Posts Tagged ‘commitment’

Why do couples stay together (or break up)?

May 20, 2014
  • (This is a continuation of the prior post.)
    Why do couples stay together (or break up)? It is simple enough.When two people perceive a powerful future advantage to being together (like remarkably attractive rewards plus unusually low risk), then they stay together quite consistently. Otherwise, the percentage of “break-ups” goes up as the perceived attraction of other options rises and/or perceived costs of staying together rise.

    It is the same kind of “formula” that is used in regard to moving to a new home or staying where one is. There is a natural tendency, in many cases, to “stay put.” That is due to the inertia of the inconvenience of making a change.

    “Staying put” is not the same as a fulfilling relationship. There can be tremendous grief and anxiety with “staying put.”

    Yes, one can “simply refuse to carry on sexually,” (which another authoer recently mentioned)- that may be true in some cases. However the “no problem” reference has no stated context. Is it “always” no problem for someone if their wife decides to go in to prostitution or porn? Extreme examples may be rare, but give context to the full spectrum of reality.

    In a recent post on Facebook, Hope (Johnson) said something about “a person who is a cheater,” if I recall correctly. (Or addressing the assertion that “all men are cheaters.”) What is evident is that many adults choose to interact sexually with multiple partners within their lifetime.
  • In certain cultures, even “serial monogamy” would be considered a capital crime (a valid reason to perform a ritual of human sacrifice on the accused). Further, anything but heterosexual interaction between married partners (who have been given the blessing of the warlord or priest) would also be cause for punishments as extreme as execution.

    It can be important to be attentive to the way that we use language. Are we atttempting to vilify someone to hide shame or guilt at the dissolving of an attraction? Are we calling them a “cheater” to persecute them and incite violence toward them? Are we enraged that they have insulted us by saying things like “I am open to having a more fulfilling realtionship than what I have been experiencing lately, whether that is with you or someone else?”

    To focus on the obvious, rage is a sign of interest. People do not rage over matters (or over people) that are deemed irrelevant.
  • As socialist and communist governments provide more “universal” support for people, naturally the importance of personal bonds declines. “I do not really need you because I have the support of the Empire to sustain me. You could die. The Empire is more reliable than you! I need to maintain my relationship with The Empire in preference to you because that is what is best for me/ the children.”

    So, I do not know the exact background of how “cheaters” came up. The more basic issue is two people coupling, then perhaps staying together, and perhaps eventually withdrawing from each other (for whatever reason).

    Those who are anxious that their current partner might leave have two basic options: take action to potentially increase your partner’s commitment (whether by increasing their attraction to you or increasing their cost of leaving) and take action to increase one’s own independence (so the sustaining of the relationship is less of a point of anxiety). All of that can be done simultaneously.


attraction, commitment, & jealousy

May 20, 2014

Hope Johnson wrote:

Commitment to monogamous relationship isn’t meant to be about time – it’s only meant to last as long as both partners value this form of relating with one another.

If there’s a “cheater” in the relationship, no problem. The one who still values commitment, can simply refuse to carry on sexually with the one who doesn’t.

JR adds:

Organisms may have the capacity for sexual activity, as well as for the emotion of jealousy and rage and guilt and resentment and so on. Much that is called “commitment” is based on a concern for social acceptance (anxiety).

Whenever anxiety is the source of a commitment, then the subsiding of that anxiety might tend to reduce or dissolve the “commitment.” So, co-dependency is when two partners come together to maintain a mutual state of anxiety and call it “mutual commitment.”

Completely distinct from all of that is attraction and love. When attraction is strong enough, then commitment may be simply not an issue to the couple (unless raised by interested parties such as parents and grandparents etc). People who are strongly attracted may take actions without being driven by anxiety or guilt, and then the actions have consequences and people experience the consequences, sometimes making “adaptive” commitments (like if a pregnancy results).


I was telling a story today of a situation in 2009 when an ex of mine (who I had not been with for years) got upset when a friend of hers started a relationship with me. Only today, I learned something new about how that was an issue for her- just as I was talking to an interested and neutral listener.

When my ex observed a person (that she considered intelligent) to be interested in me, that triggered my ex. Soon, at no surprise to me, (but quite a surprise who only knew of my ex’s repulsion toward me) my ex pursued me romantically.

Why was she so upset by her friend’s interest in me? Because for some people, attraction can be very powerful and even disorienting or disturbing (like in the case of stalkers and so forth- who can experience intense emotional disturbances relating to attraction).

If my ex did not want to experience attraction to me, then even a male friend of hers speaking about me without condemnation might have upset her. The mere mention of a name can spark intense conflicts of emotion- with the compensatory repulsion (and anxiety/ panic) being proportional to the attraction.

Because my ex still “had strong feelings” (attraction) toward me, she voiced intense repulsion toward me (frustration, resentment, animosity, etc). Further, with her strong feelings buried under a perhaps shallow layer of tension, as soon as a friend of hers got involved with me, that really felt like a threat to her- even though my ex and I had not been in a relationship with each other for years.

