"In my eyes there are no right kinds or wrong kinds of commitment, and what works or is right for you may not be what works or is right for other people or other relationships. Overall, there are simply multiple ways of being sustained in a relationship, and that, in my heart, is thinking of commitment kindly."
“Commitment. It is a weighty word. It looks long when I write it. It sounds long when I say it; rolling and repetitive. It also seems unfinished, as if there is an unspoken, “to,” somehow hidden, frightened, and scared to be acknowledged.
I think in many ways, these being my own pet theories, that we often want the idea of a thing, like the idea of commitment, of stability, of love, whatnot, to be one thing and one thing alone. We want our things, especially our ideas, to be firm. Fixed. Defined. Absolute. Ontological.
Following this, conversations about the relative nature of our ideas, of our words and ways of being, lend themselves to a flirtatious sense of what could be, and for many people this is deeply unsettling. They aren’t interested in what could be. They want to know what it is. They want answers. They want to know; period. The same holds true for commitment: we want to know what commitment is, for certain, so that we can be certain that we have it.
Jokingly, I think a lot of people are super committed to their idea of commitment and what commitment should be.
To not be committed to one definition of commitment, to embrace a bit of the relative nature of the things we so tightly hold onto, is an act of getting to know, of wanting to understand, of exploring, that is integral to knowing. As an aside, uncertainty is much more than a point to move beyond, and this aspect of uncertainty is easy to forget. I think it is especially easy, that is, to dismiss uncertainty and want one definition, when we are thinking about relationships and something as emotionally charged as commitment.
I’ve seen many different kinds of commitment in my life. By kinds, I am not thinking of kinds as the strength/quality/ranking of a thing: strong commitments, weak commitments, better commitments. Relationally speaking, I think of kinds of commitment as what grounds and what sustains one’s commitment in a relationship.
With my eye, I’d like to describe five that I see quite frequently.”