Making Commitments That Count | Understanding The 11 ‘KNOWS’


Saying What You Mean…And Meaning What You Say!

Making A Commitment From The Heart – No Better Way To Start!

Commitment is not a simple process. In recent post, we’ve touched on your feelings, behavior, choices, and fears. Most of all we’ve talked about conflict. But there is on thing we haven’t yet talked about, and that is how to go about establishing and sustaining a genuinely committed relationship.

That’s what we want to do here. We would like to start out by saying that we don’t believe it’s simple or easy. (I haven’t found it simple in my life and I don’t expect to find it simple in yours).

However, if you’re tired of always sitting on the edge of the pool, envying those who have had the courage to dive in and lead committed lives, there is a way to learn to take the plunge and swim in this intimidating body of water.

The First Step: Acknowledge Your Conflicts And Make A Commitment To Managing Them

Partners in love

Before you can do anything else, you have stop kidding yourself and stop trying to kid everyone else. Stop looking for excuses – either for yourself or for your partners. Whether you are always ambivalent or you always find yourself in relationships with ambivalent partners, recognize that you have issues that need to be resolved.

In life, there are always reasons why commitments haven’t been made or shouldn’t be made. For example, if someone is twenty-two and has only dated a few people, it’s appropriate to be unsure.

But at a certain point you need to acknowledge those relionalizations that keep you stuck. When you start facing the ways in which commitment fears control what you do, you begin to reduce the power of those ‘commitment phobia’ fears which have you up all night.

You may never feel one hundred percent certain about any realistic and appropriate choices, romantic or otherwise. There is only one solution to this dilemma: Instead of trying to find a relationship in which you have no ambivalence, commit yourself to managing it and constructing your life in such a way that you control this ambivalence, rather than letting it control you.


Know Your Pattern

Know yourself and recognize how you behave. For example:

  • Know whether you have an active or a passive pattern
  • Know the ways in which you make inappropriate or unrealistic commitments
  • Know the point in any relationship at which you are most likely to panic and run
  • Know the ways in which you scare yourself by moving ahead too quickly
  • Know the ways in which you set up expectations that will ultimately make you want to bolt and run away.
  • Know your commitment fantasies
  • Know the ways in which you respond to someone else’s fantasies
  • Know the ways in which your response is so immediate and so intense that it might make a potential mate feel trapped
  • Know the ways in which you distance partners by constructing boundaries
  • Know the ways in which you fail to erect reasonable boundaries
  • Know the ways in which your ambivalence is acted out in the non romantic areas of your life

Recognize Your Fears And Know How You Act When You Are Afraid

Commitment Phobia is about fear. Fear of being stuck, trapped, or tied down; fear of losing options; fear of losing freedom; fear of losing control; fear of dependency; fear of being bored; fear of leading an ordinary life; fear of making a mistake or repeating mistakes (yours or someone else’s).

You need to be very specific in examining precisely what it is you don’t want in a relationship and then look at how these fears can cause you to choose badly or behave badly.

Here’s a good way to do this: Starting with parents and other relatives, think about all the people you know in long-term relationships. Make a list of what it is about these relationships that makes you uncomfortable and that you don’t want to duplicate in your own life.

Then think about all the people you know who have lives or jobs that you consider settled but dreary. Make a list of everything you consider negative or stultifying about their lives.

Then think about how these “fears” might be determining your patterns and behavior. Have any of your less-fortunate choices been extreme reactions to some of your fears?

We realize that there are many more complicated issues that can be reinforcing commitment conflicts, including fundamental fears of abandonment and intimacy that have their source in early childhood. These are obviously best managed with the help and support of a professional in a therapeutic situation. Be prepared to take those steps if necessary.

Look At The Narcissistic Elements Of All Your Choices

All too often the narcissistic voices in our heads lead us to make choices that reflect fantasy images of ourselves, but not who we really are. We live in homes we can’t afford, but cars we can’t maintain, we find partners who make us look good but are not necessarily good for us.

If there is a strong narcissistic voice in your head, you are walking on eggshells all the time. Prisoners of the need to be perfect are always searching for the perfect passion, the perfect career, the perfect car, the perfect VCR, and the perfect dog.

If you are relentlessly judging, criticizing, labeling, and typing, you may assume that everyone is doing the same to you. Always anticipating being scrutinized by the world, you give these feelings top priority. Your real needs are lost. You can’t make choices just for you.

If you want to liberate yourself from the prison of perfection, you must find the origin of the judgemental voices inside your head and start replacing them with self-acceptance.

Try to become comfortable with the concept of “good enough.” You need to see yourself as good enough right now, and you need to see your choices as good enough. There is no such thing as perfect; it’s a word we can all learn to live without.

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6 thoughts on “Making Commitments That Count | Understanding The 11 ‘KNOWS’”

  1. I dated a casually a bit in my twenties. I had a lot of insecurity then. But by the time I was 30, I knew what I wanted, was more secure and was ready for marriage.

    My style is more passive than aggressive. In fact, my future wife asked me out on our first date.

    The reason relationships are not simple is that they are not under one person’s control. Men’s desires are comparatively open and simple, not so for women. As the movie “Tootsie” shows.

    1. Yes ‘Tootsie’…great movie. Things have changed since that movie, Men and women function and think differently in today’s society. I’m like you Peter, when I was a young buck, I used to go through many women. Loved every minute of it…until marriage got in the way! lol. (Hey, I guess all good things has to come to an end.) Finding a good woman now-a-days get sometimes rough. I’m glad you found the ‘girl of your dreams Peter.’ Thanks for stopping by.

  2. You are right. We need to look at the narcissistic elements Of all our choices. Often time we choose and being lost what we need to be.

    I dated and have many relationships before 30’s and feel lost every time have a bad relationship. But then I found a good one with my current dream girl which will be the wife soon. I guess this all takes time and necessary path for all of us?

    1. Maxx, good things come to those who wait. You got it together in the end. Going through a series of women until you found the right one, I know felt like a ‘special moment.’ Some of us tend not to be so lucky. Of course, it all boils down to the person and what their looking for. I have a couple of buddies who’ll go to their graves single because they take women for only one thing and one thing only…..Sex!!

  3. Hi,
    Thank you for sharing.
    You know, I agree with what you wrote in your post. In fact, I recognize myself in some of the points you’ve listed.
    For example, I often had the habit of judging my partner. There was a voice inside me that often criticized him, and I didn’t listen to it, because I tried to accept even what I didn’t like. After a while, my relationship got over, and after that, I realized that I didn’t truly love that man.
    Once I indeed fell in love with someone, and at that time I’ve never criticized him. That’s why I think that if your feelings are real, you can’t encounter any fear nor judgment in your commitment.

    1. Marta, I’m glad the love of your life did eventually come into your life. No relationship will last if you’re not on the same page. To agree with someone all the time, regardless if they’re right or wrong, will get you nowhere. It’s doomed! It takes more than just keeping quiet, to keep the relationship on track. Good communication is needed.

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