Commitment is Overrated

Sunday, Sep. 26th 2010 11:48 PM

A recent associate owns and manages an executive temporary staffing agency. Companies and individuals use his services without a contract. For example, clients can hire an executive to meet their needs for as short or long a period as they liked, an hour or six months. It’s an unorthodox way of doing business that is catching on, and also holds a lesson which is applicable to all our relationships. And though it may seem just as unorthodox in intimate relationships as in business relationships the lesson is this: commitment is overrated. At least it is the way that we generally apply it to our romantic relationships.

If commitment is not overrated, it is certainly unnecessary. Here is an example:

If I were to stand on a corner giving out fifty $10 bills every day at 8am, I would not need to get a commitment from recipients to return the following day. Why? Because I am offering value. The value ensures repeat customers. I would not need to ask the person that came on Monday to commit to returning on Tuesday. In fact, if they did not return on Tuesday, there would assuredly be someone else happy to take me up on my offer.

Why do we often believe that we are not bringing the same value (or more) to our relationships? Why do we request commitments from our romantic partners, instead of being confident in or developing ourselves into people that bring value? The level of value that we believe that any partner would want to return to daily without obligation.

If you were to take a moment, right now, and tell your spouse or significant other that you did not require that he/she remains committed to you, and that he or she is were free to leave and do whatever or be with another person with your full and complete blessing, what would happen to you? How would you feel? Would you feel calm and at ease? Would you never do such a thing, and call the exercise preposterous? If you did ask this question, would you be scared of your partner’s response?

A feeling of calm and ease is indicative of someone who believes that they bring value to their relationship. If you would either avoid asking the question, or fear the results after asking the question, your response is based in a belief, whether you know it or not, that you do not bring enough value to your relationship that would warrant your partner remaining with you indefinitely.

In case you are saying to yourself, “Okay, I believe that I am valuable, and I am willing to make such a statement to my partner. But what if s/he decides to leave me and go and be with someone else, something I really do not want?” If you are valuable, and your partner decides to “be with someone else,” instead of you, then they did not believe that you were valuable in any measurable manner that I would (if I were you) consider significant. This is some of the most priceless information that you can be given to you. To some degree, I wish to avoid typing the following words because I believe that everyone will come to this conclusion on their own. But, what would you do if you knew that your partner believed that you did not bring value? I hope that you would want to leave the situation, or change it dramatically at the very least.

Or you could take the opportunity to sit down and evaluate yourself. Are you bringing your best skills to the table of your partnership? Are you actively contributing value to your relationship by giving it the time and attention it deserves? Are there ways you could enhance your skills so that you become more valuable in the eyes of your partner? The latter is the selection that I suggest the least. Assuming that your partner is your partner because at some point he or she noticed and found value in you or what you did. Maybe his/her perception changed. Maybe you haven’t really been trying. Maybe you have forgotten or taken for granted the value you hold for yourself. That is ok. But, remember you bring value TODAY. Do you value yourself enough to conduct yourself accordingly?

Keep Rising,

Frank Love

www.FrankLove.net

…and please do not multi-task when driving.

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Leave a Comment: Let Us Know Your Thoughts

How to Gracefully Exit a Relationship

28 Comments on “Commitment is Overrated”

  1. Misti Burmeister Says:

    An important reminder, Frank – thank you! I’m wondering – what are some ways you would suggest bringing more value to a relationship?

  2. Kojo Says:

    Thank you! I think the way you articulate the issue really sums up how I feel about commited relationships! Great food for thought and growth!

  3. Roz Says:

    Hello Frank, I just read ‘Commitment is Overrated’ and would have enjoyed being in on the discussion. While I agree in principle with what I read I’m not certain how all the going and coming at will impacts the family structure. My idea of family is that it’s a cohesive unit. Just a thought. Be at peace.

  4. Judy C. Says:

    Hi Frank, This is an interesting thesis. I’ve always liked the idea of making no expectations on a partner, but expect the best. Got any more ideas on how to bring value to the relationship? How well does this work for business relationships?

  5. BlackLove Says:

    How many times would a woman have to to be valuable enough for you not to leave? And if a woman you left was not valuable, why be with her in the first place? Why become sexual with her and then leave after the sex?

  6. Lorne C. Says:

    Ah yes! The constant need to make an effort, not sitting back and expecting people to want to be with you, around you, listen to you or be intimate with you. We all bring something, but often it isn’t enough to warrant people sticking around. When we find that right chemistry with a special person, the very difficult multi-category mix of all things, one would think that it would be enough to keep the bond strong, but over time, as one of your readers asked, the family unit breaks down because love doesn’t withstand all. Whether work, finance, intimacy, family, environmental or myriad other reasons, that bond can break down over time or quickly and it is in our best interest to keep making an effort to build on the strong base a commitment was based upon as long as it is mutually beneficial. Whether we get into the self deprecating, self loathing types who bring on those people into their lives that suck all of our energy, give nothing back to us and leave us drained, weak and less of a person, is irrelevant, just to menton that there are those types and many others that would factor into this conversation.

