Originally Posted by StitchwitchD
Being committed to each other is one thing, wanting the same things out of the relationship are something else entirely.
In the situation I'd previously mentioned, they're very committed to their marriage, and we're all committed to being friends and supporting each other.
That's not even an issue.
However, there's some conflict over the details. She'd like to have a mostly monogamous (and completely monoamorous) marriage, have sex when she feels like it (every 2-3 months) and have 3rd adult in the household to help with chores, kids and finances. He'd like to have sex on a regular basis (at least a few times a week), not hurt anyone's feelings and stay married to his wife, and he'd like more help with housework than she normally provides. I'd like to have a poly relationship with him, and not hurt anyone's feelings in the process. So, is there any way that commitment will help resolve this situation in a way that we'd all be okay with?
I don't think commitment is what will help resolve this situation... I would have to say that commitment only comes in to play after all parties have decided what they want to "commit to."
I guess in relation to "goals vs commitment" being the foundation of a relationship, your situation shows that people need to have compatible goals before it makes sense to talk about commitment.
I don't remember my spouse and I ever actually talking about our goals before getting into a relationship. We met, were infatuated, and that feeling has never faded, and along with it has grown a very deep and meaningful love that far surpasses the initial infatuation. I do remember that once in the relationship, it occurred to us that we should discuss our goals, both in the relationship and as individuals. We weren't surprised to find that our goals were compatible.
I think the commitment initially grew on its own, not because we thought it should. He was the first person I cared enough about to actually give a crap how he felt about what I did. I'm naturally selfish, I won't deny it, but that was one of the things that made me realize I was committed to him: I didn't want to be selfish when it would cause him pain or discomfort... For his part, he had never been one to talk about his feelings. Actually, more than that, he didn't really acknowledge that he HAD feelings. Long story. But one of the signs of his commitment was the angst he went through to learn how to talk about his feelings, share his thoughts, and trust me with his secrets, trust me not to criticize him for having certain emotional responses to things. But overall, I think the commitment is an entity unto itself, and these are all products of that commitment, not the other way around.