I have been reflecting on my past relationships over the last few days.
It’s been a reflective few months, with all the emotions I have felt. The grief of losing my mum and the joy of welcoming my granddaughter into the world. It’s been a lot, and it has catapulted me into this contemplative space—the raw emotions spinning from the present to the past.
Pondering. Ruminating. Nostalgic. Profound. Probing.
Remembering all the promises I made and all the promises made to me. All those words. Those meaningful, wistful, serious, and beautiful words that were vowed. That were so articulately expressed and presented with the desire of cultivating something more. Promises made in the moment, in the emotional space, and with the beliefs we hold at that time. So often a time we lack a true understanding of who we are and what we truly desire. But we are conditioned to make promises and accept promises because we so desperately want to live the fairy tale.
The harsh reality is there is no fairy tale. There is no promise that cannot be broken. All the vows and promises we make are built on a preconceived notion that there will be a happy ever after. Sometimes there is and sometimes there is not. But I’ll guarantee that even the happy ever afters endure broken promises.
I am a romantic at heart, but I am far more discerning these days as to who I let in. I don’t want to hear any promises and I won’t be promising anything.
Instead I will do these:
>> Commit to being completely vulnerable, open, and honest about how I feel. To never leave you wondering.
>> Commit to being my authentic self at all times. No masks. No bullsh*t. Just the truth about who I am and what I want.
>> Commit to respect your boundaries, and expect that you will respect mine. There’s a lot said and written about couples having full access to each other’s phone, computers, and so on, but here’s the thing: that should not be necessary if there’s trust. We are still two individuals. It’s a partnership, not ownership.
>> Commit to working on our relationship every day so we can learn and grow together.
>> Commit to continue working on myself because individual growth is important. Expect that you are willing to work on yourself because growth is important to you. Staying in the same space is never healthy.
>> Commit to being brave enough to step outside comfort zones. To always challenge myself and us to do better and be better.
>> Commit to showing you I love you through my actions, not just words. Not by buying gifts or material things but rather shared moments of laughter, intimacy, compassion, and kindness.
>> Commit to always being curious. Curious about life, myself, you, and our relationship. Curious to find new ways of doing things and new ways to experience each other.
>> Commit to never rug-sweeping or distracting myself from the tough stuff. Relationships don’t survive when issues are buried and the truth is hidden. It may not be comfortable, but issues need to be faced head-on with honesty and respect.
>> Commit to being courageous and always speaking my truth, even if that truth is hurtful. If things have changed and the relationship needs work, or we need to go our separate ways, then we speak our truth so we can move forward.
>> Commit to being affectionate and physically and emotionally intimate. I enjoy affection and intimacy; it’s important to me, so I will be open and honest about my desires and what I want. I will ask that you are as open and honest about your own. There is nothing more beautiful than balanced intimacy where both couples know how to meet each other’s needs and their own.
>> Commit to prioritising my own happiness and needs. For me, to be a good partner, I need to ensure my own cup is full. I’ll happily share my cup with you, but I won’t give you my cup and will expect you to bring your own cup to the table. I also won’t allow you to consistently drink from my cup, without pouring from your own equally.
>> Commit to creating a safe space for you to be your raw and messy self. I don’t want a facade. I don’t want a version of you. I want the real you, with all your darkness and light. I want the truth of who you are, no matter what that looks like.
>> Commit to our love being between us. I have no need to plaster my feelings about my partner on social media. We will know how we feel and have no need to validate our love publicly. If we need that, perhaps we should look at the insecurities driving that.
>> Commit to being independent with my own passions and encouraging you to do the same. Cherishing our time together is paramount, but having independence and space to pursue our individual pursuits is important. Knowing we love and want each other and spend quality time together is a gift. Expecting someone to spend all their time with you and create happiness for you is toxic and codependent.
>> Commit to letting go if things aren’t working. As hard and painful as it is, not everyone is meant to stay in our lives, and if going separate ways is the best thing, then doing so with love and grace will bring peace.
Promises are just empty words. I don’t want someone to vow to love and cherish me. To honour and be faithful to me. I want them to commit through their actions, through how they feel, and through what they want—every day. I don’t want a fairy tale; I want reality with all its rawness and, at times, ugliness.
I want the truth, and I want to hear the hard stuff. We are so preoccupied with promises and broken promises because we are too scared to be brutally honest with ourselves and our partner. We are too concerned about how others perceive us. How society judges us. We are too busy trying to live the life we think we are supposed to live, rather than the life our soul is crying out for. Being inauthentic will eventually destroy us.
We should want better than promises. A vow made at a particular stage in life—a moment in time—can never be relied upon. This notion of perfection is unhealthy. In some ways, a promise is worse than a lie, as it gives someone hope for something we’re not sure we can give.
Instead, I commit to you. I commit every day to be my most vulnerable, courageous, and honest self. I commit to never making promises that I cannot possibly know can be kept in five, 10, or 15 years. But you will always know exactly how I feel and exactly what I want. You will always know exactly how important you are to me.
If I love you, I will give myself to you—emotionally, physically, spiritually. I will give my whole being to you in the most spectacular of ways and commit myself to you, but I will promise you nothing because promises are just words and we deserve far better than just words.