Why are we so fully and completely obsessed with committing?
Why is life this metaphorical set of stairs that we must climb in order to reach…What? Is it happiness? Fulfillment? Honestly, I have no idea. I could speak to this obsession for hours on end in terms of career, creative ventures, and love; but in this instance, I want to speak to it in the realm of romantic relationships.
We treat relationships, and the steps we take within them, as these linear, quantifiable entities that are meant to move forward and should be concerning if this isn’t the case. We also act as if “committed relationships” are intrinsic truths once said commitment has been made. This is unproductive, unhealthy, and the source for a great deal of unneeded anguish. Here’s the thing, love isn’t linear, in fact, it’s all over the place and fully unpredictable. We’re terrified of stepping out of the traditional relationship statuses that society expects of us and creating a space for ourselves to happily and healthily exist with a partner. For instance, once a couple commits to be together exclusively, society deems the way the relationship should be. Should they choose to change the way they exist together, it poses the fear of rocking the societal boat and welcoming questions and concerns from those around them.
Have you ever heard anyone say that they refuse to take steps back in a relationship?
Isn’t being in a partnership simply being with one another, striving to be as happy together as possible, respecting one another, and loving each other? Why have we made it so complex? There is no such thing as a step back because any change made to allow for more happiness and love is a positive, productive one, wouldn’t you say? I feel that we are all in need of a shift of perspective. Committing to another person romantically does not mean committing to a specific situation or state of being together, it means committing to working together to make both parties feel happy and loved. If circumstances need to change at any point to make this possible, that should be okay, so why isn’t it?
Here’s what I propose: saying yes every day.
When we’re in committed relationships or any relationship for that matter, we tend to accept the relationship as a fact and leave no room for reassessment until it’s often too late to salvage. We acknowledge that being in a relationship is incredibly hard, and it’s strange that we select a partner and live our lives adjacent to theirs hoping everything goes smoothly. This being said, try to say yes to your current situation every day; by saying yes I mean committing to working on your relationship, being present, and being happy with this individual. If you begin to find that more often than not you are unable to say yes, this is when you must be mindful of where you are at. Ask yourself what it is that’s keeping you from saying yes, ask yourself if a change may make it easier, and ask yourself what some potential changes could be.
Be open with your partner, ask for what you need, and be receptive to hearing what they need from you.
Lastly, and most importantly, don’t fear to make a change on the premise of stepping outside of the box that society has put you in as a couple. People don’t like being disoriented or not understanding, and often they feel entitled to information about your life that you may not even know yourself. If you feel a change is in order and you feel it will improve your happiness and love, do it, and don’t fear what others will think. Alternatively, if you are in a relationship in which all parties are saying yes each day (or most days), then keep doing what you’re doing and don’t allow uncertainty about the future affect your happiness.
If you feel happy today and you’re saying yes today, let yourself enjoy it to the fullest. If you do not feel happy today, take a step back, reassess, and make a change. Though it won’t always be the right change (or a step in the right direction, so to speak), there is no harm in trying.