Two people in a relationship will have a smoother go of it, if the level of their mutual commitment is close to being equally shared. This paradigm applies whether their commitment is mutually high or mutually low.
Conflict occurs most often where there is disparity in commitment ranges. The wider the chasm, the deeper the conflict.
For ease of explanation here, I’m confining my thoughts as they pertain to romantic relationships, even though others are similarly affected, including relationships between friends, family members and co-workers.
On a scale from 1 to 10, (1 being the lowest level of commitment and 10 being the highest), in an unequal coupling, the person with the lowest commitment level has the greater power and leverage in the relationship.
I define it as: “The person who cares the least, controls the relationship.” Anyone who’s been the HCP, (Higher Committed Person) in a relationship with an LCP, (Lower Committed Person), is acutely familiar with the anxiety such a partnering produces.
Two coupled LCPs won’t have a fabulous relationship, but at least they are unitedly uncommitted to their shallow venture. If they manage to meet a reasonable amount of each other’s needs, they might indeed survive for the long term.
A couple with two HCPs offers optimal opportunities for an adventurous journey and has a stable foundation cementing them. Keep in mind that coupling is complex regardless of commitment levels – which is the single aspect I’m addressing today.
LCPs tend toward being the most important person in their own world. Their needs and desires are placed above their partner’s. You will find narcissists and all manners of addicts in this group. LCPs keep an R (relationship) on shaky ground with their lack of C (commitment).
HCPs typically respond by taking ownership of the responsibility for keeping the relationship together.
HCPs, (like I can be), are beholden to their own array of issues, specifically co-dependency. They have needs to “fix things” and “take care” of situations. LCPs have significant advantages up front when paired with an unwitting HCP.
Immature HCPs continually scramble in their attempt to appease the wants and demands of their LCP partner. When LCPs’ needs and wants are not fulfilled to their satisfaction, their ongoing threats to end the relationship, keep the HCP’s jumping through an exhausting maze of hoops. It’s an appeasement roulette of sorts – with the HCP never ceasing to anticipate the Damocles sword that threatens them – the ultimate end of the R. In an LCP’s mind, their HCP consistently fails to measure up.
Being an HCP is generally a positive personality marker, unless immature or unhealthy tendencies are fueling it. HCP’s can be motivated by fear of abandonment and a desire to be loved even at significant personal cost. LCP’s gravitate to HCPs. HCPs who link up with LCPs, at least initially, are prone to dismissing a multitude of red flags, probably for a variety of reasons.
I’m not sure who said: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”, but they’ve no argument from me. I’m still an HCP and grateful for it. However, it’s taken me decades to reach the healthy side of the spectrum.
When I was in my twenty’s and thirty’s, I was not quick to pick up on LCP’s. I believed I was fairly average and normal relationship wise and that other folks loved and committed to similar extents that I do. I was wrong.
I’ve cried untold tears over LCPs who have passed through my life, all the while believing I was never enough, always less than I should have been. By Grace I’ve grown beyond that. Today I have greater joy and contentment in my current circumstances than I’ve known during any single segment of my life.
I read on the fly recently, (and regrettably cannot quote the source at the moment), that it’s “more important to be resilient than happy”. I instantly knew that statement applied to me. Those seven little words connected the dots for me. Despite being in less than optimal situations in certain past relationships – I had indeed stumbled across the “burning bridge”, having arrived on the other side being all the better off for my ordeal.
I pondered the word resilience several days following that revelation. I liked having such a wonderful word so succinctly describe what I’d become. If you’re resilient, there’s little need for concern about being happy, as contentment follows resilience … and joy and happiness follows contentment.
We’re unhappy when we believe we’re existing in a state of lack: albeit financial, emotional or relational. Today I find myself instinctively drawn to resilient people. Gratefully, my LCP radar has adapted accordingly. I’m still willing to have LCPs as acquaintances or to embrace them as “outer circle friends”, but there is no longer room for LCPs in my “inner circle”. Currently when I meet LCPs, I metaphorically smile and wave while granting them a wide berth.
Admittedly I have personal flaws – at least a midsize list of them. I also have worth and value no one can steal from me. Nothing at all, not one single thing about me is perfect on its own. Yet, as a “package” deal, I know unequivocally I’m worth having: as a daughter, sister, friend, partner and lover.
I openly acknowledge that I’ve remained in certain relationships long after my best interests were exceeded. I used to be remorseful about my inability to resolve those connections in what I viewed as a timely fashion.
Now finally, I see the “gift” that’s arisen from the upheaval. I accept that nothing acquires resilience without resistance pushing against it – not the mighty oak and not me. As much as I wish I could have altogether avoided the LCPs I’ve known, the fact is, without them I would be far less emotionally empowered today. Not all lessons come to me easily. I’m reconciled with that. If it took me twenty years to discern the above realization, then so be it.
Did you know the word “amen” means “so be it”? I have many AMENS in my history!
© 2012, Savannah Walters / All Rights Reserved