Commitment in Relationships

August 13, 2019
Most people see commitment in relationships as a good thing, but what happens when it goes too far? Read on to learn more!

Emotional relationships, including family bonds, friendships, and romantic relationships, are very important. They’re all based on love, but what does love really involve? How important is commitment in relationships?

Passion, trust, and commitment are three very important aspects of any relationship. In this article, we’re going to discuss commitment in relationships. In general, people think that commitment is a good thing. But what about when it goes too far?

Before we start to analyze whether commitment in relationships is beneficial or not, you have to learn what it is and be able to distinguish it from the other two aspects.

Commitment in relationships requires open discussions.

What is commitment?

Commitment is people’s will to stay together. All relationships require a certain degree of commitment. Obviously, commitment to family or friends is different than commitment to a romantic partner. In general, romantic relationships demand more commitment than friendships.

In simple terms, commitment is a type of social contract that both parties accept. Labeling yourselves as “friends”, “a couple”, or “married” is what seals the contract. The problem is that the specific clauses of this contract aren’t usually explicitly outlined by each party. The contents of that contract tend to be a reflection of the expectations society believes each party should fulfill.

The main goal of commitment in relationships is for each party to feel some sense of security and control. When you’re in a contract, you feel comfortable having certain expectations about how your partner should behave. This helps you predict what types of situations might come up and act accordingly.

Having some control and feeling secure in relationships is helpful in many ways. For example, raising children is easier when a couple is committed to each other. That’s because children are born utterly defenseless and need their parents’ constant care.

Commitment in relationships today

So what does this mean in the present day? In general, people believe that commitment implies a few things:

  • Loyalty: Most people consider cheating a strong reason to end a romantic relationship.
  • A desire to keep the relationship going for the foreseeable future: If one of the partners wants to break up after a short while, then you’d probably agree they weren’t committed.

A man comforting a woman.

Is commitment a good thing or a bad thing?

If you pay close attention to your relationships, you’ll see that many of them are toxic to a certain degree. This is because commitment in relationships can lead to many problems due to:

  • The implicit social contract.
  • The expectations it brings with it.
  • The need for someone to have control over another.

Implicit social contract

Implicit social contracts are implicit conditions each partner needs to fulfill. In many cases, both partners don’t express what they expect from each other. On the contrary, they start their relationship with certain expectations about how their partner “should” behave.

Each individual has their own interpretation of what commitment in relationships implies. Thus, many conflicts can arise at the beginning of the relationship due to these individual expectations.

Social expectations

When you’re committed to another person, you have a set of ideas regarding how your partner needs to act to make you happy. However, problems arise when one partner doesn’t meet the other’s expectations.

In general, both parents try to fulfill the other’s expectations. However, sometimes they do this by compromising their own needs. This may eventually lead to dissatisfaction.

A couple fighting.

The need for control

Finally, commitment can make you feel the need to control our partner. This could be rooted in your need for security. The problem is that control can lead to emotional dependency. As such, your partner may eventually feel trapped and frustrated.

Autonomy is a human need. We can’t force other people to act according to our rules. A relationship based on subordination hinders freedom. And this leads to dissatisfaction and unhappiness.


Commitment is an agreement between two parties. Despite the fact that it’s an important aspect of romantic relationships, it shouldn’t become the main aspect. Those who take it to the extreme can end up doing more harm than good.

Nevertheless, most commitment issues can be resolved if you explain what you expect from your partner. It’s also important to give your partner the freedom they’re entitled to. These two things are fundamental to happy relationships.