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Double Commitment

By Amanda Walters

All Rights Reserved


Copyright 2007 ALovelyRelationship.com

No part of this book may be reproduced, transmitted or distributed in


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system without permission in writing from ALovelyRelationship.com.

The information contained in this book is provided as is without warranty


of any kind. The entire risk as to the results and the performance of the
information is assumed by the user, and in no event shall
ALovelyRelationship.com be liable for any consequential, incidental or
direct damages suffered in the course of using the information in this book.
Contents

How to Double Commitment in Your Relationship 6

Chapter 1. 7

What IS Commitment? Commitment Defined 7


Mutuality in Relationships 9
Commitment Defined 11
Spontaneity in Relationships 12

Chapter 2. 15

Why Do You Want to Increase Your Relationships Commitment Level? 15

1. Increasing Commitment Due to Cultural Conditioning. 16


2. Increasing Commitment Out of Fear 18
3. Increasing Commitment Because the Relationship Is More Real That Way 20
The Best Reason for Wanting To Increase Commitment 22

Chapter 3. 23

How Likely Is Your Partner to Commit To You? 23

Communication 24
Common Goals 26
Bring Out the Best in Each Other 28
Make Love an Action Word 29
Balance Me Time with We Time 29

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Chapter 4. 32

Things That Dont Help Grow Commitment 32

1. Inadvertently Suffocating Your Partner 32


2. Hint-Dropping 34
3. Dont Let Things Slide 34

Chapter 5. 38

Commitment-Phobes: If They Wont Commit, Are They Even Able To Commit? 38

What to Do If Your Partners Having a Hard Time Committing 40

Afterword 45

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How to Double Commitment
byAmanda Walters

All Rights Reserved (c) 2008


ALovelyRelationship.com
Chapter 1.

What IS Commitment? Commitment Defined

Commitment is a pretty big word, both in our society and in relationships


at large.

To commit to something literally means to pledge yourself to a position or


an issue. A commitment is essentially a vow: a pact.

When you commit to something, you pledge yourself to it and make your
intentions absolutely clear.

When it comes to commitment in terms of relationships, that definition


tends to get a little blurred. Many people make the mistake of thinking that
to becommitted to something like a relationship there has to be an
element of need present.

In other words, theres the idea that to be committed to someone, there


needs to be some external factor present like a mortgage, children, or a
joint business which links you to that person; e.g., you cant be
committed to them without needing to have them in your life.

This is nonsense. Commitment in relationships is all aboutwants,


notneeds.

Need and dependency are issues that are strongly similar. Theyre
interlinked.When you need someone, youre essentially dependent on
them for something, whether that something is financial resources, a self-
esteem boost, emotional security, whatever.

If youre dependent on your partner, or you want them to be dependent on


you thinking, perhaps, that commitment is all about needing someone
that raises a red flag!

In fact, dependency and commitment arent related at all.


Dependencyactually kills off genuine commitment.

When you need someone, or youre dependent on them, spontaneity doesnt

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even come into the question. Need is need, and theres no element of
choice about it when needs, not wants, are the issue, words like
trapped, desperate, and stuck come to mind.

Commitment, on the other hand, is a spontaneous thing: a couple that are


committed to one another have chosen to live in that manner because
they want to, not because theyhave to.

Remember that word: spontaneous. The element of choice of


spontaneity - is very important to a good, strong, long-term relationship.

Without choice, either one or both parties are bound to feel beholden to
the other. Questions of inequality get called up.

Resentment begins to grow.

The concept of need naturally introduces an element of potential


desperation, or fear, into the definition of a relationship: usually, fear that the
source of that need will be taken away, and/or the fear of being powerless.

Well discuss the issue of fear in greater detail later on. For now, I think it
will suffice to leave you with an interesting quote that sums up my point
perfectly.

Ready?

The opposite of love is fear.

Take a second to think about it.

Most people think that the opposite of love is hate a strong, aggressive
sensation of irrepressible loathing and disgust.

I disagree. I think the opposite of love is fear, not hate.

To me, love is all about equality: mutual power and the simultaneous
absolute lack of power.

That phrase may sound confusing the first time you read it, so take a
moment to think about what I mean.

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Mutuality in Relationships

Ill say it again:

Love is all about equality: mutual power


and the simultaneous absolute lack of power.

Love is absolute, mutual trust: youve entrusted someone with absolute


control over your heart, emotions, and life; you do so because you trust
them. With genuine love, this is a mutual deal, hence the idea of power
(you hold this persons heart in your hands) combined with the absolute
lack of it (since theyve got your heart in their hands!).

Fear, on the other hand, is all about inequality and powerlessness. Fear
isan essential component of an unbalanced relationship for example, a
relationship where one person is less committed than the other.

This lack of equality leaves the more-committed person feeling fear: fear
that the other might leave them; fear that theyre being taken for a ride;
fear that their heart will be broken.

Theres nothing good to be found in Fear and love


fear; its an intensely negative, anxiety-
ridden emotion. Nothing positive can cannotexist
come out of it. simultaneously.

Fear is an unhealthy thing to associate with your relationship. It will kill off
the love, if you allow it to, and replace it with resentment and deep-seated
anxiety.

Fear and love cannot exist simultaneously. If youre scared of a possible


consequence that might eventuate in relation to your partner or your
relationship, then that fear will negatively affect your love.

For example, lets say that you feel that you need your partner, or that you
depend on your partner, and youre afraid that their level of
commitmentmight be less than yours.

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Well, its pretty difficult to get truly comfortable, and allow your true self
free reign, in a relationship where youre constantly worrying about your
partners commitment to you.

The original, positive feelings that you had about the relationship (love,
admiration, affection, security) are gradually replaced by negative ones
(anxiety, fear, worry about the future, resentment for being made to feel
that way).

Do you see how, over time, this sort of thing will naturally lessen your love
and your commitment to that relationship?

Its not anybodys fault per se, but its a definite truth. Because how can
you be truly, genuinely, effortlessly committed to a relationship which,
directly or indirectly, spawns feelings of powerlessness, anxiety, and fear?

Which leads me back to the original question: what is commitment?

What is commitment?

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Commitment Defined

My definition of commitment is that it is something that evolves naturally and


effortlessly out of true, balanced love, and open, honest communication.

