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What Defines A Committed Relationship?

September 1, 2013

Commitment is a statement of present feeling. Future promises cannot be facts because they speak of the future. There is a big difference between acting out of desire and acting out of obligation, as anybody who has ever been responsible for a mortgage knows.

“I enjoy being with you and I want our relationship to last.” — This is a statement of present feeling. It is absolutely reliable in the moment in which it is spoken, and thus can provide a feeling of comfort and security.

“I want to be with you and always will.” — This is a future promise, and thus likely to trigger doubt and anxiety and reinforce insecurity. Feelings can change, and what if they do? Is an ideal relationship one that is held together because of promises made, or one that lasts based on enduring desire? And, more importantly, how can you be in touch with your desire if it is obscured by feelings of obligation? Is “I will stay with you, even if I don’t want to” a promise worth receiving?

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