I understand that interpretation of the behaviors of my ex and think “wow, that was really intense for her. She was attracted but also terrified!”

Her patterns of action- which seemed rather contradictory and perplexing at times- fit perfectly with the actual conflicted emotions that she was experiencing. As her emotions shifted, so did her behaviors.

Life makes sense. Humans may or may not perceive accurately the various elements of the order of life. However little or much I perceive accurately, life still has made sense all along and will continue to do so.

A Radically Functional Approach to Gratitude, Fear, and Commitment

April 11, 2013

Gratitude, Fear, and Commitment




gratitude. =)

gratitude. =) (Photo credit: camerakarrie)




Dangerous Risk Adrenaline Suicide by Fear of F...

Dangerous Risk Adrenaline Suicide by Fear of Falling (Photo credit:




Fear is normal and functional. We can be grateful for it. 




Further, if we fear the function of fear, that is quite ironic. That is the functioning of fear being terrified of itself. So, we can also be grateful for the ability to perceive the extreme irony of fearing fear, of that pattern of terrified paranoia or phobia or hysteria or shame.






Now, gratitude is not instead of fear. Gratitude is not to prevent fear or fix it. Gratitude is completely distinct from fear. With or without fear, we can be grateful.





Gratitude (Photo credit: ally213)


Next, fear can lead to commitment. Fear is a state of alertness that shifts the focus of attention. Fear can be paralyzing or compulsive, or it can be invigorating or alarming or disturbing. Fear can precede the arising of an insight as well as of courage.




Fear interrupts a prior pattern of attention. That is the function of fear. We can later determine that an arising of fear was somehow presumptive, like an over-reaction. That may be much better than naive or “under-reactive” or even numbness.




No Shame, No Fear

No Shame, No Fear (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




So one stage of functionality is the capacity to fear. The absence of the capacity to fear is an extremely low level of functioning. We could make analogies of the inability to fear as a numbness or blindness or deafness. We could say “they have the eyes to see, yet they do not see. Their eyes are shut. They mouth the repeating of words, but their hearts are frozen, paralyzed, terrified, ashamed.”




To suppress fear or shame people in to shutting down their capacity to experience fear is also rather common. We can be grateful that sometimes social pressures are so extreme that we come to fear the display of fear. We may suppress the signs of fear so that we can avoid dangers that may be attracted by the display of fear. 




We can be grateful for all instances of fearing, even for the fearing of fear. We can be especially grateful that fear can remind us of what we value, that fear can shift our focus to what commitments and values are operating through the fear.



If I fear the loss of something, than I must be committed to preserving it, right? If I fear the arising of some possible development, again there must be some gratitude and commitment and value operating in the background, right?



Scared child

Scared child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




An anti-fear culture is a culture of hysteria and paranoia and shame (of extreme fear). A pro-gratitude culture can embrace fear, including embracing the anti-fear fear and all of the misery and agonizing that goes with it: “how can I prevent people from seeing my fear? How can I inhibit my capacity to be scared or alerted or alarmed? How can I achieve numbness?”



Gratitude can recognize the commitment even in all of that. Gratitude is about recognizing what we value.



Beware of those who would train you to fear gratitude. Their shame is extreme. Their blindness is total.



They may even say “the ego should not exist.” What a funny thing to say! Or, perhaps they were just joking all along…. 😉





gratitude (Photo credit: nathalie booth)



English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

English: Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)












Are women attracted to men that they trust? Or, do they trust men they are attracted to?

April 3, 2013

attractive woman


Yes, but…

Different qualities are attractive in different ways (to different people). To me there is an implicit shaming or disrespect in the idea of criticizing someone for “waiting for their existence to be validated.”

Without any shaming, I can say that some women (like Janet Reno, for instance) are so goal-oriented (and in relation to certain specific goals) that such a tenacious focus could be quite repulsive to me in regard to being a romantic partner (though I might find the same quality appealing in an employee – of whatever sex). Other women might be so far to an other extreme that it would also be repulsive.


, *1938-07-21, 78th Attorney General of the Un...

Janet Reno, the 78th Attorney General of the United States (1993–2001) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I can say, again without any shaming, that a woman who resents others simply for not validating her can be quite repulsive (including as an employee), but it is all a matter of degree. One of my subcontractors (a woman) called me yesterday in frustration over some tasks that she was completing. It is far more functional for her to express frustration (and request validation and clarification) than for her to get frustrated and be quietly resentful (and unproductive). I gave her some extra training and told her something like this: “the faster that you can be frustrated enough with something that is not working that then you stop being frustrated and relax enough to stop doing something that is not working, the faster that you stop doing something that is not working, which is good for productivity and for peace of mind.”

Anyway, as for attraction, here is a secret about attracting men. Some men are already attracted to women. In other words, no matter what a woman does or does not do, she will be attractive to some men. Women who are very timid will not be as attractive to as many men. Women who are very aggressive/assertive will not be as attractive to as many men. But all men are attracted at least a little to all women.


English: Official White House photo of Preside...