If two people in a relationship are being honest about themselves and


their lives, and theyre capable of loving each other for who they really
are, then commitment the desire to stay together and support one
another will spring naturally from that love and honesty.

When it comes to defining commitment, Im going to ask you to remember


two basic facts.

1. Commitment is not about need. Commitment is


aboutwanting,notneeding.

Remember, need and dependency are interlinked. When you


need someone in the true sense of need, not just the ideal of
poetic flattery the element of fear is called up.

2. Remember that fearandlovecannot exist simultaneously. When the


emotion of fear is suggested in relation to your partner or your
relationship, it negatively affects the level and quality of your love.

So need engenders fear, which in turn kills off the love.

Contrary to popular belief, need is the antithesis to commitment!

Now put the shoe on the other foot. Just as commitment is not about you
depending on your partner, it is also not about trying to get them to
depend on you, either.

Trying to get someone to need you, out of a desire


to increase their ties to the relationship, or a fear Need engenders
that they might leave you, is deeply unhealthy. fear, which in
turn kills off the
In fact, its almost parasitic. A true relationship
one thats balanced, genuine, healthy, and loving love.
is based on mutual want, not need.

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It doesnt matter whether that need is one-sided or mutual: a relationship
based on dependency is going to be unstable, no matter what else it has
going for it.

A good relationship is one where both partners are mutual in their


spontaneous love and commitment to the other one. The two key words
here are mutual and spontaneous.

Weve already talked about the importance of mutuality to a balanced


relationship; so lets take a quick look at the importance of spontaneity.

Spontaneity in Relationships

Spontaneity, in a relationship, is about unrestrainedly experiencing


emotion and affection.

Unfortunately, some people often, people who wish their partner to be


more attached and committed to them attempt to use strategies and
techniques in an effort to increase their partners commitment to them.

Effectively, they try to manipulate their partners feelings.

Remember this: it is not your job to try to make anybody else feel anything.

To try to do so is not only manipulative and reminiscent of self-deification


(playing God, in other words), but its also pretty much impossible!

Ill say it again:

You cannot make anyone feel anything.

As this statement relates to commitment, it basically means that you


cannot find ways to get someone to commit to you. Commitment is
something that evolves organically, in its own way, when the time is right.

It cant be sped along, or helped along the way, or forced into existence,
by any manipulative efforts on anyones behalf.

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To increase your partners genuine love and commitment to you, all you
can do is to be as whole, compassionate, and authentic as you can be: to
be your real, honest self, and to refrain from manipulative behavior.

For example, some women might go to huge efforts


to dress sexually and spend a great deal of time
and effort on their hair, nails, and makeup, because
It is not your
they feel that if they look attractive, their partner will job to try to
reciprocate with an engagement ring. make anybody
else feel
Another example might be the person who agrees
anything.
to sign a mortgage on a house with their partner,
because they know that that mortgage means that
their partner has to stay with them until its been
paid off.

This idea of reciprocity of doing things in order to get something out of it


is unhealthy in the extreme.

Commitment is not about manipulation; its not about doing things


to getsomething out of it.

Trying to force someone to depend on you, in a hope that it will increase


their commitment to the relationship, is more likely to result in resentment
than anything else.

Manipulation will not help the relationship, or you as a person; itll just
drive the other person away.

True commitment develops without pressure or force.

These things kill commitment off, not foster its growth. Commitment can
only develop naturally: the best environment for it to grow is one of peace
and trust.

Something else for you to think about (warning: this may shake you up a
little bit), is that if you feel as though you have to scheme, plan, and
strategize ways to convince your partner that youre fabulous and worth
committing to, thats actually not a good sign.

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I am NOT going to provide you with a program for getting someone to
commit to you, because like Ive already said nothing you can do will
make anyone increase their commitment.

Instead, I am going to supply you with information about your own motives
for wanting to increase the commitment levels in the first place. Well then
take a look at how likely your partner is to commit to you in the long run;
and finally, give you ideas for improving the overall quality and health of
your relationship because commitment springs naturally from a healthy,
loving relationship, not because youve followed an X-Y-Z formula.

If you do feel as though you need to figure out techniques for getting your
partner to be more committed to you, well, that could mean one of two
things:

1. This person is not a likely candidate for commitment to anyone right


now, or

2. This person, and your relationship with this person, may actually not
be the best choice for you at the moment.

Well deal with this concept in more detail in Chapter Four, but in the
meantime, its just something that Id like you to bear in mind for now.

Dont reject it outright, and dont embrace it wholeheartedly quite yet


either; just put it into a holding pattern in a quiet corner of your mind, and
well discuss it further later on in this book.

And now, lets take a look at the reasons that you have for wanting to
increase the commitment level of your relationship in the first place.
Examining your motives will enable you to take the best course of action,
and should yield some useful knowledge about your relationship, too!

It is not your job to try to make


anybody else feel anything.

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Chapter 2.

Why Do You Want to Increase Your Relationships Commitment


Level?

Its always a good idea to examine your motives for anything you do
particularly, your motives for the actions you take which relate to your
relationship.

Often, in matters of the heart (like love), we take action to resolve things
that we see as problems, without really thinking about why were doing it.

Sometimes, this habit of blindly following instinct and desire can lead us
down the wrong path. Perhaps we end up perpetuating a situation that
isnt really good for us, or we end up spending a lot of time and energy in
chasing goals that we havent really considered in the long run.

In addition to the merits of motive-consideration in terms of getting us to


think about whether or not what we think we want is actually what we
want, it can also yield a lot of information about the relationship that youre
trying to work on.

Your reasons for trying to increase the commitment levels in your


relationship can tell you a lot about the weak points of that relationship, or
areas that could do with some improvement. Its a valuable way of taking
inventory of the overall health of your relationship.

So what do you think your reasons are for wanting to increase the
commitment level of your relationship?

There are three common reasons for wishing to increase commitment


levels in a relationship, which were going to look at now.

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1. Increasing Commitment Due to Cultural Conditioning.

One of the most common reasons for feeling a need to increase the
relationships commitment levels is something called cultural conditioning.
Our society conditions people women in particular, but men almost as
much to believe that if theyre not married, or if their partner doesnt
want to marry them (or otherwise openly demonstrate their solid
commitment to a long-term relationship), then their situation must be
somehow lacking in some important and necessary qualities. Their
relationship must somehow be inferior.

