Before we begin, I just want to stress that I’m no relationship expert. I’ve left behind a wreckage of relationships and only hope that my current one stays afloat.
That being said, my partner and I (I say partner because ‘girlfriend’ sounds so childish in my ears) recently had an interesting discussion about commitment in a relationship.
It started out by her talking about what she envisioned her wedding to be like. I believe it opened with a question that sounded something like, “Um, if you were to get married, would you be opposed to a small wedding? Maybe 15 people or so? I mean, just close family.”
Immediately my close to (birthday is August 6th so I’m not 40 yet damn it!) 40-year-old ears perked up.
I needed to play this cool.
Me: “I’d be fine with that. Could I make Dexter my best man? Maybe put the ring on his collar or something?”
Her: “Haha. That would be funny. I’d be fine with that.”
Me: *nods head* “Are we talking hypothetical scenario here or about you and I?”
Her: “You and I, silly.”
Me: “Oh….” *grips steering wheel a little tighter* “We just moved in together. How do you know if we will even like living together? What if it doesn’t work out?”
Her: “Then we will work on it. It’s all about commitment.”
Me: “I’m cool with commitment but what if we talk about problems and one person says they’ll work on or do something and we end up having that same discussion over and over again with nothing being done?”
Commercial break: Now that I think about it, I might not be so cool with commitment. Yes, I can stay with someone for a long time, but I’m nearly 40 and not married. I was married at 19 and separated shortly after and I’ve never felt the desire to repeat the experience.
Now back to your regularly scheduled program.
Her: “Then we would discuss that it isn’t okay that nothing is being done despite one of us saying we would work on this thing.”
Me: “Well…what if still nothing is done? How much does this commitment thing go on before you or I call it quits?”
Her: “It will get done.”
Me: “But, but what if it doesn’t? What if because we think we must be committed wholeheartedly to this thing we’re building, we take each other for granted? Without the possibility that one of us will leave given enough reason, don’t we give the other person carte blanche to do whatever they want, without considering the needs or wants of the other?”
Her: “That won’t happen, baby.”
Now I admit that I might be a curmudgeon. Marriage scares me. I don’t even know why particularly, but I’ve always resisted in relationships where the other person wants to be married.
And don’t get me wrong, I give the deepest kudos to those who make marriages work. I just sometimes doubt I’m the marrying kind. I almost always end up being disappointed in my partner – and in humanity in general. I think I have high expectations and that in many ways, sabotages relationships.
But while I may have high expectations, I don’t want to settle either. I don’t want to marry someone because I think they’re ‘just good enough’. I don’t think that’s fair to them or to myself.
So I’m stuck with my expectations.
But I’m getting off track. Forgive me, dear reader.
Do you think I have a point about commitment? Should commitment be unconditional or is there a point where you throw up your hands and head for the nearest exit sign?