For most of us, commitment is an incredibly important facet of any lasting relationship — it’s how we know we can count on the other person, that the relationship is headed somewhere specific, and that we don’t have to guess what the other person is thinking. Without commitment, a relationship isn’t on stable ground.
And for those of us who want to find a life partner and get married, there’s nothing more significant than commitment — so we approach each relationship with the same focus on commitment, with the same desire for something greater and more lasting to develop. This certainly isn’t a bad thing; if we hope to find that someone, we have to be intentional with our search.
At the same time, there’s such a thing as being too commitment-minded — too focused on making things work in our current relationship, on white-knuckling a relationship that others have expressed concerns or doubts about, on staying in a situation that’s become familiar — that we become blinded by love to bad behavior.
So how exactly do we become blind to his bad behavior? How can we tell if our focus on commitment is actually causing us to accept something we shouldn’t?
There’s Always an Excuse for Him
We all have our bad days or seasons, when we’ll need to be given grace, understanding, and empathy, when we act in ways we wouldn’t usually act, when we’ll definitely need to be excused and forgiven. But these occasions are supposed to be exceptions to the rule.
If you’ve found yourself constantly having to excuse his behavior, convincing yourself that he didn’t really mean what he said, or even looking for reasons that you caused his outburst, then you’re allowing your desire for a committed, lasting connection to take precedence over cultivating a healthy, emotionally mature one.
You Feel Like You’ve Invested Too Much To Start Over
Every relationship reaches a point where a breakup would mean more than just a change in our relationship status or routine — it would be devastating, disorienting, and disheartening. Once a relationship’s rhythms and dynamics are established, it becomes more difficult to walk away from it unscathed. After all, we’ve invested so much time, energy, and emotion into it.
Staying with the wrong person simply because starting over sounds daunting isn’t smart.
It’s only human to let your hunger for commitment dictate whether or not you remain in a relationship, but it could be detrimental to your well-being. Staying with the wrong person simply because starting over sounds daunting isn’t a sound reason to stick around, understandable as it is. Sometimes, we just have to take the loss.
Your Friends and Family Have Their Doubts
Once we’ve committed to someone, we’ve pledged in our minds to learn them, know them, and love them. And with this emotional intimacy comes a feeling that we know them better than anyone else — that if anyone from our inner circle expresses doubts, concerns, or dislike toward our boyfriend, it’s because they don’t truly know them.
But it’s important that you don’t let your commitment to your boyfriend get in the way of well-meaning advice from your friends and family — the people who know you best and might even have a better, emotionally uninvolved, perspective on your relationship.
If anyone you trust has voiced issues or worries about your boyfriend, it’s in your best interest to at least hear them out. Because they aren’t the ones committed to the relationship, they might have some words of wisdom that you need to hear.
He Pushes Your Boundaries and Hides It Behind “Commitment”
After we’ve made up our mind to commit to someone, we can find ourselves overwhelmed with intoxicating, romantic, powerful feelings for them, especially if finding that special someone has long been a hope of ours. But maybe it’s also always been important to us to wait until a marriage-level of commitment to move in together, share finances, or become intimate.
If your boyfriend has pushed you into taking steps, especially in the bedroom, that you would’ve rather waited for, assuring you that you’ll “get married anyway, so why keep on waiting?” this is an enormous red flag that your desire for commitment has become somewhat of an idol, leading you to compromise your long-held beliefs and values.
If he’s pushing your boundaries, saying you’ll “get married anyway, so why wait?”, this is a giant red flag.
You Tend To Idolize Your Boyfriend
We all think our boyfriend is the best catch — the most handsome, the funniest, the most intelligent, or the most talented. We’re supposed to have high opinions of the person we’ve dedicated ourselves to. But we also can’t, or shouldn’t, idolize them.
Being too heavily set on commitment can lead you to place your boyfriend on a pedestal, seeing him as the vessel through which you achieve your ultimate goal of being committed to someone and having someone committed to you. It’s important that your need to find that commitment doesn’t lead you to look at your boyfriend with rose-colored glasses, unable to admit his shortcomings.
You Don’t Feel Valued or Respected
Many of us have dealt with moments of prickly behavior from our boyfriend, or with snarky comments and edgy attitudes here and there. It comes with the territory of being in a relationship with an imperfect person.
However, it’s vital that at the root of the relationship, we feel valued by our boyfriend, and as much as we can make excuses and do our best to forget his transgressions, we can’t ignore that gnawing, knowing, deep-down feeling that he doesn’t respect us — and we shouldn’t find ourselves secretly questioning if the person we’ve committed ourselves to respects us.
Caring more about staying committed than being treated with respect can lead us to dark, toxic, unhealthy places, and ultimately, our commitment is only deserved by someone who wouldn’t cause us to question their respect for us.
Commitment is a beautiful, significant, powerful aspect of a relationship. It’s important to make sure, though, that you don’t let your desire for commitment cloud your judgment and allow bad behavior to go unchecked.
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