They believe that if that relationship proceeds


for a certain amount of time without a
Often, in matters
concrete move towards real, tangible
commitment usually, a wedding ring - that
of the heart (like
theyre somehow missing out on something. love), we take
action to resolve
Another common reaction is to take from things that we see
the situation that there must be something
as problems,
wrong with them personally that theyre
undesirable, or not marriage material, or without really
that they have an unattractive personality. thinking about why
were doing it.
If this is the case with you, I suggest that
you take a deep look inside and consider
your motives for wanting to get married in
the first place.

Why is it so important to you to get married? Is it for reasons of self-


esteem:that youd somehow feel better about yourself if you had a ring on
your finger, or the piece of paper that proves youre married?

Is it for reasons of financial security?

Is it for the promise of forever?

Or perhaps you just feel like the relationship is stuck in a superficial,


unsatisfying rut, and that a proposal of marriage would help to mix things
up a bit and make the relationship more satisfying.

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Unfortunately, theres a bit of an issue here. Statements of commitment,
like marriage, are just that: outward statements of an inner truth.

If those outward statements have been coaxed into being by pressure from
you (for example, hinting, nagging, asking outright), or are birthed out of
falseness (for example, if you manipulated a higher level of commitment into
being), then that outward statement will be shallow and meaningless.

Like commitment itself, for gestures of commitment


like a marriage proposal to signify a real move
Why not just towards healthy, long-term commitment, they must
relax and enjoy be genuine and spontaneous.
your wonderful Ill say it again if you feel as though youve got to
relationship? manipulate someone into seeing that you are the
one for them, then you need to be aware that the
very necessity of those manipulations signifies that
that relationship is probably not the best one for you.

Lets look at it from another perspective. Lets say your relationship is


great the two of you get along fabulously, you love each other, and you
know you want to be with each other for a long time.

Well, in that case, then whats the rush? Why not just relax and enjoy your
wonderful relationship?

Being married isnt going to change anything, or make your relationship


somehow more. If that happenstance evolves naturally and organically
in its own time, then thats great but its not something that can be
forced into being.

Remember the importance of spontaneity!

For a gesture of commitment to be worth anything at all, it needs to spring


spontaneously from a balanced relationship.

When I say balanced, I mean that both people in that relationship need to
be in accordance with each other that this level of commitment and this
relationship is definitely what they want.

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If either person is uncertain to any degree at all then the meaning of
that gesture (like a marriage proposal) is automatically cancelled out.

Remember, the state of being married isnt the end youre aiming for here
its the state of being which encourages the growth of the relationship
into marriage.
Remember the
What I mean is this: the ring on your finger
isntyour ultimate goal. Its merely a symbol
importance of
that that ultimate goal a balanced, healthy, spontaneity!
mutual relationship has been achieved.

So if a proposal of marriage has been coaxed into existence by either


member of the relationship, instead of being something thats just evolved
naturally, then theres a problem; because inequality naturally signifies
instability in a relationship, and thats bad news for everyone concerned.

So, no matter what your situation is whether youre trying to fix an


unbalanced relationship, or whether youre trying to get some sort of
commitment-trophy out of an already-satisfying relationship trying to
force commitment isnt the answer to your problems.

2. Increasing Commitment Out of Fear

Another really common reason for wanting to increase the commitment level
of the relationship is because youre afraid that your partner may leave you.

The key word in this sentence is afraid.

Now, weve already spent a fair amount of time discussing why fear and love/
commitment are mutually exclusive, so well just briefly touch on this here.

Fear engenders the sort of panicky desperation that actually drives


people away.

If you hold on too tight, you end up smothering your partner. Do you think
that being suffocated will make them want to hold on to you tighter?

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NO!

It makes them want to struggle out of your embrace and flee for the hills in
the opposite direction.

Remember: a relationship thats based on fear is unstable.

The only way to really get around this fear is to learn to embrace the present
moment. This might sound a little simplistic Oh, sure, like thatll work.

But trust me: simple is good. Simple works!

There are few guarantees in life. There is certainly never any guarantee
that your partner will stick with you forever not even if theyve said that
they will.

A relationship Not even if youve got a ring on your finger.


thats based on Not even if theyve signed a legally-binding
fear is unstable. document promising to do so.

Not even if theyve got your name tattooed onto


their body!

To get over this fear, you really do need to learn to find peace in the present
moment. Time spent seeking the goal, striving for that achievement, trying to
get somewhere in your relationship is essentially wasted time.

If youre afraid that your partners going to leave you, then you need to sit
down with them and have an honest talk with them about it. Even if you
get them to make some sort of verbal commitment to you, that still wont
cancel out the truth that for whatever reason your gut instincts are
telling you that somethings off.

After all, if you were completely secure and relaxed, you wouldnt feel as
though you needed to extract commitment from your partner. Youd
already sense that they were committed to you, and would be content with
things as they are.

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So: if youre afraid that they might leave you, you need to take steps to
address that issue with your partner. Its not something that you can fix
by playing mind-games and attempting to manipulate them into increasing
their commitment to you; you need to talk to your partner about your
feelings and give them the information they need to take care of you.

Well talk more about how to communicate openly, assertively, and


honestly in Chapter Three (How Likely Is Your Partner To Commit?).

3. Increasing Commitment Because the Relationship Is More Real That Way

Sometimes, people wish to intensify the commitment level of their


relationship out of a desire to get to the real part of the relationship.

Not out of fear that their partner will leave, or out of boredom, or a need
for change; simply out of a desire to rush through the initial stages of the
relationship to get to the good stuff.

Again, if this is the case with your own relationship, I suggest that you
slow right down. No stage of the relationship is any more real than
the other stages the early days are just as important, fulfilling, and
satisfying, as the later, more ostensibly committed stages.

Youre not going to gain anything by hoping to


speed the process up somehow think of your
growing relationship like a house being built.
Every house needs a solid foundation, a sound
It could come
infrastructure, and carefully constructed walls collapsing down
and supports before it is safe to live in. around you at
any moment.
If your houses construction is being rushed if
corners are being cut, a slipshod jobs being
done on the basics of the structure, important
steps are being hurried or skipped altogether
then that house will never be safe to live in.

