July 27, 2017

6 Myths Around Relationship Commitment You Need to Know


To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow – this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert

There are two things I truly believe when it comes to relationships:

  1. When a relationship is good, it’s really great and a few things come close to it.
  2. When a relationship is bad, it can feel like the worst thing to be stuck in.

I’d also be the first one to admit that a committed relationship isn’t the right choice for everyone, but it’s also true that many singles harbour negative attitudes about relationships that aren’t justified.

That’s what this article is about: Relationship Commitment and the 6 Myths You Need to Know.

Now, I know that one can probably argue for either staying single or committing to someone till the cows come home, but what would be the point of that.

Every person is entitled to their own opinion.

I do believe however that one should make decisions based on good insight and facts, rather than opinion or hearsay.

Or worse, one bad experience in the past.

That’s not a great reason to give up on potentially experiencing one of the best things about life – being with somebody that fully sees you for who you are, warts and all, and love you anyway.

Few things beat that.

So, I would argue that the issue isn’t the commitment to another person, but rather the commitment to the wrong person or for the wrong reasons.

That is a recipe for disaster, and most likely a lot of heartache waiting.

The reality is there are certain myths around a commitment that are purely that – myths. Nothing more nothing less.

And should you buy into them you do so at your own risk of missing out on something potentially great.

Let’s look at these 6 myths around relationship commitment to perhaps help you make some more informed decisions moving forward.

I’m challenging you to examine your beliefs regarding these common relationship myths in order to grow as a person and perhaps even give someone special in your life right now, a chance.

Now, before we get into these, let me also just state that no relationship comes without risk.

When we open ourselves up to someone else and let them in, there is always the risk of heartache and getting hurt.

That’s part of life.

If you want to completely avoid the risk of emotional pain (even physical in some instances – not cool by the way), then stop reading this post right here and right now and get on with your life.

Nobody can promise or offer you that, no matter who they are.

When we decide to commit to someone open ourselves up, there is always the chance to get hurt.

But that’s part of the excitement.

That being said let’s dive into the 6 myths around relationship commitment and get some perspective.

  1. Being in a committed relationship results in less freedom.

I’ll be honest in saying that this is partially true.

You do have fewer choices in certain areas of your life.

You’re sharing your life with someone, so how would you not? You’re not just thinking of yourself anymore, but of the person, you’re committed to.

The most common example would be the fact that you lose the option of pursuing other romantic relationships.

Now, some couples have different views on this and might have an open relationship policy, but that’s outside my “realm” of expertise … by choice 🙂

You also might be forced to spend every other Christmas or holiday with the in-laws.

You might not always feel like doing this and would much rather go to the islands (as we call them here in New Zealand), but sometimes we have to make sacrifices because we love our spouse/partner.

But, even though one could argue that there are certain freedoms we have to give up, you also need to consider the freedoms you gain.

You no longer have to search for a mate. No more bad dates (hopefully).

No more spending countless hours online searching dating profiles.

No more wondering if the other person is going to call the next day.

You may have more financial freedom by adding a second income to your financial situation.

You always have a ride if your car is in the shop.

You have someone to share the housework.

Someone to look after the kids when you want to go play touch.

Someone to take the dog to the vet when you have an important appointment.

Personally, I feel that if you choose wisely and you end up with the right person, you actually gain a lot more freedom by being in a committed relationship, then when you’re single.

Ultimately, “freedom” is a relative term. What some people might see as “being restricted” others see as “being completely free.”

  1. A relationship leads to a boring routine.

It is true that as couples we do tend to fall into routines because it makes more sense when you have to juggle a lot of things in your life.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that routine has to be boring. It could be but doesn’t have to be.

When you’re in a committed relationship with the right person, you always have access to a friend.

You almost always have somebody to go to the movies with.

You got someone to talk to when you feel down or excited.

You have someone to share a meal with every day.

You have someone to play pranks on.

You have someone to cuddle up to at night (or whenever you feel like it  … correction  … when SHE feels like it).

