What Is Commitment in a Relationship & How to Know if You Have It?
It’s often hard to define, but what is commitment in a relationship? What does it look like, and how can you tell if you have it or not?
After you’ve been together for a while, it’s normal to wonder about the future. If you believe in ‘The One,’ are they it? How can you tell if you’re exclusive without actually having the chat? Above all else, what is commitment in a relationship and does your relationship have it?
Understand the basics before you start questioning things and worrying too much. Remember, every relationship is different. We all move at a difference pace and move towards an aim that we decide for ourselves. You might not even be moving towards an aim at all, you might simply be going with the flow and that’s fine too!
So, what is commitment in a relationship exactly? How can you tell if the person you’re with is committed to you in the way you want them to be?
Let’s break it down: What is commitment in a relationship really?
I’m always really wary taking about what something should look like in a relationship, because every single union on this planet is different. There are no rules, but there are certain terms which have a clear meaning. Commitment is one of them.
A commitment is a promise or an intention to someone. In a relationship sense, that is a promise or intention to love, trust, be honest, be open, and be loyal to another person. Of course, all of this has to be mutual and never simply one-sided. The relationship should come first, and your union should be a priority.
I know, that’s pretty vague, perhaps it’s best to show what is commitment in a relationship with examples.
#1 You spend a large amount of time together. This doesn’t mean you spend all your time together and it shouldn’t mean that either. Spending every spare second together isn’t healthy. What it does mean is you place importance and priority on spending time together and making memories. This doesn’t necessarily have to be the two of you alone, but it can include friends and family, too.
The bottom line is that you make time for one another. Time is a sign of commitment to the relationship. [Read: How much time should couples spend together?]
#2 You show mutual respect. Commitment isn’t all about promises. It’s about showing respect to one another. This means consulting each other on problems and issues in life, sticking up for each other, and being one another’s biggest cheerleaders, empowering each other and supporting one another. Basically, you respect each other as human beings, not just one half of a union.
#3 You’re loyal and exclusive to one another. While there are many relationships which aren’t exclusive but still committed *open relationships*, loyalty is a key feature. Both parties should be in agreement with exclusiveness and be comfortable and happy with it. It’s not a commitment if one person is going along with something simply because they feel they’ll lose the other if they show their real feelings.
#4 You trust one another. We’ve already mentioned that it’s not healthy to spend every second of the day together. Trust each other to go out and do your own thing, without ramifications and suspicions. Give each other space! Allow each other to simply get on with what they need to do in life, without worrying about the other partner being distrustful.
#5 You make plans together. This doesn’t necessarily have to be long-term plans that stretch out years into the future, but you’re committed to the relationship enough to make plans together. This might be a vacation in a few months’ time or a weekend break. Whatever it is, it’s a plan and a sign of a committed relationship.
#6 You introduce each other to important people in your lives. You meet each other’s families and friends, you involve each other in your lives and you share details. This doesn’t necessarily have to be every single detail, but enough to be open and honest with one another.
#7 You share memories and secrets. Being open and talking about things which bother you, problems in your life, and secrets that you want to share shows a commitment to one another.
If you’re not committed, you’re not going to share details of your life. Why would you? However, when you’re committed, you’re happy for them to know the deeper parts of your life. In return, you expect the same from them.
Commitment isn’t about going social media official!
We live in a digital age, and we share many different elements of our lives with our friends and followers on our various social media pages. However, commitment isn’t about the point you go Insta-official or change your relationship status on Facebook!
You might think that going official on social media is the easiest way to let people know that you’re together. First, analyze why you feel the need to share this news in the first place. Surely it’s better to focus on building your relationship and working on your connection, rather than plastering the “news” all over the Internet?
Sure, share your memories, but do so because you want to, not because you think it’s a milestone in your relationship. Before the days of social media, what do you think people did? Did they put an advert in the local newspaper? Place a card in the local shop window? Of course not! They simply went on with their lives, and if people saw them together as their relationship progressed, that was all fine and dandy!
When looking at what is commitment in a relationship, don’t be fooled into thinking there are specific milestones to hit to call your relationship committed. It’s really about what is comfortable for the two of you. Everything must be mutual to tick this box.
If you’re committed to one another, then you place priority on the other person, on their feelings, their time and love. You respect them and show them kindness, love, attention. You are their biggest supporter. Those are the basics. Everything else is really up for debate and grabs.
Commitment is a word that everyone has a theory on, and trying to define it can be hard. It doesn’t necessarily have to mean exclusive if that isn’t right for the couple in question, but it does mean loyalty, if nothing else. You’re always there for your partner, you stick up for them, you build them up when they need it, and you’re their rock during times of need.
Everyone has their own opinion on what is commitment in a relationship. When you analyze it, the waters become a little muddy. Simply, look for the basics and identify whether you’re happy with it first and foremost.