You might end up with the outward semblance of a house faster than you
otherwise would have, but in reality, that house isnt safe.

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It could come collapsing down around you at any moment.

By rushing through the early stages of your relationship, youre


exchanging the time that youve saved by cutting corners for at least an
equal expenditure of time further down the track.

Even though you might feel as though youve achieved something by hurrying
ahead and saving time, such rushing does not bode well for the future.

Essentially, youve exchanged some time right now, for a lot of time in the
future! At some point in the future and likely, at many points in the future
- youre going to need to invest time, energy, and effort in identifying and
repairing the damage to your house thats occurred as a direct result of
hurrying through the basic construction process.

It could come collapsing down around you at any moment. youre laying
the foundations for your future. The foundations are vitally important to the
structure that youre going to end up with in the long term theyre not
something you should rush!

Remember, just because youve got a ring on your finger, or because somebody
says that theyll stick with you forever, or because youve got a marriage
contract on paper, that doesnt mean that anything about your relationship
isgoing to change. The belief that it will is nothing but a harmful myth.

The truth: genuine, lasting, meaningful commitment cannot be rushed. It


has to grow on its own, in an environment of mutual trust and love.
Anything else, and the end result will be nothing but a shallow sham.

So relax, slow down, and learn to embrace the moment enjoy the
current moment as it exists right now, both for yourself, and for the long-
term health of your relationship.

It could come collapsing


down around you at any moment.

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The Best Reason for Wanting To Increase Commitment

So weve looked at all the wrong reasons for why most people want to
increase the commitment levels of their relationship.

Weve looked at why fear isnt a valid reason; why the desire for change
isnt a good reason; and why using commitment to validate the
relationship isnt a good reason, either.

So what is a good reason?

Well isnt it obvious?

The best reason for wanting to increase the commitment level in your
relationship is love.

When you truly love someone, youre naturally


committed to them emotionally. You want to put
in the effort. You want to stay with this person, The best reason
because life just feels better and more enjoyable for wanting to
when the two of you are together. increase the
commitment
You want to grow your relationship youre
level in your
naturally interested in increasing and improving
the quality and depth of your communication and relationship is
interpersonal honesty, and you want to be the love.
best partner that you can be to this person.

So how can you increase the love levels and, as a


natural offshoot of that love, the commitment levels
in your relationship?

Well find out in the next chapter.

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Chapter 3.

How Likely Is Your Partner to Commit To You?

How likely do you feel your partner is to commit to you? How solid do you
feel that your connection is? Can you see your relationship lasting in the
long term?

These arent easy questions to answer.

A technique that might make it a little simpler for you is to consider the
relationship from your partners point of view. What qualities and good
points do you bring to the relationship that would make them want to stick
around (as opposed to needing to stick around)?

Taking the wants-versus-needs point into account, reasons like, We have


a mortgage together, The children need their mom/dad, and The family
business would fail if we separated, are not valid points because
theyre centeredaround your partner needing you, not wanting you.

The aim of this exercise is to consider the Consider the


reasons that your partner would choose, of their reasons that
own free will, to be with you. In the long run, your partner
those reasons are the ones that will help to
would choose,
determine whether or not the two of you will
stay together in the long run. of their own
free will, to be
It may help you to start off by making a list of with you.
the good things about your relationship that you
both enjoy, or that you know your partner
particularly enjoys.

As a sample list, here are some of the points that you might think of:

You make your partner feel good just by being around you.

They feel that you value and cherish them.

You bring out their best qualities: when theyre around you, they

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feel like a better version of themselves.

You have fun together.

You have great sex.

You support one another.

Life seems better and more enjoyable when youre together


than it does when youre apart.

Obviously, this is just a sample list. If none of these things seem to apply
to yourself or to your relationship, perhaps youve got other ways of
making your partner feel good about themselves.

Or, perhaps you just need to put a little more work into the relationship
inorder to create some valid reasons for your partner to stick around, and
to increase the quality and depth of the bond between the two of you!

Here are some ideas for doing just that.

Communication

Communication is the number-one most important part of any


healthy, balanced, committed relationship.

Being a good communicator is all to do with being honest and authentic


about who you are, and what you believe and feel.

If you cant communicate your own truths to your partner if you are
deliberately withholding aspects of your personality, or youre not giving them
the whole story about your wants and desires, your opinions, your thoughts,
and your personality - then how can they ever get to know you properly?

And if they cant get to know you properly, for who you really are, how can
they ever love you properly or commit to the person that you really are?

Being honest and communicative is the best recipe for a good relationship,

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hands-down.

One particular aspect of communication that many people struggle with is


being honest about things they feel may result in a conflict of ideas or
opinions.

Conflict is something that many people shy away from. Because its such
a taboo issue to so many couples, issues and disagreements get bottled
up inside, or buried beneath other issues, or simply ignored because its
easier that way.

This is like sounding the death knell of your


relationship. First of all, if you arent capable of
being honest with your partner, then you have to
ask yourself what kind of a bond you actually
The trick to it is
have; and second of all, bottling things up inside to create a safe
doesnt mean theyve been taken care of. environment of
honesty
It just means that theyll erupt out, in an and truthful
emotional explosion, when you least expect it
and the increased pressure and significance that communication.
youve added to the issue by not talking about it
will likely mean that that eruption, when it comes,
will be twisted out of all reasonable proportion.

Its not always easy to be honest with someone, especially if you feel that
what you should say may challenge them, or may make them feel as
though youre provoking them.

Its really important to communicate to your partner your need for the type
of environment where you and your partner promise to talk to each other if
somethings up and that youll each actively listen to, and really hear,
what it is that your partner has to say.

You need to be able to talk to each other without fear of judgment or


condemnation to be able to air your personal truths without having to
censor your thoughts or watch your tongue.

Good communication isnt about attacking the other person, or about telling
them that theyre wrong. Of course, disagreement is a natural part of any

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relationship, romantic or not; but it doesnt have to be dealt with as a
fight or an argument.

Good communication is about being honest and truthful moment-


to-moment throughout your relationship.

Contrary to popular opinion, it is actually possible to express conflicting


opinions in a non-threatening, non-aggressive, peaceful and loving way.

