Arguments between the two of them have cropped up more often lately. Kate can’t pretend any longer. She wants Jon to re-prioritize his life to show that she really matters to him and she’d like to discuss where their relationship is headed. Jon feels pressured and annoyed. He’s always loved how open and easy-going Kate is and he doesn’t like this new Kate who seems mostly insecure and demanding.
Neither Kate nor Jon wants to give up on their relationship…but they don’t know how to fix the conflict that’s standing in the way either!
Maybe you’ve been in a similarly difficult place in your relationship.
You and your partner are at a point where you’re both unhappy and dissatisfied. One of you wants to move your relationship to the next level of commitment and the other seems happy with the way things are.
This is what we call a commitment conundrum.
It’s puzzling and frustrating and it can send your relationship racing toward breakup if you’re not careful!
Don’t make up stories.
When you and your partner don’t seem to agree about the level of commitment you want, you might start assuming or guessing about why this is. You might unintentionally make up stories to make sense of your partner’s words and behavior.
Kate tells Jon that she’d like to talk about their future together and he insists they focus on today and on enjoying each other in the present moment. When Kate hears this reply, she instantly comes up with a story that Jon says that because he’s avoiding the commitment issue or maybe because he doesn’t see her as “marriage material.”
The truth about why your partner seems to be avoiding commitment will remain unknown to you if you rely solely on what you guess he or she thinks and wants. Instead, have to courage to question your thoughts. Stop the stories and then get facts.
Kate can tell Jon that she wants to enjoy the present moment with him AND that she’d like to have a conversation about what they each want for the future. She can tell him she doesn’t intend to rush things, but she does want to know if he’s open to the two of them possibly getting married one day.
This is not a comfortable sort of conversation to have! There are no guarantees that your partner wants to get married, to move in together or to be monogamous with you but you won’t know if what you each want (for now and the future) is a match if all you do is guess.
If, after asking, you still don’t understand what sort of commitment your partner is willing to make, ask for clarification. Don’t criticize or blame, but do say, “Please help me understand…” and then really listen.
Your way out of confusion and conflict is to communicate honestly and openly with your partner. Come up with an agreement about commitment that you both can truly be happy with– this will ensure that you both follow through in a way that brings you closer together.
Make your agreement specific and establish a time frame if that feels appropriate. It is vitally important that your agreement is one that you both are genuinely saying “yes” to. If your partner agrees because he or she feels manipulated, pressured or even threatened, you don’t have an agreement and you don’t have an understanding that will serve your relationship.
Instead, find the courage to really listen to what you partner wants and to be upfront about what you want. If the level of commitment you’re looking for is something you’re not willing to compromise on, then be honest about that too.
Remember, talking about commitment doesn’t have to be filled with drama and it doesn’t have to make or break your relationship. Be clear with yourself first about what you want and then ask for it.
Communicate with honesty and openness about even the most difficult topics and get more closeness and connection. 500 Communication Tips and Secrets will show you how.