Ace Admiral says “I would really like to see a community discussion about commitment, what it means in our unique kind of relationships, and how to get it. I would really like this to move to the top of the 102 discussion of asexuality, for people to talk to their friends and families and bring this issue to a broader audience for broader contemplation.”
I agree. Maybe this should be a Carnival of Aces theme (hint hint).
After I read that post, I realized that’s exactly the thing which makes my family relationships more secure than my friendships.
As I’ve written before, I trust my family relationships more than my friendships. It’s definitely not because I like my family more than my friends. I don’t. But that’s the thing. When I stop liking my friends, or when we simply stop spending time together/stop contacting each other, our friendship fades away. My family relationships do not do that, regardless of how much we don’t like each other or don’t contact each other.
In other words, my family relationships have a deeper committment.
This is not true about all families – but my family happens to have people who take family relationships very seriously. My father helps relatives who he actively dislikes merely because they are his relatives. My mother and aunt offered significant assistance a cousin from a branch of the family we hadn’t had contact with for over fifty years, and that was only because of her blood relationship. If that’s not committment, I don’t know what committment is.
Of course, the commitment in my family relationships are not absolutely unconditional. If someone in my family tortured and killed a young child, I certainly would not defend them, and I think most of the people in my family wouldn’t defend them either. But it would take something much more serious than being pissed off at somebody to break the commitment.
And knowing that the comittment is hard to break is what makes them feel secure.
But it’s a double-edged sword.
It means that, even if a relationship turns toxic, it cannot easily be broken off. I have ‘broken up’ with one of my relatives, I have clearly discussed this ‘break-up’ with my parents, and I am following their advice: talk to other relatives about this on a need-to-know basis. However, even though my mother is also now avoiding the relative in question, she has also said that we are still family, and that there is still a basic bond intact. In other words, it’s more like a separation than a divorce.
Since none of my friendships have ever carried that level of committment, they are much easier to break up, and thus carry much less risk of getting stuck in a toxic relationship.
I would be very interested in forming friendships or other non-romantic/sexual relationships with a high level of commitment. I am not sure how to do that. And I know that commitment comes with its own risks.