Relationships are incredibly complicated. On the one hand, they can bring you a sense of so much joy. Many people find that relationships provide an outlet to connect, a source for support, and an avenue to build a life together financially emotionally, and spiritually. Many people also rely on relationships to fulfill their goals of parenthood. Furthermore, most people would agree that they don’t want to die alone. But the same relationships that most of us desire, also serve as areas for intense pain. Betrayal, conflict, and heartache are but a few of the many things that people will endure as a result of being in relationships. While these concepts cannot be avoided entirely, they can be reduced if and when people are on the same page. Having a commitment talk can help this. Here are some steps to proceed.
Know what you want. It’s going to be hard to commit to anything if you don’t know what you want first. This requires a lot of self reflection. In some cases, we want to do what we have seen done before, even if it’s not working. This isn’t going to help you in the long run because you will be doing things based off of things you have observed in others, and not things that you want for yourself. Furthermore, when things are not working and you repeat them, they will continue to not work. Do yourself a service and check in with yourself to make sure that you are clear on what you want so that you can communicate it effectively with your partner, and not make the same mistakes that you have seen others make. Suggestions for doing self reflection are below:
~ adult coloring
~ listening to podcast
Identify a time to have “the talk.” Talking about commitment is a very serious issue. Therefore, it should be approached intentionally. Identifying a time to discuss it allows both parties to be able to come to the table with an open mind and knowing that the nature of the conversation is going to be serious, as opposed to randomly having a conversation and hoping that your partner will be open and ready to accept it. You don’t have to let your partner know that the conversation is about commitment, but it is important to let your partner know that there’s something important that you would like to discuss with him or her so that they can be prepared to be open to this process.
Watch your words. A lot of people start conversations with, “ we have to talk.” This is typically not a good idea because the other person likely will be defensive from the beginning and open to hearing what you have to say. Think about it, those words sound quite threatening and nobody really wants to have a conversation about anything let difficult, especially when they feel threatened. By starting a conversation in a more positive tone, the chances of it generating more positive results will increase. Examples of this include starting a conversation about commitment like this, “ I’m really enjoying the time that we’re having together but there’s something I’d like to discuss with you. Are you available to discuss this over dinner on Wednesday?” By starting this conversation with a complement and with a more positive tone, the person will likely be more receptive to hearing what you have to say and working with you through whatever concerns you may have. This skill is useful not only for commitment but any serious conversation that you might need to have with another person.
Remember your “Y.” This is so important because so many people want to be in a committed relationship for the wrong reasons. Some people might be pressured due to a biological clock which suggest that they need to proceed in a committed relationship so that they can have children according to society. Others might feel pressured due to religious reasons that value marriage over being single. Essentially, if you want to have a committed relationship for any reason other then because you want to and you feel like you can coexist effectively with your partner, your decision will likely fail, even if you do agree to be committed. There’s nothing worse than being in a committed relationship with a person based of of values that are inconsistent to your own. There are so many ways to get your needs met that don’t involve compromising your own values but this requires insight and wisdom to navigate around these challenges. You have to know your own self so that you can make your own choices and you’ll find that the value that you placed on other peoples expectations of you will decrease.
Don’t settle. Your partner will either commit to you or they won’t but whatever you do, don’t settle. If you want commitment, and your partner is not prepared to commit, staying in the relationship anyway will likely do even more damage than terminating the relationship. It this is the case, it’s important find commitment elsewhere, even if it means commitment to just yourself. It’s tempting to want to preserve something that’s broken in order to avoid being alone, especially when you have your own feelings with abandonment and rejection, but it’s better to be alone and healthy then in a relationship that’s unhealthy. What might feel very difficult today, can save you from emotional heart ache in the long run.
If you need someone to help you discuss commitment with,