Musings in the Dark: The Futility of Commitment


The Futility of Commitment

I haven’t done a post like this in quite some time, but it doesn’t mean that I haven’t had anything to say in regards to women and relationships.  There’s been a lot going on, and I’ve had the misfortune to be front row and center.

Relationships are hard.  Whether one is married or committed in another way, it’s damned hard, and having kids complicates matters exponentially.  Too many women I know have experienced the dissolution of their relationships within the past year, and the SO’s modus operandi appears to be the same:

“I don’t want this relationship anymore.”

“I’m tired of being married.”

“I need to go find my happiness elsewhere.”

“I’m ready to move on.”

And with each instance, the woman is devastated by the news.  For three of them, it was out of the blue, and for the fourth one…it’s been going on for a smooth eight years; he’s just been keeping her in limbo.

Nowadays, marriage doesn’t mean a fucking thing to some.  It’s like a pair of shoes that people try on, decide they like them enough to buy, and then throw out when the soles become worn.  Marriage vows are something that is steadily becoming meaningless. That whole “for better or for worse” is nothing but a load of horseshit.  Or at least that’s my opinion.  No one else seems to take them seriously.  Noob says that it isn’t the vows; it’s the people taking them.  I agree with that as well.

Relationships scare me.  I’ve had them before, but they never lasted more than six months…and that’s because I refuse to put up with certain things.  One might even extrapolate that I ended said connections before they could get too serious…and I wouldn’t disagree with that assessment either.  The point is that I don’t really believe that anyone is worth that kind of heartache.  You have to know yourself, and I know myself very well.  Had that been me on the receiving end of such news…it wouldn’t go well for the offending party.  My emotions are too strong, too powerful…even with the meds.  I can easily see myself pulling a Bernadine or doing irreparable harm to said offender.  At the very least, I would make sure that their leaving is costly.  I’ll get all methodical and devise a plan of action that will surely cause them all kinds of discomfort, if not pain. 

This is Bernadine.

I didn’t say this was right or even sane.  I’m just telling you what I know. 

To invest years in a relationship; to make a commitment before the eyes of God (or whomever you believe) or before the eyes of your loved ones is serious.  At least it is to me and to the people I know.  And to have your SO decide that they’re ready to move on after years and children who will clearly be affected by the dissolution is devastating, and the ripple effects go on for decades and may even be the start of generational curses.

A movie that I love, How to Make an American Quilt, deals with a flaky graduate student named Finn (played by Winona Rider) and her relationship issues.  She visits her hilarious grandmother and great aunt Hy and Glady Jo (Ellen Burstyn and Anne Bancroft) to finish her thesis and contemplate a marriage proposal.  Finn is a flighty, indecisive sort who has a hard time finishing things, and it’s frustrating but all too realistic watching her trying to figure things out with the help of her grandmother and aunt, and their friends, who are all part of a quilting bee.  A succinct summary of the film would be this:  “The theme of both the movie and the quilt the ladies are making is love and marriage and the question of whether monogamous lifelong marriage is a realistic goal.”  (Source:  imdB). 

One particular conversation that Finn has with one of the women is the realistic expectation of monogamy.  She uses the term “serial monogamy,” and it was a term that always stuck with me.  She says, “Why can’t we love as many people as we want in a lifetime, one at a time?”  My interpretation of this term is that instead of committing to one person for a lifetime, why not have a series of long-term relationships?  And when things end, the couple go their separate ways; no harm, no foul.  I’m of the fluctuating belief that serial monogamy might not be a bad way to go.  At least when things end, it’s mutual and you can avoid the straight-up assault on your heart when the relationship has run its course.  The problem with this is that it is (1) fluctuating, and I can’t always trust my emotions, and (2) these things are never cut and dry.  Love never is.  Commitment for damn sure isn’t.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t want to get caught up in a relationship that’s going to end in the way I described earlier.  The stupidity of this statement is twofold: (1) I don’t know what’s going to happen and (2) anything can happen at any time.  I could fall in love with the person of my dreams and lose them to sudden death.  I could die before ever experiencing the kind of love that hurts, which I’m told is worth it for the happiness it can produce.   I’m not sure how I feel about any of this shit.  I just know I’m tired of seeing my friends cry because they are completely heartbroken that their relationships failed.  I’m tired of them questioning themselves because their SOs might be selfish.  And I’m tired of seeing this scenario play out over and over again.

So I’m left with this to ponder:  Is the happiness worth the tears?  Do they balance each other out?  Nothing is perfect; no relationship is perfect and there are no guarantees for anything.  Still, I’m one of those people who don’t need to stick my hands in the fire to know it burns.

Am I crazy?  Probably.  Are these the disjointed ramblings of a stressed mind?  Absolutely.  But are these observations legitimate?  Yes.  And are they worth questioning?  I think so.  However, I don’t think there are any real least any that will satisfy me.  


  1. I've been pondering how to respond since you first posted this and all I can think is...why isn't this at the Black Girls' Club? Do you realize the conversation we could be having!!!???

    Because this isn't just some FYI post. This is a dialogue which really needs to be had.

  2. Hm, I don't know what to add, you said it all very well.
    I share some common points though in my case I've never had to touch the fire, and yes, from what I can see and hear, it hurts. And I'm more an avoidant and reserved person than someone who'll get into a violent rage.

    Your questions are interesting.
    Is happiness worth the tears?
    The tears, I don't want them...I've seen what it does to people in the long run and I'm still not ready for that.
    I don't think that having a man in my life is very important.
    And happiness can be anything you can find happiness in something else. I don't think I'm really missing out. I'm not even a "passionate" person so I don't crave "intense love" or "great happiness". Something in the middle is fine, I'm not fond of extreme feelings.

    Like you, I've been listening to my female friends' relationship troubles and it's sad. I have no regrets.

    I know that there's a lazy and selfsih part of me that is speaking, but there's also the realization that me and my issues might not be very compatible with a man in the long term. Letting someone in my world is scary and I'm kinda a "cat person" so avoidance is the best for me right now.

    As for mariage, yeah, it doesn't mean much to me. It is only realistic if both partners are honestly willing to give up on a part of themselves forever, but fewer and fewer people are (which is not a bad thing).
    I think that if you're (general "you") afraid of being alone and can't stand solitude, then mariage or committed relationhips might be for you, even if it doesn't last forever. If that's not your case, then you're fine by yourself.


  3. Hi Myra. Thanks for responding. It is indeed a miasma because I go back and forth. I'm comfortable in my solitude and satisfied with certain aspects of my life. I have very powerful emotions and I feel things very deeply. Part of me wants to take the chance, but most of me says it's better if I don't. I go back and forth with this all the time. Who knows how this will play out?

    Feel free to drop by again.

  4. SIX MONTHS Amaya. Tell me that you are pulling my legs. I know that you are as serious as a heart attack. But six months. I am a little scared of you right now. But in a good way.

    I definitely have been waiting for you to write part 2 for The Power Of The Pussy. Thinking about it now, I have a video I want you to watch first before you write it. I can't seem to find it on Youtube so I will have to e-mail it to you. This lady doing the video is off the damn chain.

  5. Shana, I am 100%. Six months is as long as I've gone. The reasons for this are many and varied, but it's also because I just can't put up with a lot of bullshit.

    That video you sent me got me thinking about a LOT of stuff and I think I'll be revisiting TPoTP in the near future.

  6. Glad I can be of help.

    And please do revisit The Power Of The Pussy. Because there are those among us who need a kick in the pants. A wake up call.

    And more importantly, I love your knowledge and insight. Did you get enough time to watch the one with the nursery rhymes?


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