With the wedding season now in full swing, many people in Nottinghamshire will be contemplating whether it is time to take their own relationship to the next level. Whether this means tying the knot, moving in together or simply choosing not to date other people, it all comes down to one three syllable word: commitment.
For some couples, commitment is just something that happens naturally, but for others, fears about commitment can lead to feelings of anxiety and even drive a wedge between them. Of 238 people who took part in a ‘commitment quiz’ on Relate’s website, more than a third (34%)* listed ‘worrying that we may get bored of each other’ as their biggest fear about taking the next commitment step. Nearly as many people were most worried about ‘having more rows and arguments’ (28%), with ‘losing freedom and making things permanent’ being less of a concern (19%).
Relate Counsellor Alison Towner at Relate Nottinghamshire said: “It’s completely normal to have fears about commitment and chances are your partner may be having them too. Boredom is a very common fear but you can keep your relationship alive with regular date or activity nights, outside interests, and not taking each other for granted.
“Commitment can mean different things to different people and talking to your partner about your fears and needs can help to avoid disappointment and misunderstanding further down the line. This doesn’t mean putting pressure on them in any way but rather being open and honest about what you both expect from a relationship.”
Avoid commitment woes – Relate’s top commitment conversation starters
- What do you both mean by ‘commitment’? A basic understanding of what you want in a relationship and what your boundaries are is an important place to start.
- When’s the best time to talk? When it comes to talking to each other, is your partner a morning person or an evening person? How about you? Try to keep important conversations for times that naturally suit you both. Your relationship will thrive if you aim to grow in your ability to share with each other, and work on developing good listening skills.
- Your views on money and finance. Where you each stand on spending can cause major conflict later on if it isn’t properly discussed. Do you like to save whereas they’re happy splashing out a bit? Unsure of whether or not to get a joint account? Tackling these issues early can help avoid nasty rows.
- How you spend your time. How much time do you want to spend together and apart? You may assume your partner is happy spending every waking minute with you, but they may have different ideas. Talking about how much space you each need can help avoid resentment or misunderstanding.
- Are you ready to take the next step? The fact that all your friends have started to move in together isn’t a reason to do it yourself. You should only move forward with the relationship if you’re both happy to do so.
- Relationships over time. Having a good understanding of your partner’s needs, fears and expectations can help you to build a strong and fulfilling relationship that stands the test of time. Why not take a moment to tell your partner which of their qualities you most admire. Small, thoughtful comments have a big impact.