What determines our future is what we do now.
What we do is set by the decisions we make or fail to make.
Our financial future is determined by the career decisions and spending or investing decisions we make.
Our future health is determined by the decisions we make about our sleep, the exercise we take and the food we eat.
Likewise, the decisions we make about our relationships determine the quality of our future relationships.
The big problem is that most people operate from default mode because they fail to make decisions. Let me explain.
Indecision creates confusion
Most people find dating frustrating.
Here’s what they do…
They decide to find someone. Maybe they think about it for months before downloading an app or maybe they go straight into it.
They write whatever comes into their head on their profile, upload a picture that’s handy and start swiping or messaging whoever they find attractive.
Maybe they have a couple of interesting conversations and maybe even date. Or perhaps they get rejected or get a shitty message and it knocks their confidence.
What typically happens is that sooner or later people’s feelings get hurt while dating. They get hurt because they get rejected. Either by not getting responses, or by getting ghosted or dumped further down the line. And often it will make people give up for a while.
The cause of dating pain can be summed up in one word…
The word decide comes from two words – cut or kill off.
Cide means to cut or kill. This is why suicide, homicide, genocide, patricide and so on all end in cide.
It means to literally kill off choices.
A true decision is like the myth of Aenas and later Hernan Cortes who to motivate their army burned their ships. It is why armies kill Deserters. Because they want everyone fully in.
Decision-making takes a lot of effort.
It means focused attention. And we only have so much attentional energy. So we can only make so many decisions in a day.
I am terrible at making decisions. In Myers-Briggs terminology, I am a Perceiver, which is another term for saying I like options.
This makes me good at solving problems because I can see lots of possible routes to try, but I waste lots of times in not wanting to cut out choices.
When Barack Obama became President of the United States he bought a wardrobe of the same suits. Mark Zuckerburg also has a wardrobe of the same t-shirts and jeans. Steve Jobs always wore a black turtleneck sweater.
This means that they never have to wonder what to wear. They are saving their decision making energy for the big decisions.
People who stick to an exercise routine know when they are going. They have their kit ready. They have made the decision and so they don’t have to keep re-making the same decisions.
People who don’t stick to an exercise routine wait and see how they feel. They then feel too tired or too busy and so they skip the workout.
People who want to diet, but still have the odd treat find dieting harder because they have to keep deciding where the line is. Does the line change when they’re really hungry or stressed?
5% of the perfect action > 100% imperfect action
I vehemently believe that there is a right and wrong approach to relationships, but even I have to admit that the wrong action followed persistently and determinedly is better than the perfect approach carried out with 5% energy and conviction.
Any approach to dating and relationships will bring results if it interacts with enough people.
Equally, any can fail without coming into contact with enough people.
In a relationship you are 99% committed to, there is doubt.
Where there is any doubt, tests and challenges can wedge in to grow the gap. Dissatisfaction leads to wondering if the grass is any greener. This for many couples leads to infidelity and dissatisfaction and likely divorce. Certainly a less than happy relationship.
100% commitment leads to dedication to find solutions when times are tough. It removes temptations by taking away options and so with certainty there is less to think about. All focus is on resolving problems.
When you are dating 99% commitment means it is dependent on your mood and what FatPhil235 said in his foul message.
When you are 100% in, you ignore the message because your eyes are on the main prize.
John Gottman says that the average couple spends six years from when they know the relationship is over to pulling the trigger on it. That is six years of misery and anguish.
Likewise, the worst relationship pain is often people who waste years and sometimes decades on someone who will never commit to them. They hang around because they are afraid of giving up on someone who never committed to them.
The biggest pain in relationships is indecision. Whether it’s to leave a relationship. Or whether it’s after a breakup, trying desperately to hang on to a relationship that has gone.
commit to a decision
You have to decide and move on. Whether it’s the decision of whether you’re in the relationship or not.
Whether you’re dating or not.
Whether you’re going to be the best partner or wait and react to what your partner does first.
When you haven’t committed you are stuck in anguish, stress and doubt. Every setback, failure or rejection stings and so you constantly wonder what to do next and whether you should give up.
The same decision gets made a hundred times.
When you have committed you are clear, focused and determined.
Nothing even has to change in your circumstances for you to feel different. Just the fact that you have resolved what to do gives you power, energy and enthusiasm. And that can be enough for you to act on and create change in your situation.
Why Don’t We Commit Fully?
We don’t commit to a course of action because we don’t believe that we are going to achieve success. The irony is that we don’t achieve success because we don’t commit.
We don’t commit because fundamentally, we don’t think we’re good enough or worthy of success.
You cannot have a great and lasting relationship without commitment.
Yet, clearly there are times when it makes sense to leave a relationship you were committed to.
No-one should stay in an abusive relationship.
No-one should stay in a relationship that is detrimental to their health.
No-one should lose themselves or be diminished by a relationship.
No-one should feel they have to stay in a relationship where their partner lies, cheats or makes no effort with them.
I advocate that you should be slow to commit. Never because you feel great when you’re with someone. Some of the most damaging relationships I have seen people emerge from were those where they were initially love-bombed and believed they’d met their dream partner only for the next few years to become a nightmare of manipulation and abuse.
Commit because you believe in the person based on the deep understanding of them you have.
Commit, but with pre-set clauses. No-one makes any agreement without some clauses or conditions.
For example, you commit to the relationship until;
You have evidence the other person cheated
The person reneges on their agreements or demonstrates their lack of commitment to the relationship
This applies to all types of relationships.
Clarity around your boundaries removes decision fatigue and lets you focus on making progress.
the 5 commitments
Here are the 5 Commitments I believe are essential for you as a foundation to build a satisfying and sustainable relationship;
- I commit to build a relationship of equals, based on kindness, compassion and trust.
- I commit to learning what it takes to make a relationship work.
- I commit to take responsibility for my relationships.
- I commit to choosing a partner for the qualities that will lead to a great domestic relationship.
- I commit to being the quality of partner I expect.
Without these commitments, your efforts will be futile because you will be constantly over-thinking and second guessing everything you do.
With commitment comes clarity, power and energy.