Donna’s Dating Diary: Can we commit to commitment?
It feels slightly strange writing my final dating blog when my dating life is not even half-lived. Yes, I’d like to be dating in my 70’s but hopefully with the same person. I thought I’d share with you my thoughts on what commitment means to me, and us, and what I’ve learnt from all these weird and wonderful experiences.
The C word…
Commitment. Yes it happens to the best of us at some point, but in this age where we are so locked down with work, children, and so on, I wonder whether we find it more difficult to come to terms with committing. It used to be the men who would be labelled with such behaviour, and I hate to admit it but I think it’s something both women and men share equally these days. Perhaps that’s why the concept of American style ‘multiple dating’ seems so much the norm now. Do we secretly like leaving the door half open for new opportunities in an age when anything is apparently possible? Perhaps in this fast-moving technology driven generation we have no attention span and have all become a little ‘ADD’ because of it. We have so many choices and are probably all becoming a little greedier and impatient because of it.
I think this means we sometimes struggle with the idea of making a solemn promise to one partner. Have we all become so scared of being ‘locked-in’ that we need to pretend that we’re not, and that we are ‘free’? Maybe all this ‘freedom’ is actually anything but ‘free’? Honestly, I think the worst myth I hear about relationships is that when you are in a committed relationship you somehow lose your freedom. Trust me, I love life and have no intention of losing any part of it. Seriously, I don’t want to lose the core of who I am to be with the right man. (That was an unintentional bit of rhyme for you there,sorry!) But if I do I only have myself to blame.
Yes, I think the thing I’ve learnt most from dating – apart from map reading, jump starting a car, skateboarding (don’t ask), the ability to ‘speak gorilla’ and having a greater knowledge of rare and endangered species – is that we need to take responsibility for ourselves and the decisions that we make. Before we enter a new committed relationship, we should use all of the knowledge and experience we have under our belts to make it better than ever before. This really is one of the plus points of dating ‘the second time around’; the wealth of knowledge we all have.
Lots of people have asked, when do you know if a relationship is committed? Well Dr Gian Gonzaga gives lots of advice in his book “Dating the second time around”. He says only until two people agree are you in an exclusive relationship. I totally agree that until you have ‘the talk’ then the reality is, you’ve probably both still got your options open, or one of you has at least. In my experience, there are the guys who want to seal the relationship deal very quickly to have some kind of ownership over you, or the ones who will dodge the conversation at all cost. You know, the ones who like to have their cake and eat it too; these men do however have a very good sixth sense, they certainly feel the talk coming and throw lots of little distractions along the way to avoid it. It’s a bit like they are throwing a grenade at the other side of the room to divert our focus from the issue at hand. Yes you guys guilty of such tactics know who you are.
It is also common sense that if you have both uttered those magic words (and to be clear they are I LOVE YOU), now’s the time to be careful with the other person’s heart, because hey guess what? You kind of have a commitment to that person. Whoo, are you scared yet?
Don’t be. I really do think you can be with someone and be free at the same time. I have every faith in you all. If you have someone whom you love who loves you in return then this is not a bad problem to have. I really wish you all well, I have enjoyed reading your thoughts over the past weeks. And to quote a friend, ‘Love life, stay true, and always paddle your own canoe.’
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