Good If you disagree with your partner, it doesnt


have to spell the end of the world you can
communication is air your opinions and disagreement without
about being honest creating a situation. When you express
and truthful your disagreement, it doesnt mean youre
moment-to-moment devaluing your partner or their opinion; its
simply about expressing your own personal
throughout your
truth of how you feel at the present moment,
relationship. and asking them, in return, how they feel
about it. Its a simple exchange of truths.

Ultimately, the greatest thing you can do for your partner and your relationship is
to commit to growing the relationship, as well as your partners own spiritual and
emotional development, and their knowledge of you as a person.

You do this by committing yourself to communicating even the hard


stuff, even if you think itll challenge them.

True, meaningful communication is the ultimate sign of commitment from


you, the ultimate sign that you respect and care for your partner, and is
the best thing you can to towards contributing to an environment of caring,
loving, respectful commitment.

Common Goals

Couples who have goals in common are almost always much more
committed to one another than couples who have separate life
orientations. What do the two of you have in common?

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::: 26 :::
You may not have reached the point in your relationship where youre
comfortable having The Talk just yet.

(For those of you that are unaware of what The Talk is, its the one that
centersaround the question, where is this relationship going? Its where
you discuss the life goals and achievements you each have in mind, and
think about the degree of compatibility that those goals have with each
other. Incidentally, its generally a sign of at least moderate commitment if
youre both comfortable even having this chat.)

If neither you nor your partner is comfortable having The Talk just yet,
dont feel as though you have to add to the emotional pressure of the
situation by forcing them into an intense conversation.

You can bring up the matter gently and without creating a sense of urgency
or obligation, or injecting too much meaning into whats essentially just a
casual chat about the kinds of things you both want to do with your lives.

All you have to do is mention some things youd like to do in the next six
months, or year, or five years however far ahead it is youre thinking here
and see if your partner has thought about what they might be interested
in doing, and whether or not their goals might be in line with yours to any
extent.

Tip: it helps to have a variety of goals for a


variety of periods in your life. For Common goals
example,you might want to run a marathon and interests
together in the next six months (or take a constitute a large
camping holiday, or go on a road trip
part of the
around the country, or spend a long
weekend in a different city); you might want emotional glue
to take a trip to India in the next 12 months that binds happy
(or go on safari in Africa, or go bungee- couples together
jumping, or get your qualifications for
scuba-diving); you both might be interested
in property purchases in the next five years;
and so on.

Please dont be alarmed by this Im not necessarily suggesting that you

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::: 27 :::
make plans to do these things together, especially if you dont feel that
your relationship is up to that sort of long-term planning!

Im merely suggesting that you have a few casual conversations about the
matter of the future, just to scope out whether your general desires and
hopes coincide at all. This will help to give you some sort of idea where
your partner might think the relationship is going, and will help you to both
sort out your understanding of what the future might hold for both of you.

If your goals are very different, it will help to plan out together some things
you can achieve together that youre both interested in doing.

Common goals and interests constitute a large part of the emotional glue that
binds happy couples together if commitments an issue, you could start out
small, perhaps with a trip that youd like to take in the next six months.

If thinking six months ahead is too much


commitment, start really small say, a weekend Discuss the
getaway sometime soon. You could plan it around life goals and
the kinds of things that youre both interested or, achievements
if you really dont share any interests at all, you you each have
could each pick a variety of pastimes from each
others hobby-basket and get involved in the ones
in mind.
that you think sound the most interesting.

Its a great way to bring you closer together the more experiences,
goals,and interests that you share, the easier it will be for
commitment to just fall naturally into place.

Bring Out the Best in Each Other

Bring out the best in your partner. Appreciate their good points, and make
sure you tell them that you do! Remember, commitment springs naturally
out of love and its much easier to love someone who makes you feel
really good about yourself. Supporting and appreciating each other is
what loves all about.

Is your partner funny? Dont hold your laughter back allow yourself to

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::: 28 :::
wallow in their humor and let the belly-laughter roll.

Are they sweet? Tell them that they are, and how much you appreciate it.

Perhaps they have a knack for making you feel better after a hard day if
so, make sure they know what a difference their support makes to you!

Dont be stingy with your compliments and appreciation, and dont be


afraid to tell them that they make you happy. Coming across as
committed and enthusiastic in the relationship yourself is one of the best
ways for fostering an environment of commitment.

Make Love an Action Word

Express your love for your partner through actions as well as words.

Do they look tired or stressed? Give them a back rub.

If you know theyre coming home late from Dont be


work on a particular night, you might decide stingy with your
to put your own appetite on hold and cook compliments and
them a delicious meal for you both to enjoy
together when they arrive home.
appreciation.

Leave a Post-It note on the steering wheel of their car or the cover of the
book theyre reading, telling them how much they mean to you.

Actions speak much louder than words. Theres no need to do anything


overblown or super-extravagant: just a few small actions every now and
then to bring a smile to their face will be more than sufficient to encourage
the growth of love and commitment.

Balance Me Time with We Time

Retain your individuality, and allow your partner to maintain theirs.

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::: 29 :::
Maintaining your own sense of self, as well as an interest in all the things
that make you you, is really important for your own happiness, as well as
for the health and longevity of your relationship.

When the boundaries of your individual personalities begin to blur and


blend in with each other (which is actually a relatively common
phenomenon for couples who spend a great deal of time together), the
quality of time spent together tends to decrease.

For example, many couples that move in together begin to find, after a
few months have passed, that theyre spending more time together than
ever before, but that the quality of that time has diminished markedly.

Although they spend a lot of time together, most of that time is occupied in
low-value activities like hanging out with a takeout and the TV, instead of
actually interacting with one another.

This is a good example of quantity time, as opposed to quality time.

A great way to increase the amount of quality time spent together is believe
it or not to actually spend a bit more time apart, doing your own thing.

Me time is just as important as we time when it comes to happy


couplehood you need to take the time to nourish and nurture your
ownspirit, and take some time for yourself away from your partner.

This also relates to the issue of not smothering your partner. Just like you,
your partner needs me time. They need to be allowed to have the
opportunity to enjoy and maintain their identity as an individual, and to do
things on their own.

Not only is making a point of taking me-time a powerful tool for creating
much-needed space and individuality in the relationship, but it also ties in to
the truth of that old adage, Absence makes the heart grow fonder! Giving
them the opportunity for moderate amounts of time apart is a sign of

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::: 30 :::
real maturity youre mature and self-aware enough to give them the gift
of missing you.

