No Commitment for Me

By | August 26, 2011

When someone asks if I am in a committed relationship, I usually reply that if I felt I had to commit myself, I would be in a partnership rather than a relationship. Vows and contracts are for business partners—I wouldn’t think of approaching a loving companionship in the same way. My mate and I consider sharing our lives together to be an opportunity, and we cherish every moment we are given together. Committing to such a relationship would be as ludicrous as promising to eat the wild strawberries in my bowl. If someone asked me to assure them that I would eat those berries, I would seriously question either that person’s sanity or my grip on reality.

At the same time, I can understand the need for commitment. Most people I know are at least to some degree victimized by their relationships, usually because of suppressed yearnings or unfulfilled dreams. They feel trapped by responsibility and the expectations of others, or they are in denial of who they really are and their life’s calling.

If this is the case, then why do we involve ourselves in such relationships? Because suffering is a cultural ideal. We are conditioned to go through life with a martyr complex—to toil and endure for what we gain, and feel ashamed by urges that are uninhibited and blissfully happy. Many of us are in awe of ascetics who live without sex, without eating meat, or even without eating. I’ll save the whys for another discussion; right now, I’d just like to establish the reality of the situation.

For me, the saddest part of this story is that we project our ideal of denial and repression onto our relationships. In other words, self-abuse morphs into abusive relationships. Could this be why sixty percent of us have been divorced and nearly all of us seek escape—or at least numbness—through substance abuse of some kind?

There is an old Irish ballad whose lyrics go:

Oh, the summertime is coming/and the fields are sweetly blooming./Will you go, lassie, go/to pick wild mountain thyme/o’er the blooming heather?/If you will not come with me/I will surely find another/to pick wild mountain thyme/o’er the blooming heather.

And so my mate and I lead our lives. When there is resonance, we do things together; when there is not, we give each other our blessing and go our own ways. She and I reunite fulfilled and happy, with stories to share and new riches for the relationship. We feel little jealousy, likely because one is not sitting back lamenting while the other is off having fun. In fact, we have found it to be quite the reverse—we encourage the other to follow their bliss and revel in the other’s joy. Far from needing to commit myself to such a relationship, someone would have to break both of my legs to keep me from it.


Kelly on August 29, 2011 at 10:03 pm.

Tamarack, this article really hits home for me…. I feel like a prisoner because of my promise to stay on the premise (aka…marriage). I would rather experience my life in the moment including relationships. That which doesn’t resonate with me is slowly falling away…something to look forward to.
Thank you


Tamarack on August 30, 2011 at 4:42 pm.

Hi Kelly,

It feels good to connect with people like you who are taking steps to live from the heart. All change has repercussions, so proceed consciously and respectfully, and good will come of it. May you be an example and inspiration for others, that they find the courage to follow their hearts as well.


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