  7. LadyBug Says:

    So…what do u say to the person who feels de-valued, drained, and emotionally exhausted in the relationship…to the person who loves the other but is not “in love”…to the person who compromises their own self expections of what a relationship should be..just to keep the peace? Staying only because of the “Commitment”. Just wondering. Great topic.

  8. Dieter Pauwels Says:

    I understand the relationship between commitment and value, yet I believe that commitment is not a ‘choice’. When you are committed, action always follows thought. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsgihlW_Oj4
    Look forward to your thoughts.

  9. FrankLove Says:

    I completely agree. In fact we are probably talking about two different forms of “commitment.” The commitment that I am talking about is not really commitment. It has more to do with what we want someone else to do in a relationship. The commitment that I believe that you are talking about goes to the heart of what I believe commitment to be, which is seeing a given task, project or whatever through until it is accomplished as initially outlined. This type of commitment is probably underrated. All the best to you and thank your for your thoughtful insight.

    The definition of choice is another conversation, which I’ll table for now.

    Frank Love

  10. Dieter Pauwels Says:

    Frank, I do agree with your previous comment. Very well stated. Regarding choice, we always had and have choices. I look forward to learning more about you and your work. Thanks again for your post. Very interesting.

  11. FrankLove Says:

    Thanks. I enjoyed your YouTube clip too. I hope my readers check it out.

    Frank

  12. Leslee Says:

    Great and intense insight! And this is a wonderful discussion about commitment and expectations.

  13. Dr. Walter Sims Says:

    This was an excellent post my friend. Let’s connect…I would love to have you on my radio show…The Motivator!!

    Thanks again
    Dr. Sims

  14. blythermagoo Says:

    This is a very interesting perspective, one that would definitely be something to employ if we lived in a perfect world. Wouldn’t it be lovely if human nature worked this way, rational, logical? Unfortunately, we live in a world where sometimes no matter how much a person has to offer (value they posses) and no matter how much their partner acknowledges this value and agrees that their mate posses it, human nature with its insatiable curiosity and innate drive to do better, causes an individual to stray. And what happens to the individual who strives and achieves this every escalating sense of self worth? Unless the escalation is parallel, and happens simultaneously, one partner will inevitably out value the other.

  15. Gaea Says:

    Speaks to self-esteem, self-confidence and self-love. And releasing fear. Great post.

  16. Nas Says:

    Well said my Brother! Well Said! I see nothing wrong with this. She must have been having a bad day. I love it! When I get married you may have to be one of my Pre Marriage Counselors. My Imam, Wali, and Frank Love . . . . . ;’)

  17. Raziyah Says:

    Well said so the word is “Value”

  18. Spirit Says:

    Interesting perspective. I think this notion is “ideal,” but far from realistic though because it doesn’t take into account the roles that biological, sociological, and psychological factors play in matters of the heart. I think at the very least, we’d have to qualify in this “offering” to our partners exactly what “commitment” means, which looks different in every relationship. What usually keeps couples “committed” to one another is the potential consequence of losing their relationship/partner should they act on the attraction (or value) they recognize in someone else. If a person is given the green light to pursue other individuals whom they also see value in with their partner’s “complete blessing,” is the assumption that most people would choose to remain exclusively committed to their mate because the value that they see in their partner is so great that they are unable to see value in anyone else? If so, then I think we’re living in a fairy tale. Or, is the expectation that the partner giving their blessing should feel comfortable in what they have with that person and focus solely on their relationship, regardless of the fact that their mate may also see value in sleeping with Teresa on their lunch break, or going out to dinner with John after work before coming home to you every so often? While with the right understanding this message/blog could be very empowering, I think that without the proper foundation laid it’s as dangerous as putting a loaded gun into the hands of a person who’s never seen one before.

    Thanks for challenging us. I look forward to reading more…

  19. Show ‘Em What You’re Working With: How to Build Value in Your Relationship | Frank Love Says:

    […] a recent blog (“Commitment is Overrated“), I discussed how we feel more empowered in relationships, and less needy and insecure about […]

  20. Massander Says:

    Brother man – you never defined commitment. Wassup with that?

    I think what you described is what we have anyway. People SAY they are “committed”, but they leave when they wish anyhow. What you say is always secondary to what you do.

  21. t- Says:

    Reply to Massander’s comment: If you want a definition of commitment read the bible:

