The word commitment is bandied around an awful lot, and fear of commitment is something that everyone talks about nowadays.
On the other hand, some people use the term far too lightly, not appreciating what it really means to be truly committed to someone.
If you’re in a relationship and you’re wondering whether or not the word ‘committed’ really and truly applies to it, you’ve come to the right place.
Committed relationships can take many forms. Every couple is totally free to establish their own rules when it comes to living arrangements or monogamy vs. non-monogamy.
However, the good news is that there are plenty of signs that you’re in a committed relationship that apply to pretty much anyone, wherever your boundaries lie and however your relationship works.
Here are just a few of them.
1. You spend a lot of time together.
Modern life is busy and we’ve always got a million and one things to do. So if you’re carving out significant chunks of time to spend with one specific person, that’s a pretty good indicator that you’re both committed to the relationship.
True, you can end up spending a lot of time together when you first meet and are both swept away by the thrill of the new and unknown, but if you keep spending a lot of time together once you’ve got to know each other, that’s a sign that the two of you are truly committed.
No one is going to dedicate significant periods of their limited free time to being with someone that they’re not serious about nurturing a relationship with.
2. You go on vacations together.
A mini-break can be arranged at short notice and is a good way of getting to know each other right at the beginning, but a full-on vacation that lasts for more than just a few days generally has to be arranged in advance.
Plus, you have to be pretty sure you like someone enough to want to spend all day with them for several days in a row.
You’re spending all that money because you want to have a good time and make memories, and you’re not going to waste your precious vacation time if the person you’re going with isn’t important to you.
A bonus of going on vacation together is that you see each other out of your comfort zones, which means that you get to know your partner even better.
3. You think of them in the supermarket.
If you’re in a committed relationship with someone, they’re probably pretty close to the front of your mind the majority of the time.
Some people don’t express their love through buying little things for the other person, and that’s absolutely fine, as they’ll have plenty of other little ways.
But, if you find yourself picking up stuff for them in the supermarket on a regular basis or buying them silly, tiny gifts you think they’ll love, or just picking up things you know they need, or they do the same for you, then this is serious.
4. You talk about the future.
Life is short, so if you’re making plans for the future that take the other person into account, it’s a very good sign that you’re in it for the long haul.
People don’t talk about these things lightly, aside from those first date jokes about what your children would be called.
Genuine discussion about what your future might look like is something that will only take place between two people who think they might have found their life partner.
5. You make sacrifices for each other.
Things that might seem like too big a favor to do for pretty much anyone else on the planet, except perhaps your mum, are perfectly natural for you to do for your partner.
In a committed relationship, it’s normal to do things for the other person that might inconvenience you without giving it a second thought.
Whether it’s giving them a lift, rearranging your plans, or just spending your precious time running an errand that they don’t have time to do, the fact that you’re willing to do these things for them and they for you is an excellent sign.
6. You tell them secrets.
Have you found yourself confiding things in them that very few people know about you? Do they know about your secret ambitions, or have you shared the skeletons in your family’s closet with them?
Have you shared painful memories from your childhood, or talked about how you’ve been hurt in previous relationships?
Being prepared to be vulnerable in front of the one you love is a definite sign that you’re planning to be in this thing long term.
7. You never run out of things to talk about.
Do you ever feel like there just isn’t time to discuss all of the things you want to? At the end of a day when you haven’t spoken to them, do you have a million and one updates for them?
You’re fascinated by each other’s minds and have long, in-depth conversations that mean you lose track of time. If you weren’t committed to each other, you wouldn’t be investing that kind of time or mental energy.
Two people that are committed to each other don’t need to spend 24 hours a day in each other’s pockets.
They’re confident enough in the relationship that they don’t need to be together constantly, and they recognize that it’s important for both partners to maintain their social lives, friendship circles, and interests.
9. You can’t do enough for them.
If a romantic partner is truly important to you, it becomes the norm to constantly do small things for them.
You do as much as you can for them, but you still constantly feel like you’re not doing enough to show them just how much you love them.
10. You’re at the top of each other’s priority lists.
Whilst you both consciously make time to spend with your friends and family and don’t want to sacrifice those relationships, you still put each other first.
11. You make plans around the holidays.
Not everyone spends the festive season (or other holidays) with their family, but if you or your partner have traditions with family or old friends and yet still express willingness to change those plans to spend time together, then you definitely don’t have any worries on the commitment front.
12. You’re a ‘we’.
The language we use automatically, without thinking, is extremely indicative of our feelings.
If you hear your partner referring to you as a unit, or you find yourself assuming that he or she is included in an invitation because in your mind you come as a package, that’s a good sign that the two of you are a team.
But What Does Commitment Really Mean?
Whilst some people might view commitment negatively or be scared of it, building a committed relationship with another human being can be a beautiful thing.
But when it’s new, it can all be a little overwhelming.
We’ve established the signs of a committed relationship, but what does that actually mean?
If this is new territory for you, you might well be unsure about how that commitment to another person might manifest in your life, and what implications it has for the two of you.
How might being in a committed relationship change your life?
The world no longer revolves around just you. From now on, and perhaps even for the rest of your life, decisions you make, whether big or seemingly small, could potentially affect someone else.
That’s a big responsibility, and something that requires a mature mind that’s able to look beyond its own selfish needs.
That’s one very good reason why many people advise against getting into a committed relationship whilst you’re still very young, and before you’ve had a chance to mature.
2. You value your partner’s needs as equal to your own.
In a committed relationship, you come to view your partner’s needs as being just as important as yours. If the relationship is healthy, there should be no hierarchy between you, and complete respect.
3. Compromise becomes the norm.
When you’re single, compromise isn’t really a big part of life. But when there are two of you involved, you can’t always have your way.
Chances are you’ll agree on a lot of things, but there will also be many things on which you differ. In a committed relationship, you’ll soon find that figuring out a happy medium becomes the new way you do things.
4. They become your best friend.
When you’re spending that much time with someone and getting such an insight into their psyche, it’s pretty much impossible for them not to become your new best friend, as well as your lover and partner.
They become your confidante, your advisor, and your shoulder to cry on.
5. You become each other’s family.
As things keep progressing, you start to see each other as family, on top of everything else.
You’re so integral to each other’s lives that, just like family, you can’t imagine a world without them, even when they do inevitably frustrate you.
Their family becomes your family, and your family becomes theirs, and you accept, bond with or, sometimes, have to put up with their loved ones for their sake.
6. You fight, but you know it’s all okay.
Being committed to someone and knowing that they’re committed to you means that you can air your frustrations and disagree with them without being worried that it means your relationship is doomed.
Every couple has arguments, but it’s the strong, truly committed couples who know that those arguments mean nothing compared to the love they have for one another.
Katie splits her time between writing and translation. She writes about travel and self-care and never stays in one place for too long. She’s currently based in beautiful Cornwall, England, after long stints in Brazil and Mexico. She spends her free time trail running, exploring and devouring vegan food.