Ensuring that each of you has access to adequate me-time will help you
to achieve several things:

It will help you to redefine yourself as a person, and maintain


your individual identity which is essential to keeping a fresh,
healthy perspective on your relationship, and on life in general

It will give you the time necessary to enjoy the things that you
like doing (that your partner doesnt necessarily share your
enthusiasm for), thus keeping your interests and your life
well-balanced and full

It will add spice to the conversation and increase the


conversational options available to you both youll both
have more energy and more things to talk about

It will increase your mutual desire to spend quality time


together when you do see each other, instead of just chilling
out in tracksuits on the couch 24/7. Having fun together, not
just down-time, is essential for long-term happiness: the
couple that plays together, stays together.

Having fun together, not just down-time, is


essential for long-term happiness: the couple
that plays together, stays together.

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::: 31 :::
Chapter 4.

Things That Dont Help Grow Commitment

Insecurity in a relationship is a common desire to increase a partners


level of commitment. We want to cover our backs, and make sure that we
dont have to go out on a limb any more than we have to our hearts are
valuable, after all, and nobody wants to be needlessly reckless with theirs!

But sometimes, this desire to increase our partners commitment to us


leads us to do strange things. Things that actually end up driving them
away, rather than bringing them closer to us.

Many of these actions come naturally to us without making a conscious


effort to examine our actions and think about how they might be coming
across to our partner, wed never have a clue that we were acting in a
less-than-productive manner.

Thats why its really important to keep an You must always


eye on your levels of self-absorption when take the time to
it comes to your relationship. You must think about how
always take the time to think about how youre acting from
youre acting from your partners point of
view to ensure a healthy balance of your
your partners
desires versus their desires. point of view.
In this chapter, were going to take a look at some of the mistakes that
people in relationships most commonly make when theyre trying to
increase the commitment level of the relationship.

1. Inadvertently Suffocating Your Partner

Someone whos insecure in a relationship finds it very difficult to just sit back,
relax, and let the relationship grow on its own. They feel compelled to try to
control the relationship and their partners feelings, to check up on it all the
time to make sure absolutely sure that nothing could be wrong.

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::: 32 :::
Its almost obsessive, in some cases some people admit to feeling as
though they cant take their attention off the relationship for even a
moment, in case something goes wrong while their backs turned.

This is pretty understandable after all, we all want to take the best care
possible of the things that mean the most to us.

But smothering a relationship and taking care of it are not the same thing!

If you find yourself constantly checking with your partner to make sure
everythings OK, that theyre happy in the relationship, that theyre content
with the way things are going, and that nothings wrong, you may feel as
though youre making an effort to keep things on the right track.

This may be your reality; but its definitely not reality for your partner or
the relationship itself!

What youre actually doing, when you do this, is telling your partner that you
expect something to be wrong that you have no faith in the relationship,
and in your natural connection with each other, to take care of itself.

Youre saying that you feel like youre not naturally suited to each other, and
that you feel like your love needs constant caretaking in order to survive.

Demonstrating such insecurity and neediness is not a good way to


increase your partners commitment levels to the relationship.

Instead of suffocating your partner with demands for emotional reinforcement,


you need to relax and allow them to just be give them some space, and have
some trust in your connection, attraction, and love for each other.

Smothering a relationship
and taking care of it are
not the same thing!

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::: 33 :::
2. Hint-Dropping

Being indirect and dropping hints about issues that are important to you is
not a constructive way to handle communication.

Its quite child-like, in fact.

If youre guilty of hint-dropping, you may not see it


Most people
as child-like: you may see it as the safest way to get
your point across. appreciate
honesty and
But your partner doesnt see it that way! Being indirect directness.
about meaningful things (like commitment, for example)
is an incredibly frustrating way to get a point across.

Its hard on both of you, in fact. Its irritating and frustrating for your partner,
who can often tell that somethings up (but cant understand exactly what it is
that you want); and it makes things difficult for you, because youre trying to
communicate something and its not getting across properly.

Most people appreciate honesty and directness. It takes a certain amount


of moral stamina, as well as self-esteem and confidence, to be capable of
candor on subjects that are important to you but its a sign of respect to
the person youre communicating with.

If you want your partner to commit to you, then show them your respect and
your love for them through your actions: articulate your thoughts openly,
instead of attempting to manipulate your partner through game-playing.

3. Dont Let Things Slide

Be wary of actions that harm your relationship.

When youre comfortable with someone, its relatively commonplace to let


your personality slide a little bit to let aspects of your character show that
you wouldnt have dreamed of showing when youd first started dating.

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::: 34 :::
Maybe you get grumpy when youre tired, and instead of making an effort
to smile and be pleasant and thus counteract your grumpiness in a
productive, albeit more effortful, way - you take it out on your partner, and
vent your feelings by being snappy and crotchety.

Perhaps youve taken to nagging your partner asking repetitively for them
to change aspects of their behavior or habits, and failing to change your
methods when the nagging proves itself to be useless as a modification tool.

Or do you criticize your partner more often than you realize? Maybe you
find fault with them a little too often, and are a little too eager to articulate
your findings.

There are many ways of bringing a relationship down from the inside, and
they dont all have to be extravagant, large-scale events often, theyre
the insidious daily occurrences which simply erode away your enjoyment
in each others company.

Be aware that these sorts of things actively harm your relationship, and
destroy the bond of love and trust between you and your partner. The sooner
you cut them out, the better. Think about why you might be doing these
things: often, these sorts of behaviors are more about petty, unarticulated
resentments manifesting themselves than a real desire to, say, criticize your
partners unwashed hair/penchant for TV watching over breakfast/odd socks.

Again, it all boils down to communication. I


There are many normally advocate that, if you notice yourself
ways of bringing a doing these things, you show your partner
relationship down that you respect and care about him or her
from the inside. by acknowledging that youve been behaving
in this way, and telling them that youre
making efforts to change that behavior.

Or perhaps youre on the receiving end of this sort of treatment? If thats


the case, its definitely your responsibility to communicate your
dissatisfaction to your partner pronto, before it becomes a major issue!

Again, its really important that you dont let resentments build up this is
a natural destroyer of true commitment and love. You need to learn to talk

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::: 35 :::
about your feelings openly and honestly: assertively, but without aggression.

