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Thread: Clarify "Commitment"

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    eyeing you rabbit warrior kitsune's Avatar
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    Question Clarify "Commitment"

    An article I read identified three elements of long-lasting relationships: intimacy, passion and commitment.

    Commitment is a word which seems to be a no-brainer to understand, but what does it really mean? What is its exact definition sociologically? What's the purpose of a commitment? Does commitment always entail sacrifice? If so, what's the difference between sacrifice and compromise? If you happily give something up, is it sacrifice or inspiration? Is a commitment just a promise? Are dedication and commitment really the same thing?

    Throw me your thoughts.


    As a side note: In German, there a dozen words which approximate, but no single, perfect, one-to-one translation exists in the language.

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    In it to win it 99Problems's Avatar
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    It involves good, bad & ugly.

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    eyeing you rabbit warrior kitsune's Avatar
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    ^ If it involves enduring the bad and the ugly, does commitment make sense when happiness is valued most?

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    In it to win it 99Problems's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfjapanese View Post
    ^ If it involves enduring the bad and the ugly, does commitment make sense when happiness is valued most?
    To me commitment implies need. If I am committed to something I need it, it could be something that didn't involve happiness.

  5. #5
    For me, commitment in a relationship implies a willingness to make an effort, and not give up on a relationship when things get rough. I believe too much commitment is just as bad, if not worse, as too little commitment. I'm prone to over-commitment, but at least I recognize the fact.

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    The Pompatus of Love C.J.Woolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stigmatica View Post
    For me, commitment in a relationship implies a willingness to make an effort, and not give up on a relationship when things get rough. I believe too much commitment is just as bad, if not worse, as too little commitment. I'm prone to over-commitment, but at least I recognize the fact.
    I agree. I think commitment is simply a decision to stick it out and not to bail. But commitment is a selfish thing too: I've decided that bailing on a bad situation would be only a temporary relief followed by regret. If, however, I know it's really over, I hope I would have the guts to end it. Commitment should not be self-torture.
    Your gardening sucks and your avocados ain't fruitin'. -- Sappho the Maestro

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    Minister of Love Roger Mexico's Avatar
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    It's an agreement I make with myself--"failure is not an option", basically, although more realistically it's a calculation of what I would, hypothetically, sacrifice in order to follow through on something, and a resolution to go exactly that far should the need arise.

    Are we strictly talking about romantic commitments? I suppose I'm prone to over-commitment in several spheres of my life, romance perhaps being one.

    If I commit to a relationship--and this isn't fundamentally different from how I commit to other things--it means using one criterion rather than another to evaluate options. Once "committed" I'm resolving to only end something once I've exhausted every option to make it succeed and the result is still clearly definable as failure. Jumping ship just because something else seems like it might be better than what I have is what's taken off the table.

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    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfjapanese View Post
    An article I read identified three elements of long-lasting relationships: intimacy, passion and commitment.
    I think including this as an element of long-lasting relationships is like including 'not dying' as part of a strategy for long life.
    For some, "how", not "why", is the fundamental unit of measure for curiosity. This divergence is neither parallel, nor straight. Where one might have a "why?-5" problem, it might only be a "how?-2" question. But then, there are also many things where the "why?" is immediately obvious but the "how?" is best measured in centuries of perpetual wonder. Both approaches have their drawbacks.

    If one is superior, the other is unaware of it.

    --Meditations on Uncertainty Vol ξ(x)

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    Senior Member Senseye's Avatar
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    In the context of a relationship, I tend to think commitment is related to the sacrifice/compromise angle. You know these two elements are mandatory for a successful relationship, so "commitment" implies you are prepared to do a fair bit of these things before abandoning ship.

  10. #10
    Your Huckleberry lethe's Avatar
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    The critical element of commitment to me is the decision to keep making a decision.

    It's not something I weigh and decide one day and endure. Any commitment, even if it's to eat healthier or go to the gym or not yell at someone requires that each day I make the same decision and continue effort to ensure success of that decision.

    The sacrifice or difficulty are separate and not inherent to each commitment. I think if you are wise the definition of what exactly you are committing to are clear, and how far (or not) you are willing to go to fulfill that commitment should also be clear. I think you can think most these things through before making the commitment - I mean, what potential situations are really likely to come up that you can't imagine ahead of time?

    So yes, commitment makes sense if you value happiness if you can weigh how much happiness it will give you long term to fulfill and are clear which situations negate that (like being hit or threatened). The sense of security from a strong (mutual) commitment, even when it has to endure tough times, pays off in a deep way and cannot be experienced with something more temporary and fluid. It's necessary in making long term plans or situations where people need to depend on you (like children).

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