Sunday, December 13, 2009


When we say that we are committed to someone, what does that mean? For most of us, we believe that once we enter into a commitment, a promise is made that requires follow-through on an agreement between two people. Once we establish this agreement, we feel that we can plan our future based upon this certainty. We take the “sweet whisperings” of love and all of its hopeful promises and attach it to some future that has yet to happen. But, the expectation that someone else’s emotions, beliefs or behaviors will remain unchanged is unrealistic at best.

The way that we have come to interpret commitment is that when an expression of love is made by a partner yesterday, along with the promises of forever based upon his/her feelings in that moment, it must always and forever be that way. In a commitment, we sometimes don’t recognize how we put people in a box and hold them forever accountable for a thought or a feeling that they shared yesterday. When a person chooses to no longer engage or honor those promises, we often create our own unhappiness by labeling the person as selfish, cruel, and deceptive.

When we do this, we don’t realize how we are being unfair to them and holding ourselves hostage. We cannot grow because we are choosing to be stuck in the past. We kick and scream and fight the process because we are trying to jam our present reality into yesterday’s picture frame. It’s like putting on clothes that don’t fit anymore. Yeah, we may have liked them. They may have been flattering at one time, but when we attempt to squeeze ourselves into clothes that no longer fit, it ain’t gonna be pretty! We are going be uncomfortable, and people around us are going to be uncomfortable watching us. Yes, the clothes used to fit, but they don’t anymore. What are we going to do with that? Fuss about the fact that they don’t fit, or buy some new clothes? We have choices…

What would it look like if we defined commitment as a promise to our partners and ourselves to live in the present? What if commitment was about growth and not a promise to stay the same? What if we chose to live without the pressure of dragging our pasts into our futures? What if we could simply be a witness to our partner’s personal growth and evolution and allow them to be a witness to ours? If our only promise to our partners is to make a commitment to growth, we would see ALL of our relationships as opportunities to love without fear.


  1. For almost a year now, I've been in a relationship (monogamous) with a woman without a traditional commitment. The lack of this commitment has been my doing. It's been very difficult to explain to her and to other people what I am doing. I've expressed many of the things from this post, but I believe that no one will listen to me because I'm a man. I'm so thrilled to read someone else say these things and just delighted that it came from a woman. This should really be a help to me in dealing with current situations and helping me better define what it is that is right for me and for everyone really. Keep up the good work.

  2. Hi Sheriff Bart, I am just seeing your comment for the first time. The way I see it, as women, we are keenly attached to what it means to have a committed relationship or to be involved with someone that will not give us one. Many times we interpret that lack of willingness to commit as "I am not good enough". Yet it is uncommon that we peel back the "commitment layers" to reveal the truth about our insecurities; we'd rather take the easy road and point the finger.

    Each person has to live their own truth. For women, we struggle because so much of our womanhood is intertwined with our ability to have a man, keep a man and be normal (read: not crazy). Any viewpoint that is inconsistent with what's normal automatically triggers one of our greatest vulnerabilities. It takes courage to decide what is best for ourselves based on what we know about our particular situation.