Saturday, 9 March 2013

Commitment and Monogamy - Just how important is commitment to a relationship?

Jenny, a consultant in a reputed company, had been married for a year. She was content in her relationship and secure in the marriage. Rex - smart, funny, and a generous lover, had a bright future ahead in the law firm where he worked. Jenny was thrilled that she had been lucky enough to meet him and that they had clicked instantly. Just when everything was hunky dory, her world fell apart. Her friend Lisa told her she’d seen Rex out on the town with someone else. "I couldn’t believe it at first and told Lisa she must have been mistaken", she said. "Until I did a little snooping around and found her messages about their clandestine meetings on his cell phone. I was devastated".
When Jenny confronted Rex with it, he was nonchalant. "He didn’t even bother to deny it. He was so casual and acted like there was something skewed in my approach", says Jenny. It seems Rex had a few gray shades to his character which Jenny hadn’t discovered till then. Fidelity wasn’t his forte.
To Jenny, whose parents are still together after 35 years of marriage, a relationship is sacred. And one of the foundation stones of a good relationship is commitment. When you cannot commit to somebody, the repercussions are immense.
Like Jenny, many feel strongly about monogamy and commitment, and so they should! An intimate relationship is between two individuals and a third party can only cause confusion, distrust, betrayal and hurt.
A commitment is the equivalent of a promise or a pledge. And going back on it is tantamount to breaking your word to someone. It is obviously not for those who think that variety is the spice of life, because being monogamous implies being committed to one person or married to one person, forsaking all others. It isn’t simple but neither is it impossible. And yes, it is absolutely vital, to any relationship.
Everyone enters into a relationship with expectations. The expectation of commitment – complete and total – is one of the basic ones. For without commitment you are never sure where you stand with the other person. Very often, individuals in a relationship have expectations of each other. Some are lofty and unrealistic, but expecting a monogamous relationship, whether dating, engaged or married is the most fundamental one.
There are certain parameters that must always be established in a relationship and the ability to trust and commit to each other is crucial. Your partner may lavish luxuries on you and treat you like a queen, but if he thinks it's ok to cheat on you or see someone on the side as long as you don’t know about it, the relationship is obviously doomed from the word go.


In a marriage, compromise is important, but the one area that leaves no scope for compromise is fidelity. It’s all or nothing. Once there are commitment issues and a breakdown of trust it is very difficult to wipe the slate clean and start over with the same person. The affected party also finds it very difficult to trust again in other relationships and is forever affected by this aberration.If it happens to you, what would your approach be? Think about the following:
• How strongly do you still feel about your partner despite him/her letting you down?
• Is your relationship worth fighting for and salvaging?
• Are there children involved?
• Can you truly forgive? And can you forget?
There’s no point forgiving but constantly bringing it up and holding it over your partner’s head is extremely unhealthy in the long run. If you have decided to forgive, then:
• Communicate
• Analyze the reasons for straying/cheating/infidelity
• Seek help or go into therapy
Finally, without rubbing it again and again do ensure that your partner realizes your magnanimity in taking him/her back. Do not let him/her think you are a pawn. Let them know in no uncertain terms that there is no such thing as a third chance!