“Commitment is an act, not a word.” Jean-Paul Sartre
As usual, when I picked my topic for this week, I started reading up on it and one of the first articles I came across was both informational and entertaining because it ended with this bio of the author, “….. is the editor and lead writer of this blog. She studied person-centered counseling but, well, didn’t finish her certification…. she is still getting her head around commitment herself!” I had a good laugh and continued reading.
Commitment issues is a relatively new term in my personal vocabulary because I had not heard it until I came to this country. After watching a lot of American television and reading about relationship issues, I realized that a common reason that people give for not being able to have successful relationships was a fear of commitment.
So what does it mean to have commitment issues? From what I have read, a person who experiences anxiety (at varying levels), when it comes to being in a long-term romantic relationship is said to have commitment issues. Basically, it is a combination of a fear to commit to one person for the rest of their life, the anxiety of getting stuck in a rut and not being able to escape, and the thought that the grass is always greener elsewhere. Let me also say that by long-term, I don’t even mean marriage. Often, people with these issues fear falling in love, lest it should lead to marriage. Is it a legitimate fear? It probably is, because it seems very prevalent around the world, maybe a little more in younger people. I can’t comment, however, because neither have I been in multiple relationships nor did Mr. P and I have any fear of committing our lives to each other. Something must have been right in our choice because we are still together :-).
Commitment is often defined as a “dedication or obligation that binds an individual to a particular person, cause, or course of action.” In my opinion, we all put so much into each relationship we have in our lives that when things go downhill, we don’t just get up and leave. What do we do, instead? We try our best to sort things out and repair what’s broken, not abandon it and try to move on (which can also be difficult). From my own and other long-lasting relationships, I have seen, I have understood that relationships are not great because they have no problems; they sustain only because the people involved care enough about each other to try and make it work. And this is true for any type of relationship, not just a romantic one. All relationships are precious and I believe that if one shows a deeper commitment, there is always a way to repair what it cracked, without having it shatter into a million pieces. And to those who have tried and lost, at least you tried.
Even though the term commitment issues is commonly used to describe romantic relationships, people who have a fear of commitment to relationships often show it toward other aspects of their lives too: work, family, hobbies, health, and even happiness. “Without commitment, you cannot have depth in anything whether it’s a relationship, a business, or a hobby.” Neil Strauss.
Take my case, for instance. I just bragged about not having commitment issues in my relationships, but after reading multiple articles, I started doubting myself. Did my fear of commitment manifest in other areas? I have mentioned before that I am a procrastinator and have the really bad habit of leaving projects unfinished. But then I thought about my blog (which I’ve been writing every week for almost one year), my morning walks, and my passion for cooking, which I am truly committed to, and came to the conclusion that my problem is not fear of commitment. It is a combination of sheer laziness and my typical Gemini traits. So that’s settled :-).
Coming back to a person’s fear of commitment, experts say that this fear may find its roots in past relationships that were disastrous or even date back to a person’s childhood where he or she may have witnessed a tumultuous relationship between his or her parents. Along with an inability to sustain in a relationship or a job, there are some cases where fear of commitment leads to deeper issues like anxiety and depression. These issues, however, can be addressed by different types of therapy. Try talking to your partner, a friend, or family member. And if that doesn’t help, reach out to a professional. From individual sessions to couples counseling, the options are myriad. You just have to find the right one for you. Once the therapist and you make a breakthrough, you will surely see positive changes in all aspects of your life. But do keep in mind, that just like it takes time for any relationship to blossom, therapy also takes time. Isn’t it ironic that you have to commit to your therapy sessions to overcome commitment issues?!
Anyway, as I conclude, all I want to say is that if you think you have commitment issues and are afraid of monotony in your relationship and your life, try to switch things up. Find new activities to do, with your partner, indulge in new hobbies, explore the world of books and music (or anything that makes you feel relaxed) and see if it makes a difference. Also, do a little introspection. List out different aspects of your life and analyze your commitment to each of those. You might be surprised to find that you are actually more committed to things than you think you are. Build on that and I am sure you’ll find more joy in your relationships, work, and life.
Here are the top five things I am committed to:
Let me know what you are most committed to and if you have ever experienced commitment issues?