No Commitment – About the Inability to Commit
Finally, I’m getting around to writing a heartfelt post again. Because the last few weeks and months have been so busy that I simply didn’t have the time. Especially for “writing something off my chest” I need time and leisure. It doesn’t happen in passing. Today, we have another blog post from the “lifestyle” section: the inability of our society – or maybe just my generation (?) – to be committed. Also known as “no commitment”
What is “(no) commitment”?
“Commitment” is the noun of committing oneself to another and, according to the US psychologist Robert Steinberg, forms together with “passion” and “intimacy” the “triangular theory of love”. Back in the 1980s, he created a model that can be used to classify relationships and partnerships.
Passion describes whether one feels passionately attracted to someone, as well as physical arousal or emotional stimulation. Intimacy describes the attachment and feeling of being at ease with one another. And last but not least, commitment describes the willingness to consciously commit to someone and to be able to rely on each other. According to Steinberg, real, perfect love can arise when all three points are fulfilled. But nowadays, I notice that it is precisely the cornerstone “commitment” that is lacking the most. We seem to find it increasingly difficult to commit ourselves to someone. According to this “no commitment” is the inability to consciously commit to someone else. But why is that?
Status quo: single, 32, happy and with both feet firmly on the ground.
For those of you who don’t know me in person, here’s a little status quo: I’m 32 years old, I’ve been single for a year, and I’m very comfortable with myself – I would even say that I’m “happily single”, or rather, I’m not desperately looking for someone. I’m far from being someone who has to rush into the next relationship. I’ve always been happy to just have maximum time for myself while being single.
Just as much as I like being single, I also like being in a relationship – I just always try to make the best of the situation. Moreover, I have always been in long relationships (longest almost 6 years), have lived with my partners (sometimes even in minimal space in a VW bus for months) and would therefore say of myself that I have got to know both worlds very well.
I’m the analogue person
At the same time, I am not at all a person who hangs around on dating apps. I’m just too “old school” for that. Sure, I am aware of the advantages of Tinder & Co. and I have enough friends who use them. But I’m out. In my romantic imagination, I don’t want to meet my future partner digitally. I want to see someone and perceive him with all my senses. I want to see how he moves, his facial expressions and his gestures. How he interacts with other people, pick up on how he smells, how he smiles, etc.
This is only possible in analogue form. Additionally, just as I don’t want anyone to judge me solely on the basis of my “superficial” photos, I also don’t want to allow myself to judge anyone else based on them. Of course, in Munich as the singles capital of Germany, I’m in a completely different position than someone who lives in a small village, has already been through this and can’t meet someone new so quickly. Sure.
But there’s one thing I’m currently noticing compared to my other single phases: Nowadays, it’s always a matter of “no commitment”.
Exactly this is an experience that runs through my entire circle of single female friends. I mainly have women around me who have both feet on the ground, their hearts in the right place and are simply great people (here’s my love tribute to “Strong Women”). That’s why I can mainly reflect this side. Probably the perspective from the male side is quite similar – but I can’t judge to the same extent. I think this is more of a social problem. Men, feel free to speak up too!
In any case, all of them are incredibly great women who always reach the point where, as soon as things get more serious, the other person gets cold feet, mizzles, or it gets “too tight” for him. An “open relationship” and no obligations – that’s the new state-of-the-art. But why?
The throwaway society meets Tinder and open relationships
One thing that has always bothered me is how quickly people throw things away as soon as they no longer function as they are supposed to. Hardly anyone fixes anything anymore when it breaks, but replaces it without batting an eyelid. Hardly anyone is really “attached” to things of the heart anymore. Everything seems to be replaceable. We have arrived at a complete throwaway society: it is easier to just buy things new than to take care that something works again. This starts with everyday objects and has now also found its way into our interpersonal relationships.
It doesn’t matter if it’s friendships in which unpleasant conversations are shied away from and one prefers to distance oneself – something that doesn’t exist in real friendships for me, everything else is acquaintances. But this throwaway character has also found its way into (budding) partnerships. Thanks to Tinder & Co. you can apparently also be replaced pretty quickly and don’t even have to make the effort to get all dolled up on the weekend: Within a few minutes, the app is installed, and you can go on the prowl. Within a few seconds, you have already checked out the area around you to see whether there is any usable material or not.
