You and your partner/spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend (whatever the case may be) don’t see eye to eye on this question of commitment. One of you wants more commitment; the other, more freedom in your relationship. Seemingly you are at totally opposite ends of the spectrum. But are you? Let’s take a deeper look.
Do you and your lover play the ole switch-a-roo game? For example, if one of you changes your position, say from wanting more commitment to wanting more freedom, what happens? Does the one who wanted more freedom suddenly swing to the commitment side?
Or here’s how my partner and I played that game when we were dating. He would profess his undying love and devotion to me, then say, “but I’ve never played the field and I really want to date.” My reply would be “okay, why don’t you go date?” Then quick as a wink, his position would change…”Oh, I can’t do that. Why would I date when I have exactly what I want in you?”
When your relationship see-saws back and forth like this, it tells you that you and your partner are not so divergent in your viewpoints after all, but have a similar inner conflict going on–you both want closeness and security on the one hand, but on the other, are afraid of being trapped. One person is simply acting out one side of the internal conflict, while their partner is acting out the other.
Don’t believe that it’s both of you? Think it’s only your partner with the commitment/intimacy issues? (see How to have more closeness with your mate) Well, think again. You wouldn’t be with this person if you were the king/queen of intimacy. It just doesn’t work that way. Someone who is capable of closeness and commitment is just not attracted to someone who isn’t. Why would they be? That would just guarantee struggle and dissatisfaction.
But, if you’re still not convinced that it’s both of you, take a look at your own patterns:
Have you ever had a close, committed partnership? Maybe your relationships never last very long, Or you get involved with people who aren’t really available, which is convenient, since you can always blame them instead of taking responsibility for yourself. If you choose people who are not capable of much intimacy, or don’t want commitment, it’s a clue that you’re not either. Simply admitting that it’s both of you, and bringing the dance out into the open, brings more harmony into your relationship. Now, instead of having the same old fight over perceived opposite viewpoints, a fight by the way, that can never lead to a true resolution because it’s not the real problem, you can begin to work on what is real.
How do you do that? First and foremost…Talk! When you find that you are feeling trapped, or any other feeling that makes you want to run, share it with your partner. Just being honest about what’s going on will bring relief to both of you. You might even find that it totally changes how you feel in the moment. Talking honestly instead of acting out will bring you a greater, richer love. Worth a try? As one who’s experienced this very thing, take it from me, it sure is!
For more information on this subject read: How to balance commitment and freedom in a relationship
Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for more great tips and insights about relationships. You can read a synopsis of the book on my website, www.infidelityandaffairs.com and buy it worldwide from all Amazon websites (both print and Kindle) and Barnes and Noble