If something that your partners doing is bothering you, make sure that
you tell them that it does. Dont make the mistake of hoping that itll all just
somehow go away on its own that your partner will magically just stop
doing it, or that youll learn to deal with the negative feelings without
needing to talk about it. They wont; and you wont.

Resentments tend to linger and self-magnify if theyre not quickly rooted


out and addressed through simple communication.

This isnt something that has to be a big


This approach is deal theres no need for sweaty palms
going to almost or a dry mouth. Even if youre nervous
about confrontation (even the kind of
guarantee you a mild, assertive-not-aggressive
sympathetic ear! confrontation that were talking about
here), just remember this: the more
honest you are, the less hurt youll cause.

What I mean by this is quite simple: all you have to do is break down for
your partner what youre thinking and feeling.

You dont need to just blast them with a complete, out-of-the-blue


announcement that their behaviors been bothering you. You can warm up
to it by explaining that theres something youd like to address, and that
youre a little nervous/flustered because you dont want to cause offense.

Then, you can explain that youd like to make a habit of being as open
and honest as possible, so youre trying to overcome your natural
reluctance to directly address potential issues.

After that, you can bring up the issue, whatever it is.

This approach is going to almost guarantee you a sympathetic ear!

Prefacing these kinds of statements with an admission of your own


vulnerability really takes the sting out your following words, and helps your
partner to view your words objectively meaning theyre that much more
likely to take your request on board, and act on it.

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Ultimately, the solution to any problem in your relationship is communication.
Communicating effectively isnt always easy it takes time to get
comfortable with addressing important issues, and with wording your
statements in such a way that your partner is able to understand your true
meaning without getting bogged down by personal subtexts.

Your persistence will definitely pay off, though the best thing you can do
to engender commitment in your relationship is to commit yourself to the
wellbeing of the relationship and of your partner.

In the truest sense of the word, commitment is about respecting your partner
enough to be honest and authentic with them. This will enable you both to be
your truest, most honest selves, and to love each other for who you really are
meaning that you can give each other the love, encouragement, and
support that you both need to feel and act your best.

Commitment is about respecting


your partner enough to be honest
and authentic with them.

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::: 37 :::
Chapter 5.

Commitment-Phobes: If They Wont Commit, Are They Even


Able To Commit?

From time to time, you will probably come across people that it will be
difficult to increase the commitment level and value of the relationship
with, no matter how much time, energy, and effort is invested.

Several of my own personal friends have made the mistake of attempting


relationships with these sorts of people despite the warning signs, they
went ahead and committed their emotions and energy to trying to change
someones personal truth as it existed in the present moment.

Im sure you can recognize these sorts of people when your friends and
associates are attempting relations with them theyre easy to spot, from
an objective distance.

But when its happening to you when its your heart and your emotions at
risk perversely, its often actually more difficult to realize whats going on.

So were going to take a quick look at the types of people who its not a
good idea to get involved with; then, well deal briefly with what to do if
youre already involved, and its your own partner whos having a hard
time committing.

If you arent open with


your partner about what
youre true feelings, youre
admitting defeat.

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::: 38 :::
Here are some of the warning signs of people who you should stay away
from if its commitment that youre after:

People who are just out to have fun and who tell you that
theyre not interested in a relationship (for whatever reason).
Do not make the mistake of assuming that you can get them
to change their mind about this: if theyre definite enough to
about their stance on the topic to be up-front about it, pay
attention and believe them. Two words: caveat emptor!

People who are with you because they have settled. In other
words, they dont believe they can do any better. They may have
reservations and misgivings about the relationship, but theyre
afraid (at the present moment, anyway) to try for what they really
want. Youll never be able to relax with this sort of person,
because you know deep down that the moment something or
someone better comes along, theyll take off like a shot.

People who are depending on you for something. It doesnt


matter what it is financial resources, a place to say, a job,
for self-esteem reasons, anything. A relationship based on
dependency is always going to be wildly unstable and
unpredictable remember, dependency fosters resentment,
which kills off the love.

People in a transitional phase of their lives, whose life is


undergoing a major change. Specifically, Im talking about
people who have just ended, or who are in the process of
ending, a serious relationship. Obviously, there are always
exceptions to the rule, but in the vast majority of cases,
someone whose life has just turned a big corner doesnt even
know themselves what direction theyre going to head in next
which makes committing themselves to a new relationship
pretty difficult, and pretty unlikely.

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::: 39 :::
What to Do If Your Partners Having a Hard Time Committing

If youre already involved with someone who seems to be having


reservations about commitment, its not going to be of much use to you
knowing the sorts of people you should avoid.

Its too late for that youre already involved!

So what should you do about it? How can you recoup the situation and
minimize any potential pain or misunderstanding?
Youre not
Basically, you are going to have to talk to your
partner about the situation and your feelings.
being true to
yourself, and
Some reluctance to do this is understandable you thus youre
may feel as though articulating your feelings will also not being
cause them to run in the opposite direction. After true to your
all, if you think theyre a commitment-phobe, then
so much as mentioning the word commitment will partner.
have an adverse effect, right?

Well maybe. But, in truth, it sounds as though youre stuck between a rock
and a hard place. I think the best thing for you to do is to confront the issue
and you can start by acknowledging, to yourself, the fact that you feel as
though there may be a problem.

Lets look at this rationally here. Your options are:

To be honest about what youre thinking to yourself and to


your partner.

To acknowledge to yourself what youre thinking and feeling,


but remain silent about it to your partner.

To pretend to yourself and your partner that theres no problem.

Well, it already sounds as though Option #3 isnt actually an option for you
(since youre reading this book, for a start!), so lets look at the relative
merits of t Options #1 and #2.

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::: 40 :::
Well look at Option #2 first.

If you arent open with your partner about what youre true feelings, youre
admitting defeat.

Youre saying, Yes, I know theres no hope here. I know that I cant tell
my partner what Im thinking, because my true feelings are the complete
opposite of what he or she wants to hear. Im going to pretend to myself
for a little bit longer (or a lot longer) that everythings fine, and that Im
happy to be in an undefined, uncommitted relationship, because to me
thats better than no relationship at all.

Can you see how that kind of relationship isnt really a relationship at all?
A relationship thats based on emotional dishonesty and concealment
doesnt have much of an opportunity to grow.

