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PQ 15.3 — What assumptions do I make about commitments in my relationships?

·486 words·3 mins
PQ Series

PQ 15.3 — What assumptions do I make about commitments in my relationships?


We’re often blind to our own assumptions, at least until someone else points them out to us.

As I wrote in response to an earlier question in this series, PQ 1.6:

Commitment is many things. I’ll be the first to say that I’m afraid of commitment.

How can this be? I’m a person who once had 3 primaries, who has been married (twice), even committed monogamously to a partner for 8 years (before we intentionally and mutually opened). How can I, of all people be afraid of commitment?

Simple. It’s because I take such things very seriously.

I don’t make promises lightly because it destroys me to break them.

In that piece, I also talked about the difference between future and present commitments. With future commitment, you’re talking about future-directed promises: “I’ll never leave you,” “as long as we both shall live,” etc.

With present commitment, you’re investing time, attention, domestic or financial resources, and loyalties.:

  • Time/Attention
    • Do you have a standing agreement to see each other (once a week, once a month, once a year, etc), come rain or shine?
    • Do you have a specific night of the week that’s your date night?
  • Domestic/Financial Resources
    • Do you live together?
    • Who do you sleep next to?
    • Are your bank accounts entangled?
    • Do you share a car?
  • Loyalties
    • Do you drop what you’re doing and make time for them when they’re having a personal crisis?
    • Do you give them the benefit of the doubt when you don’t have all the information?
    • Do you trust their sexual risk assessment enough to fluid bond with them?
  • *

    I tend to be generally pretty comfortable with making present commitments to my partners. It’s natural for me to invest in the people I care about.

    But future commitment is a different matter. I’m quite leery of forecasting things too far ahead.

    And this is again because I despise going back on my word.

    I’ve absolutely been in situations where I’m all in with somebody, absolutely devoted to them, think nothing will ever come in the way of that, and then… something happens.

    It isn’t that I don’t trust my partner. Or my own feelings.

    I don’t trust the future. Not completely.

    The Kind of Future Commitment I Can Do

    Except every once in a great while, I meet someone. And I know they’re going to be special to me for my entire life. Even if they wake up one morning and decide they hate me and leave.

    No matter what they’ll always mean something to me.

    And when that happens, when I meet someone like that, it’s absolutely wonderful.


    This post is part of a series in which I answer each of the chapter-end questions in More than Two with an essay. For the entire list of questions and answers, please see this  indexed list.


    PQ 15.1 — What are my existing commitments? How much time do they leave for new partners?
    ·352 words·2 mins
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    PQ 9.2 — Am I being asked to consent to something in a way that I can’t later withdraw my consent?
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    PQ 7.3 — The Ladder of Inference: Challenging Our Assumptions
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