At the end of the day it might seem boring to a single person, but sitting on the couch watching old movies with someone you love dearly isn’t a bad way to spend an evening.

It beats surfing the internet alone or binge-watching Netflix by yourself.

Not to mention, you have someone most likely willing to make you a cup of coffee when you are watching a movie by yourself in the one room with them in the other room. SCORE!!!

Again, a routine isn’t a bad thing. It can be a very handy thing.

But it’s up to each couple to make sure they don’t fall into a rut or a predictable boring routine.

It’s up to each couple to decide to make things exciting and spice things up every now and again.

So routine isn’t the issue, the issue is what you choose to do with it.

Ask yourself: What is your current routine? Is it enjoyable, or merely comfortable?

If it’s enjoyable, good on ya.

If it’s not and merely comfortable, then change it if you want to.

Everyone to their own.

But being scared of boring routine is by no means a valid reason to revolt against commitment in a relationship.

Chances are, as a single person, you most likely also have some form of routine.

And if you’re really honest, you might even tell us that a lot of its also boring at times.

You have to find ways to entertain yourself, most of the time.

Or friends, who are available.

When you’re in a committed relationship, you have the option of both worlds.

You can spend time by yourself when you want to, or you with your loved one when you choose to.

Win-win.

  1. Commitment is a form of giving up.

Listen, let’s get one thing straight: Settling down isn’t the same as settling.

It’s not necessary to sacrifice your needs or dreams in order to be part of a relationship.

In fact, if your relationship demands that you give up on your needs or dreams, you most likely in the wrong one.

But again, the issue is not a commitment to someone, but rather who YOU have chosen to be committed to. That could be the problem.

So, figure out what you want.

Then figure out what your partner wants.

If those things can coexist, commitment isn’t an issue.

It will never be because you end up making it easier for one another to be fulfilled and achieve your dreams.

You support and encourage one another to become the best version of yourself.

You do that because you know when your partner shows up as the best version of themselves, YOU are the one benefiting from that.

My experience of marriage has taught me that you can keep your uniqueness and your dreams.

In fact, it becomes a place where your spouse urges you on and sometimes even carries your dreams for you when you want to give up on them yourself.

The right person will do that.

The reality is that your partner’s uniqueness and goals make life far more interesting than when you go about pursuing your goals and dreams on your own.

I believe we are like pack animals.

When we are in the right “pack” we are stronger together than apart.

In nature, when a lion gets “kicked” from the pride, they don’t last very long on their own.

Fending for themselves and surviving become a lot harder.

Now, they might have all the “freedom” and time in the world to do what they want, but I believe they will take the presence and comfort of the pack any day above wondering in the wild on their own.

There have been many times I wanted to give up on some of my endeavours.

Fortunately, I have a wife that understands me and knows exactly when I need her to step up for me.

When she needs to “step into the gap” so to speak; just long enough for me to get my shit together.

When you’re on your own, without anyone urging you on, it’s so much easier to give up.

Not so when you are with the right person.

Believing otherwise is believing a myth.

  1. You can force someone to commit to you.

There’s no way to force someone else to want to be with you.

You might be able to force a commitment in the short-term, but your partner will be looking for a way out.

The moment you let your guard down, they are gone!

I can tell you that much.

When someone is with you or you are with someone for any other reason than truly wanting to be with that person, I can bet you my last dollar that that relationship will not survive long term.

Maybe you can get away short-term or pretend by playing a happy home, but it will end eventually.

If someone is with you because they are more scared of being alone, you will stand disappointed in the end.

Or if you are with someone because someone else broke your heart and this one is filling that hole, it will end in tears.

In the end, you will have a relationship that contains resentment.

Resentment is like a slow-acting poison to a relationship.

Now, I’m not telling you these things to be a bearer of bad news.

No, I’m telling you these things because I don’t want you to be wasting your time in the wrong relationship, and then end up blaming “relationships” for your foolishness.

