The Commitment Gene

by Penelope Smallbone

After a brief hiatus from writing here (busy, felt down, uncreative, etc) I’m back!

Things are going well with Flowers. I guess we’ve been “dating” for a month now. Though I wouldn’t exactly call it dating since he works nights and I work days. So really it’s just a cuddle buddy on some late nights and a weekend friend. Things are really great physically, intellectually and emotionally. I really have no complaints…

Ok, maybe one. (you totally saw it coming) I can feel myself slipping back into the old regime. I know that I don’t want a serious relationship, but it’s like I can’t help it! I’m torn between my new aggressive self that says, “Ooh, I want to see Flowers, I’ll just call him and he will come over. Who cares if I just saw him yesterday!” and my [also somewhat new] self that knows better and says, “Yes, but you just saw him yesterday. You don’t want to spend ALL your time with this guy. Keep your priorities straight, woman!” And I really don’t. I still feel like I’m in a somewhat transitional phase to my new home and I’d rather focus on my friends and career before finding a lov-ah.

I have so many questions I don’t know where to start. Why do I feel this need to be committed? Why do I feel like it’s bad to be committed? Why is it easier to be in a defined relationship than to playfully string along a loose arrangement? Is it possible to teach oneself how to exist in a casual relationship, or is it in our nature to want, need, and be comfortable with something more?

Somebody once told me that I’m a relationship person. That I will probably never be happy bouncing around between different men because I’m a commitment person. Is this true? As a person raised with the notion of “free will” I have a hard time accepting the fact that I might not have any control over this issue. So after I meet someone I enjoy being with, how do I avoid the relationship trap? And I realize there are hundreds of women out there who would love to have this problem of voluntarily avoiding relationships… but I still feel like I spent so much time (5 years) devoting all of myself to one person that I’ve barely had enough time for myself yet. I’m going to need at least another three years before I can feel whole on my own and be ready to devote myself to someone again.

Incidentally… since I told Flowers that I am not interested in a serious/committed situation that requires a lot of my time he has totally backed off and given me space. I finally get exactly what I’ve been asking for, and who’s doing the calling every other night of the week? That’s correct. Me! I’ve set up an entire “playing hard to get” scheme against myself. How did THAT happen?!