Youre not being true to yourself, and thus youre


Dont smile
also not being true to your partner: youre
and pretend to presenting a half-image of yourself to them. Youre
yourself that not giving them the full story.
everythings
OK if you In the short run, this may be something that youre
content with; but how long do you think youll be
know its not. able to keep up the faade for? Youll probably be
able to stick it out for awhile after all, if you really
like or even love this person, youll make an effort to
keep things going but eventually, your feelings are
going to get the better of you.

And you know what happens when feelings get bottled up the result is
an eruption. An unexpected, inconvenient, and unattractive eruption.

One thats far less attractive, and far less effective, than simply addressing
your thoughts and emotions now, while theyre still manageable.

So thats option two. Now lets look at option one: the one where youre
honest about what youre thinking to yourself, and to your partner.

This is probably the most emotionally challenging option to choose,


because you are putting yourself in a position of vulnerability.

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::: 41 :::
If youve sensed that theres a lack of certainty in your partners
commitment to you and the relationship, bringing up the fact that youve
noticed that lack is strongly counterintuitive: it goes against your instincts.

Your instincts are probably telling you to procrastinate: to go with option


two or three, because theyre easier and you have less chance of scaring
your partner off that way.

And Ill be honest with you if your partner is a commitment-phobe, there


is a chance that he or she may actually be frightened away by you
mentioning your thoughts and feelings on this matter. Obviously, you dont
want this to happen: you love, or at least like, your partner, and want the
relationship to last.

But a relationship in which you cannot rely on your partners commitment


to you is not a real relationship. Its a sham and one thats placing an
unwelcome, and certainly unfair, emotional burden on you.

If youre being forced to pretend that youre content to be in a relationship with


someone whos being evasive about the emotional energy and time theyre
willing to commit to that relationship, then thats not a healthy situation.

Its going to make you unhappy, even while youre pretending to yourself
that youre better off in this relationship.

Dont smile and pretend to yourself that everythings


OK if you know its not you have a right (and, Being true
actually, it could be argued that you owe it to yourself
to yourself
and the relationship that you claim to be committed
to) to be honest here. Things cant possibly get any is a really
better unless you lay all your cards on the table, and important
request that your partner does the same. part of being
a happy
The fact remains: honesty is the best policy.
person.
Remember, you dont have to make a huge big deal out
of your feelings remember how we discussed, in
Chapter Three, how to have a low-key conversation
with your partner about mutual goals and interests?

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ALovelyRelationship.com
Those same principles can be applied here. Dont put too much pressure
on your partner: you want to strike the right balance of awareness of their
potential uncertainty, and honesty about your own feelings and needs.

So dont come right out and pin them to the wall with a statement of
neediness and insecurity; but on the other hand, dont beat around the
bush either (remembering that candor and directness are necessary for
respect and love to flourish).

A simple, This is how I feel at the moment. How do you feel about that?
will suffice admirably.

Emotional honesty in itself is a major step in and of itself towards commitment.


It signifies that not only do you respect your partner enough to be honest
about a difficult topic, but that you yourself are mature enough to hold up
your end of the bargain in a proper, committed relationship.

Being true to yourself is a really important part of being a happy person,


and being a good, committed partner you need to be firm about what
you need and expect out of a relationship.

There are two possible outcomes from the conversation that you will have
with your partner, if you pick option number one: either they will reassure
you and lay your feelings to rest, or they will confirm your suspicions that
theyre not ready to commit.

If the former is true, then thats wonderful and youve


got nothing to worry about. Dont put
too much
If the latter is true, then thats going to be difficult for you
to hear but, at the risk of sounding infuriatingly pressure
optimistic, think how terrible it would have been if youd on your
waited to have this conversation. partner.
If youd procrastinated and put it off, think how much
time you could have wasted pretending to yourself that
everything was OK!

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ALovelyRelationship.com
Be sure that you dont blame yourself for initiating the problem, or your
partners reaction, by initiating the conversation (unless you tried to have
the talk in the first couple of weeks of dating someone, in which case you
really gave them little other option to respond!).

A commitment-phobe is a commitment-phobe. If youve been with this


person long enough to know that youre committed to the relationship, then
theyve almost certainly had plenty of time to figure out where theyre at, too.

What Im saying is this: there is little to be gained from delaying this


conversation (again, unless youre still in the really early days of a
relationship). There is no point in wasting your time hanging around,
waiting for your partner to wake up and realize how fabulous you are.

Remember, you cant force anyone to feel anything for you that they wouldnt
do on their own so if your partners uncertain about their feelings for you,
there is nothing you could have done to change their mind or heart.

So dont waste your time or energy in trying to convince them that youre
right for each other - firstly, because you cant (its as simple as that); and
secondly, because there are too many people out there right now,
wondering when theyll get to meet someone just like you!

You cant force anyone to feel anything for you

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::: 44 :::
Afterword

I hope this book has been of use to you.

The issue of commitment is a huge and complicated one there are so


many varieties on the question, How can I get my partner to be more
committed to me? that I cant even begin to address them all individually.

The thing is, they all boil down to essentially the same question, and
theres only one answer to that question.

You cannot hope to get anybody to truly commit to you if youre not honest.

You need to be honest with yourself, about what youre feeling and
thinking; and you need to be honest with your partner, too, and convey to
them your personal truths.

If youre not honest, and you allow communication to lapse, that is the
closest thing to a guarantee that I can think of that the commitment levels
in your relationship will nosedive.

Fortunately, the converse is also true: thebest recipethere is for


apositive, loving, healthy, balance, mutually committed relationship
is communication.

Its as simple as that.

So start working on your communication with your partner. You dont have
to bite off more than you can chew: remember to break it down for them
into small, bite-sized chunks of truthfulness.

You can start by telling them that youd


like to start working on improving the You cannot hope to
communication between the two of you, get anybody to truly
and asking them how they would feel commit to you if
about taking part in that.
youre not honest.

::: 45 :::
Thats all it is. Theres no trick to it. Building a fantastic relationship is as
easy as saying, This is how I feel. How do you feel about that?

So give it a shot. See what you can build out of that one simple phrase.

I think you may be pleasantly surprised!

With love

Amanda Walters

All Rights Reserved (c) 2008 ALovelyRelationship.com

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