A healthy relationship can be the most liberating and joyful thing you can ever experience.

But the opposite is equally true.

A toxic relationship can rip your life apart and leave you with the pieces.

You cannot force someone to be with you (not truly).

And someone cannot force you to be with them.

Maybe physically for a while, but once there is an opening they will take it.

In fact, if you’re in a dangerous or toxic relationship like this right now, and you don’t want to be, I would encourage you to get out when there is an opening.

Do not waste (or risk) your life in a relationship that is going nowhere, or worse, could destroy your life.

In that case, being alone is a much better prospect and choice.

  1. Commitment is a one-time event.

I might disappoint you with this, but believing that commitment is a one-time event is an absolute myth.

The truth is that commitment is a daily exercise.

You have to create your relationship with your partner each day. As soon as you fail to put energy into it, it begins to die.

I need you to read that last part again.

Anything you leave unattended for long enough time will start to decay. Relationships are the same.

I would go so far as to say that we need to actively try and fall in love all over again every day.

But how do we do that?

You do that by what I call small daily surprising acts of love.

We have to find ways in which we can consistently surprise our partners with small acts of love that speaks to their hearts, every single day.

The emphasis here is, of course, small and surprising.

When it’s too big, we won’t do anything or not for long.

If it’s routine without surprise-element, it loses its meaning and impact.

Now, doing this is hard work.

I’m not going to lie to you. I struggle with this most days. But I do know how important it is.

There is power in the principle.

When we communicate to our partners every single day that they are still the “centre of our universe,” it speaks of importance and love.

Every person wants to feel important and loved by something or someone.

When we give that freely and openly, daily, it can only deepen the romance and intimacy within that relationship.

So no, commitment is not a one-time event. That’s an absolute myth. One that will hurt your relationship dearly if you buy into it.

  1. Committed relationships are supposed to be perfect.

Nothing is perfect.

And commitment doesn’t guarantee perfection.

All relationships have challenging times.

Anything that involves two people will have tough moments.

But those challenges provide an opportunity to grow and strengthen your relationship.

That’s what makes them great.

Many couples try and avoid challenges or conflict, but it is what their relationship actually needs to deepen.

By that, I don’t mean that we need to struggle or fight as couples all the time in order to have a deeper relationship.

Not at all.

But when we go through challenging times together and we embrace our differences while resolving conflict, we do grow closer together.

We learn to trust each other more. And we learn even more about each other.

Don’t avoid committing to someone because you’re scared that you’re not perfect, or the relationship won’t be perfect.

No relationship is perfect. Or at least, I’ve never encountered one.

Even when people are “perfect for one another” it still doesn’t mean that it’s without flaws and shortcomings.

It just means that that couple has most likely found a way to “be perfectly together” in spite of challenges and imperfections.

Last thoughts

Look, falling in love can be easy. Anyone can do that.

But, creating a worthwhile relationship is more difficult.

That reality, however, doesn’t mean you should avoid commitment at all cost.

Harder doesn’t make it wrong or something to avoid.

Commonly believed myths regarding relationship commitment are keeping far too many people on the sidelines, and without good reason.

Most people find life more enjoyable and meaningful when it’s shared with someone else. So why not you?

I want to challenge you right now to think about your beliefs regarding relationships.

Ask yourself: Are they holding you back from putting yourself out there, or finally saying “yes” to that someone that’s been asking for a while?

If so, perhaps consider making a different decision today?

Please leave your comments and questions below so that I can respond to them personally.

Stay real.

 



Tags

commitment, commitment myths, Common Marriage Myths, relationship commitment


About the author
Gideon

Gideon is the creator of The Relationship Guy – a Top Marriage Coaching and Relationship Advice Blog that helps married couples create happier relationships. He is a trained professional counsellor and one of New Zealand’s top relationship bloggers. He’s been happily married for over fifteen years and is a dad of two.​ He also holds Bachelor and Master degrees in the field of Theology and is currently studying Psychology at Massey University.

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