Originally Posted by redpepper
I was taking to a man today that was very concerned about his relationship with his girlfriend. He thought that perhaps this was because of their "open relationship" and her having quite an active sex life that was outside of what they had together. He said he didn't want a traditional monogamous relationship where both of them would have to tell each other where they are, what they are doing and who they are with. He wanted his freedom and for her to have hers also, but something was not working. He was missing her, or something, he wasn't sure. She wasn't spending enough time with him, he didn't really want to expect she would, as he thought they should have their freedom and besides they were really busy at school anyway. He didn't want to tie her down to any kind of commitment to him. To him commitment was a traditional monogamous term that was worth avoiding.
It occurred to me during this discussion that "commitment" is not something that people aspire to have or feel is important although at the same time people seem to struggle to find a connection even thought they really care about each other. I suggested to him that maybe he needed to find a space in the middle where they could be committed yet do their own thing. That maybe he could not have a traditional monogamous relationship, but work on the commitment aspect and what that meant to them.
I suggested that "relationship commitment" was like the table that was sitting in between us we both sat there. I am me and he is he and the table is our "relationship commitment." Traditionally, it is considered, that when you date someone or make even more of a commitment and marry the person, that you then have rights to what they think, say, do, what their goals are in the future and who they spend their time with. You become that person and they become you. Merged and acting as one. With the idea that the relationship is the table between us it means that both people can sit together and look at the table and move things around on it, sit to one side of it, leave it and come back to it later... the options are endless and solid. They are tangible. They always exist, even after the relationship as a partnership is over if one or both decide.
If this is the case, or could be the case if they both decide on it, then what is at the core of their "relationship commitment?" I suggested that it is their "love" for each other by how they describe it. The question would be if that love is worth expressing.
Love is the core of "relationship commitment," I think. That is where it is determined if the relationship is worth investing in. Its love that is at the core of deciding whether or not something can be salvaged when times are tough and everything on the table is thrown off. Its love that attracts and the seed of growth for any new partnership and older relationship alike.
The man I was talking to said he had similar kinds of relationships with his friends in terms of "commitment." It felt similar. He meets at tables with them also. So what made him and his girlfriend different? It is the "love" part I think.
He said he wasn't feeling it. He didn't know if he loved her enough to build on the table they had with each other.... I felt a sinking feeling at that point of silence. I don't know if he was thinking that he didn't really love her, that she was not the woman for him, that he loved her more than he realized.... it was unclear and he didn't say. What he did say was he had a lot of thinking and talking with her to do.
I agree that love makes a lover type relationship, and if the love is no longer there, then the relationship is no longer that of lovers.
I just read a story here somewhere regarding a woman who had a relationship with another woman but things didn't work out so they went their separate ways; still, after not seeing her for years, when she did see her, her heart was aflutter with emotions and I can definitely understand that.
I also think that relationship commitments can get pretty concrete and I think that can be a good thing as well. Child support and alimony are legal issues, and I definitely think they have their place (although I certainly know that there can be strong disagreement as to when it should be applied, and how much, etc.). I think it's hard to argue that generally, the strongest cement to a permanent relationship with someone is children. You may get separated, divorced, and even refuse to see your former partner ever again, but most people will always want to love and care for their children until the day they die.