Courtesy of Post Secret this week.
The concept of commitment is a fantastic utility for women. Men can be simultaneously shamed for not sticking to a commitment that benefits them and still be shamed for steadfastly adhering to a commitment that doesn’t. The social convention is so developed there’s even a cute term for it – “commitment-phobic” or “commit-o-phobe”.
There’s an interesting control of the message here; the principle of commitment is cast in feminine-centric perfection. The idea is that commitment should only have meaning in a feminine defined reality. Ironically, it’s Men who commit far more readily to ideals, family, military, business ventures or partnerships, and servitude than women have the capacity to appreciate, because recognizing this doesn’t serve their imperative. In other words, a commitment to anything that doesn’t directly benefit the feminine isn’t commitment; answer? Redefine commitment to reflect feminine interests.
Whenever I get into these debates about infidelity (albeit usually from the male perspective), and it becomes an immoral / amoral / moralist ménage à trois, I wonder, what is the greater “moral” imperative; to remain faithful to your morally obligated commitment with your spouse in spite of a loveless, passionless, sexless partner, or to break that commitment in order to pursue the obligation and commitment you owe yourself as a “superior” Man deserving of a better “quality” partner?
What has moral priority, a commitment to yourself or a commitment to marriage? You see it’s easy to wave the flag of self-righteousness when the issue is a right vs. wrong issue. It’s much more difficult when the question is right vs. right. I have no doubt that all the answers to this will be entirely circumstantial, rationalized twisting in the wind, and maybe that’s what decides for you, but think about it for a moment in the terms of what one must sacrifice for the other.
Whatever you cannot say No to is your master and makes you its slave.
This is a favorite go-to trope for moral arguments where there’s a clearly defined right and wrong, however, by this definition then, does not commitment make you a ‘slave’ by default? If by the circumstances of a commitment you cannot, figuratively, say “no” to the that (or due to that) commitment, are you not then a slave?
You can even take marriage out of the equation; if I’m in a committed LTR with a GF and over the course of that relationship I realize that she’s not what I’m looking for (for any number of reasons, not just sex), even though she’s 100% faithfully committed to me and the LTR, should I then break that commitment? If I do, am I then being unethical for having broken that commitment irrespective of how I break it? Should the commitment to my own personal well being and future happiness be compromised by another commitment?
What’s my obligation; neglect myself in favor of a bad commitment or to the principle of commitment itself?
It’s my take that commitment ‘should’ be a function of genuine desire. Ideally, commitment should be to something one is so passionate about that the limiting of one’s own future opportunities that come from that commitment is an equitable, and mutually appreciated trade. This is unfortunately rarely the case for most people in any form of commitment because people, circumstance, opportunity and conditions are always in flux. A commitment that had been seen as equitable sacrifice at one time can become debilitating 5 years after depending upon circumstance.
So what I’m getting at is where do you draw the line? People go all kinds of crazy when I suggest a guy NEXT some girl that’s obviously showing all of the indications that she’s using him (or has proven so) and then two comments down suggest that it’s Men’s obligation to vet women by “walking away.” If I have one life to live and one precious lifetime to do it in, what is more important; a commitment to oneself in learning and securing the best options for a lifetime or being committed to the principle of self-sacrificing commitment?
In the community we brazenly tell freshmen chumps to dedicate themselves to self-improvement; to seek out and accomplish what’s best for them – in other words, to uncompromisingly commit themselves to their own cause in as positive a manner as possible. I’d argue that genuine desire is a necessary precursor to this, but in advocating this self-concerned improvement, are we not then doing them a disservice if their duty ought to be focused on the principle of commitment, even when that commitment is (or becomes) deleterious to their commitment to a positive self? What holds more water, being a martyr to chivalrous commitment, or a steadfast dedication to ourselves? Should we not then hold AFCs in the highest respect when they selflessly sacrifice their futures due to their devoted commitment to a ONEitis girl who’ll never reciprocate on, much less appreciate, that commitment? We’d call them chumps, but in contrast to their devotion to the principle of commitment, maybe they’ve got it right? You can’t doubt their (albeit misguided) dedication to their convictions.