This month has seen the return to our screens of the TV adaptation of Poldark. Based on the Cornish saga penned by Winston Graham in the 1940s, the drama tells the story of the passionate, sometimes rocky relationship between Ross and Demelza Poldark.
Graham always intended the Poldark saga to be a portrait of a successful marriage that despite the odds manages to survive all that life throws at it. While hopefully few of us will experience the traumas that face Ross and Demelza, there is little doubt that their commitment to keeping working at their relationship is what ultimately keeps them together.
Commitment is the key part of a relationship that provides safety and security, so that couples can express their thoughts, feelings, and desires openly. It offers couples a sense of being part of a team and a desire for a shared future. Sometimes though, as Ross and Demelza discover, partners can become uncertain about the level of commitment in their relationship
.Jenny Porter, relationship counsellor and Director of Client Services for Marriage Care shared some tips to consider if this happens in your relationship.
1.Start by identifying what your concern is about. What is your partner doing or not doing that is causing you to feel this way? This is really important because it may provide clues as to what needs addressing in the relationship.
2.Establish whether your commitment concerns are perception rather than reality. We can feel our partner isn’t as loving as we are, but sometimes this is just our own insecurity. Be honest with yourself; are you expecting too much from your partner or are your concerns valid?
3.Before you talk to each other, do be aware of your own relationship needs. Be clear about what you need in the relationship to feel secure and loved before you broach the subject and be open to hearing what your partner’s needs are too.
4.If it is early in the relationship are you being realistic? If you’ve only been dating for a couple of months it might not be the right time to start talking to your boyfriend/girlfriend about getting engaged or married.
5.Communication is key! Once you’ve established all of the above, it’s time to talk to your partner. It may be that they are unaware of your concerns – by talking it through with each other you can establish what each of you needs from the relationship and work on strengthening commitment together.
6.If your concern is about lack of intimacy, it may be that you need more than your partner does. Lots of couples do have differing libidos, in which case it is about finding a midway point that you can both feel happy with.
7.If you feel you are taking on all of the responsibility of the relationship, constantly trying to spark interest or evidence of commitment/love from your partner, this can leave you feeling exhausted and can sap your self-confidence. Again, communication is key. Explain your concerns to your partner and discuss what you believe needs to change.
8.If you feel your partner is not committed to spending enough time with you, then look critically at the time you both have available to spend together. Is it that your partner’s job is more demanding? Maybe he/she is involved in a hobby that takes up a lot of their time and you’re left feeling second best? In these instances, it may be about ‘if you can’t beat them join them’. Get involved too, if you can. Or if not, find something that you can enjoy. There is nothing worse than sitting waiting for your partner to come home.
9.Try to talk regularly and stay connected about your hopes and dreams. These topics are future-oriented; talking about the future can strengthen commitment.
10.Finally, remember that we can’t force another person to be ‘more committed’. We can try to address the issue and be proactive about doing things differently, but eventually we may have to accept that our partner isn’t either able or willing to show their love or commitment to us in a way we feel we need.