredCuan - Very well said. I especially like the part where you explained about handling all the ups and downs when committed to a relationship. That is how it works, or at least how it should work, if the relationship is to be successful.

I think you explained my other reasoning in a better way by defining it as friends. That has to come first anyway, before lovers.

Thanks for your thoughtful remarks.

Travel Chef from Manila on May 26, 2018:

I believe that a successful relationship starts with a commitment. Once both side find themselves committed to each other, they can handle all the ups and downs of the relationship together.

You've cited too that "The best relationship is with someone with whom you don't have a personal interest." Well, my point of view about it is be with somebody who's rather a friend than a lover. A friend whom you can show who you really are. Somebody who will accept you. Cause sometimes, when we are into a relationship, we normally put our best foot forward just to get their attention. To achieve our personal desire, our personal interest which may eventually result to inconsistency on our part.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on May 25, 2018:

Thanks Dora. I’m sure both men and women can develop an appreciation for one another.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 25, 2018:

Not a man, but I get your "best relationship" concept. Appreciation, not only interest, can form the base for a meaningful relationship. Good counsel altogether.

Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on May 25, 2018:

Tessa, Even though you feel the way you do, I have to give you credit for making that commitment.

Emotions can be a heavy burden, but hopefully as time goes on and you both experience life as a team, you might discover it worth it after all.

Tessa Schlesinger on May 25, 2018:

I have to say that your title caught my eye. Speaking as a woman who was only married for 5 years (and there was absolutely nothing in it for me), it's not an institution I would try again.

I just don't think the 'rewards' are worth the effort.

I would rather be on my own than have to carry a man emotionally.

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