Commitment – What It Really Means

Commitment is a powerful word; one that conjures up feelings of stability and constancy on the one hand, but which also indicates a sense of inextricable permanence, and therein lies the caress. So what is commitment, and what are the things that impact the nature of commitment in a relationship?

The different aspects of commitment: According to some experts there are three elements that make up commitment:

  • Attraction commitment is that which causes attraction between individuals, causing them to want to be together, work at the relationship and be dedicated to the other person. Then there is the investment facet to commitment.
  • As a relationship develops, the parties to it make several investments into the relationship: there are time, emotion, effort and financial investments involved here. Time is given to getting to know one another, starting a family, financial investment to buying joint assets, etc. It is this factor of investment that makes couples stay in a relationship gone bad; people are reluctant to see their investment come to naught.
  • Then there is the moral Commitment. For a lot of us, a commitment to a relationship has a moral or even religious element; a covenant of sacred aspect and one made with God as a witness. One’s personal beliefs cements one’s commitment to the relationship and this may sometimes be at the cost even of personal pain.

What are the factors that influence commitment or the inability to commit in some cases?

commitmentMuch research has gone into the factors that influence commitment and it is found that what partners bring into a relationship impacts the level and nature of the commitment.

For instance, the divorce of the parents of one of the partners is likely to undermine their belief in a committed relationship and even the expectations that they have from the relationship.

The way that a person was brought up is another factor that impacts their ability or quality of commitment. Whether the attachment style experienced by a person is secure, dismissive, anxious/ambivalent, dismissive or insecure has bearing on the kind of amount of stability that a person can bring to a relationship and the satisfaction that can result from it.

The ability to commit to a relationship such as marriage impacts the longevity of a relationship. Cohabitation without marriage shows a 30% higher attrition rate than do engaged or married relationships. So clearly the nature or extent of the commitment also impacts the commitment and its solidity.



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