In the previous article, we discussed why it is hugely hypocritical to say that humans are monogamous and that monogamy is the only ethical form of relationships, and why we should consider replacing fidelity with a new concept, one that’s more permissive in some cases and provides more of a safety net for couples in other cases. This is how we reached the idea of commitment.
So, what is the difference between fidelity and commitment? The former is more about the physical side of things, built on the old-fashioned paradigm that women are like precious jewellery that must be kept in a safe and must be protected from bringing “an outsider ” into the family. Infidelity or adultery is the most horrible thing that can happen to a man or a woman! If one is unable to stay loyal to his/her partner after the sharing of the wedding vows “’til death do us part”, or if one feels desire for another man or woman, then not only the relationship but that person himself/herself is faulty, corrupt, and guilty! Can you see now why this way of thinking is centred around expectations and punishments?
Commitment, on the other hand, is about the following: even though I recognize that we both have physical needs, ones whose fulfillment for you I don’t want to restrict, I still count on you to be by my side in difficult times, to provide support and help, to share our burdens together, and to communicate openly, in order for us to become the best possible team, in which instead of exploiting or suppressing each other, we openly, and with full support, set each other free.
The traditional concept of loyalty reminds me of the cold war: although both sides want to take steps, neither ends up doing anything, in order to keep the other in a sort of moral check with the concept of – or, rather, with the perception of – loyalty. We try to impose social, religious, and moral restrictions so as not to lose each other, instead of giving love, happiness, and certain “benefits”.
“Who will not change a raven for a dove? – asks Lysander in Shakespeare’s Midsummer night’s dream. Everyone wants to live in a relationship that is the best for them. What would it be like, if instead of the blames, punishments, and promises , you’d make your own relationship the best it can possible be, so that not only you have no reason to fear that your partner might leave you, you’d make sure – by openly communicating, by constantly improving your relationship, and by setting each other free (!) – that he/she never feels the need to?
A little bird needs no cage if it prefers to stay by your side. But what about jealousy?