English: Official White House photo of President Bill Clinton, President of the United States. Русский: Президент США Билл Клинтон,официальное фото Белого Дома. Ελληνικά: Επίσημη φωτογραφία Λευκού Οίκου του Προέδρου Μπιλ Κλίντον, Προέδρου των ΗΠΑ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Women tend to be much more focused in their romantic interest than men- much more exclusive. It can be useful to think of men not as especially exclusive in their experience of attraction, but just as committed or not. A man who is committed to a particular woman will still be attracted to other women, but will have no exclusive commitment toward them. Obviously, the more attracted that a man is toward a woman, the more likely there is to be a commitment to her from him.


So, if a man says he is not at all attracted to any other women but one, do you really trust that? However if he says “I promise to be exclusive with you,” can you trust that? Can you trust that even though he may be very attracted to other women, he will honor his commitment to you?


Some men may be committed to a woman, but not exclusively in regard to sexual activity. There are different forms of commitment. Many people found the “sexual indiscretions” of US President Bill Clinton to be very shocking and disturbing. Other people simply recognized that his commitment to his wife was exclusive only in regard to family (procreation), but not in regard to sex.


A man can be committed to all of his children, right? If a man has multiple wives (as is now common in many parts of the western world), can he be committed to his ex-wife (or ex-wives) in a certain way, to his current wife in a certain way, and to each of his children in distinct ways (like depending on whether they are infants or adults or what)?


Note also that many gay men have children (and ex-wives). In many societies, there is so much shame around the issue of having sex with a different woman than one’s first wife that many men suppress their natural desire for women by selecting male sexual partners. That way, they only have children with one woman. In a strange way, those men are staying committed to the mother of their children by avoiding sex with any other women.








English: Woman beggar, Guanajuato, Mexico Espa...

English: Woman beggar, Guanajuato, Mexico Español: Mujer pordiosera, Guanajuato, México. Français : Une mendiante, à Guanajuato, au Mexique. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


English: An ethnic Wife of Dhaneshwaran from t...

English: An ethnic Wife of Dhaneshwaran from the Kutia Kondh tribal group in Orissa, India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



creating freedom (through courage and curiosity)

April 14, 2012

Curiosity brings clarity, then courage, then creation, which is freedom.

Freedom is something to exercise from within, not something to eventually get from without. Freedom is fundamentally not something to be delivered by another- not by a release from confinement, debt, or other obligation, not by the acknowledgment and protections of a social authority, and not by collaborating with others to establish a revolution or new order. All of those are secondary and may or may not arise from the exercising of freedom. Freedom is already present and available to be practiced and developed- always.

The essential freedom is what is traditionally called freedom of thought. Ultimately, freedom of action is a conceptual impossibility. One may be free to do some specific action, but one is not free to do all actions. One might be able to go either east or west, but can one go in both directions at once?

In contrast to action, which is fundamentally limited by circumstance, one is free to explore any thought whatsoever. Through exploring freedom of thought, practicing this freedom and developing this freedom, then certain actions may be recognized as relevant, including actions that one may have never considered before.

This stage of freedom of thought is the stage of the transition from curiosity to clarity. When a particular action is clearly relevant, then courage is possible. We could also use the word commitment rather than courage, for no fear is required. However, when fear is present along with clarity, we can call that courage. So, courage is just one form of commitment. However, be clear that fear in no way cancels commitment.

In contrast, fear focuses attention toward a particular value or commitment. Fear is the same energy that, in the presence of clarity, manifests as courage.

Thus, when there is fear without the commitment of courage, that is a sign of a lack of clarity. Further, when there is a lack of clarity, that is a sign of a lack of curiosity. There is never an absence of curiosity, just a relative degree of curiosity for various possible priorities. When curiosity is concentrated and refined to the point of clarity, only then is commitment or courage possible.

Finally, in the presence of courage (or any other form of commitment), action arises. The activity that arises is a creative action. In fact, all action is creative, from every word to every movement. Actions that may be called destructive, such as dis-assembling some composite into pieces, are not literally destructive.

What is sometimes called destruction is actually conversion. For instance, the burning of wood does not destroy the wood so much as convert it into heat and light and smoke and ashes. However, it is also valid to use the term destruction when referencing an instance of converting something from one thing into another.

Just be clear that all forms are temporary. Change is the way of life. Be curious about change and soon change will manifest through you in harmony both with circumstances (which is the outward manifestation nature) and with your inner nature- a harmonizing or partnering of outer circumstances and one’s inner condition.

Your inner nature is creation, which arises naturally from curiosity, then clarity, and then courage. Circumstances develop in consequence of the manifesting of your inner nature, which is creation (creativity). Rather than focus on changing outward circumstances, also called reform as in reacting against circumstances, like in opposition or protest to one or more emerging circumstances, one may be curious as to the manifesting of one’s inner nature outward, that is, creating. The eternal process of creating, which has already been and which continues always, is the way of freedom, the tao of freedom, the expression of freedom, the development of freedom, the creating of freedom.

J.R. Fibonacci is a specialist in freedom of thought and the booming practical issue of financial freedom.

Published on: May 26, 2010

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