Cold feet because it’s getting too tight
And once you’ve spent more time with someone, got to know them a little and noticed whether they’re just chaff or already wheat, it often comes to a cut: before things get too hot, the handbrake is quickly pulled. The main thing is no commitment. Sometimes the other person has disappeared off the face of the earth and never gets in touch again. This behaviour has become so common that it’s called “ghosting” or, as I say: you don’t even have the balls to say honestly what’s going on. When I witness something like this, all my innards really twist, and I lose faith in humanity.
When you don’t even value someone to tell honestly what’s going on, it’s an absolute human downhill slide for me. Weakness of character meets superlative disrespect here.Rosa Lazić
But the problem of “commitment” is also creeping more and more into already existing relationships. I know more and more partnerships that have an “open relationship”. With many of them, it seems to me as if it’s just a free pass to be able to “cheat legally” and still have the advantage of having a partner at home. Cherry-picking. With others, I notice that this relationship construct somehow “does the relationship well”. Somehow, it seems that the newly won “freedom” makes them appreciate what they already have more. As if you always have to be reassured about how many “messed up people” are on the singles market and that you can be happy to have your own partner after all. Sure, this can work, but it doesn’t have to.
But what about me?
In my blog post “Am I really too much?” I already revealed a few things about myself. I very rarely do things by halves. Furthermore, I’m more of the “all or nothing” type of person, and the social hustle and bustle these days tends to lead me not to date at all. Admittedly, with all my self-employment, our Dein Kakao start-up and (hey, I’ve also become a sustainability manager for arts and culture in the meantime! Whoop, whoop!) friends & family, I am more than busy.
Besides, I only get emotionally involved in something when I’m sure about it. And for me “sure” doesn’t mean “let’s see how long it lasts” but for me “sure” is that I can imagine growing old with my partner. I’d rather be alone than unhappy in a relationship. At the same time, I am a very honest person and communicate my feelings, concerns, etc., so that everyone just knows what they are getting into.
I would rather feel the pain of the whole world than never feel anything again.
Besides, I have completely different filter criteria, and I’m also not someone who gets excited about the “body count” – I’m too old school for that. I’d rather pass on all the love that’s in my body to my friends, family and work because it’s simply seen and appreciated there. “Appreciation” – that brings us right back to the topic. Basically, I think that in many parts of our lives, we have forgotten how valuable some things and especially the people in our lives are. Or we only tend to realize their importance when it is already too late.
Starting with the way we treat our mother nature, objects, and people in our lives. But it is precisely interpersonal relationships that make us the happiest. Is the supposedly huge choice the real problem that makes it difficult for us to decide? Because we permanently have the feeling that we are choosing “wrong” and not for “the best”? Are we so paralysed by the inability to decide that we end up not deciding at all, and thus make the worst choice in any case? Aren’t we all somehow searching for a fulfilling relationship? But this is simply impossible with no commitment!
But what is our own life worth if everything is worth nothing?Rosa Lazić
Live, love, laugh!
With this in mind, tell your loved ones how happy you are to have them in your life. Plus, appreciate your health and be grateful for it, enjoy the little things that make you happy, that you may already take for granted: Nothing can be taken for granted. Even if you have been deeply hurt in your life, don’t let others who had nothing to do with it take the blame. Additionally, don’t dwell on the past, but look ahead. You can’t change the past, and that’s totally fine. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be the person you are today. But you can change the future! Dive in the depths of emotions and commitment – we never know how long anything will last. But make it last and worthy as long as you can!
We only have this one life, and it is the feelings that make us human. They are wonderful and important. Negative as well as positive ones. It always depends on how we deal with them.
Tell me your thoughts about this in the comments. <3
Live, love, laugh – with all your heart!
Sternberg, R. J. (1986). A triangular theory of love. Psychological Review, 93(2), 119–135.