    It adds value and respect to your life in the level that no experience on earth can add to. Without the spiritual influence on or in your life, you can never produce the favorable results of what true commitment is defined as. The sorrowful part about anything in this world is how things are defined but each person interpretation gradually breaks the definition down by adding their two cents and sharing that bad information with othes and it becomes less and less worthy of anything. The best thing is to read the bible, stay committed to it because it is unwavering. I am not trying to sound all religious or even bore anyone, but telling you that when you start to be an example of try committed which means to keep your word despite any conditions, you speak what you plan to do, a direct action comes from your command (your words). If I say I am driving to the store, in order for that to be true, I have to literally go outside to drive my car to the store. If i go outside and say that it is a nice day, i am going to walk since the store is nearby, this is an example of how you are affected by conditions. It is better to have said I am going to the store…you stay committed to that thought no matter what form of transportation you take to get there, and no one can pull your card on it only if you do not go to the store. I said all that to say, if you say you are committed to a woman, you should be committed to hear despite all the shortcommings. If not, you become the trap. Proverbs 20:25 states It is a trap for a man to dediate something rashly and only later to consider his vows. We have to begin practicing how to stay focus and steadfast by the simple things first and it will make the harder things come together more easily such as love. Don’t you learn to have that unconditional love, only way, you have to become that gate way for your love to enter in. You do not have to be a fool in love to find true love either, you got to define it and be willing to accept nothing less. God always instructed his people to follow his decrees and command and when he doesn’t, he takes necessary roughness in a loving father way to ensure we get the real deal of the message and why we need to follow exactly what he says. Find your true love through your new form of commitment. God luck, and that is not a typo.

  22. Debra Says:

    Does this work both ways? No commitment from the man and no commitment from the woman. Really, if this is the truth, then I am all in…

    I think the initial thought is good but you need to take it down to really what having a lack of commitment says about one. Not just in relationships but in life.

    Remember, there is always someone better, something better. If we had no need for commitment and we used value as the measurement, then what could we count on if more value was somehting that could be spotted a minute after we made a “commitment” to something else? lol……

  23. Sex Goddess Freya Says:

    Mr. Frank Love believes that commitment is overrated. His basic tenet is that if we are valuable in our relationship then we should feel secure enough to allow our partners to be released from commitment and confident that they will return. I can agree with a person feeling valuable, secure, and confident in their relationship. But I cannot agree that commitment is overrated.

    Mr. Love operates under the assumption that we ask for commitment. I don’t believe we ask for commitment. We offer it to our partners. When we offer commitment to our partners we are not just offering to stay around. If this were the case, if this was all there is to commitment, then it would certainly have very little utility. But what we are offering when we become committed to our partner is our time, our minds, and our hearts. We’re not just saying “I’ll be here.” We’re saying, “I care about you enough to not entertain a union with any other person. I care about you enough to put your needs before my own. I want to try this with you and put continual effort into this relationship. I want to invest in this relationship. You can trust me. I will not stray. If this were to end, I would surely feel a part of me has died. “

    This notion of investment I think is the single thing that separates commitment from being a simple “Alright. I’ll just be with you” to “I am IN this WITH you.” From the world of social psychology, investments in relationships are a very telling factor in the lifespan of a relationship. Its very simple. The more investments there are, the less likely people are to break up. And if they do break up, it is labored and traumatic. An investment could be a pet, a condo bought together, or a planned future vacation. Investments can also be time – the longer you are with someone, the more likely you will stay with someone.

    Trust is a steadily growing and developing part of anyone’s relationship. Trust enables us to invest. And out of investment and commitment comes Respect. And the fact is if I were to say “If you want to go and be with someone else – you know to sleep with or do whatever you like and I’ll just be here waiting,” my partner would eventually believe I had lost my self-respect. And if I don’t respect myself, then why would my partner? So by saying that to my partner would be like sabotaging my own relationship. Not because my partner will stray and actually sleep with someone else, but because they will no longer respect who I am and what I deserve as a person in that relationship. This is done by us women every day when we overlook our partners indiscretions.

    The point is, Mr. Love, relationships just don’t work that way. Honestly, commitments can be broken. So this idea of telling your partner, “You can leave whenever you feel free” is unnecessary. Even if you were to tell your partner this, very few would actually take you up on the offer. And not because they don’t want to, but because they know to leave your partner high and dry with no explanation is simply unacceptable. We know that we can leave. It is always an option. If you are unhappy, leave. Its really funny actually, because out of the vast amounts of people who ARE unhappy in their relationships, very few actually do leave. We are social beings and are therefore endowed with a concept of social decency. Commitment is decent and good. It is complicated. And it is totally necessary in the grand scheme of relationships.

  24. Most Relationships End Perfectly | Frank Love Says:

    […] “I am not valuable enough for someone to want to be in relationship with me (see ‘Commitment is Overrated‘). I’m not capable of attracting a new and more compatible partner. I have grown […]

  25. Pamela Love Says:

    Thanks for sharing all of this, I’ve read your post on my iphone in the train! Haha.

  26. Relationship Wisdom from Aretha Franklin | Frank Love Says:

    […] and partnerships provide value to the people in them. If they didn’t, why would we bother forming them in the first place? […]

  27. Relationship Balance: The Key to Doing What You Want – and Keeping Your Friends | Frank Love Says:

    […] partners believe they are winning when interacting with us, the relationship remains valuable (see Commitment is Overrated) to […]

  28. Men: I Have No Problem Committing, But To What? | Frank Love on Relationships Says:

    […] gather a host of opinions and understandings of it, depending on who you ask. Some proclaim it is overrated. Some treat commitment as the holy grail of all forms of relationships and seek it relentlessly. […]

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