For a relationship to culminate in a successful long-term, committed union, a five-step relationship-building course of action must be acknowledged, understood, and traversed.
The Five Required Steps to a Long-Term Relationship
The path from initial introduction to a long-term committed relationship goes by five separate stages of relationship: (1) Step 1: The change Relationship, (2) Step 2: The as a hobby Relationship, (3) Step 3: The Pre-Committed Relationship, (4) Step 4: The Committed Relationship, and (5) Step 5: The Marital Relationship. (For a discussion of as a hobby, pre-committed, and committed relationships, see David Steele, Conscious Dating, (Campbell, CA, RCN Press, 2008). For the typical description of a pre-committed relationship, see David Steele, Conscious Dating, (Campbell, CA, RCN Press, 2008, 301-319).
This article addresses the third step in the relationship-building course of action, Step 3: The Pre-Committed Relationship
The Pre-Committed Relationship Is the Time for Logical examination
While the as a hobby relationship spotlights the contribution of your heart and intuition, the pre-committed relationship highlights the role logic plays in building a relationship.
A pre-committed relationship focuses on systematically calculating if your basic requirements for a long-term relationship will be met.
Goal and motivation. The goal of a pre-committed relationship is to decide if someone is a “good fit.” The source of motivation that drives a pre-committed relationship is the question, “Will a life with this person give me what I require in a long-term relationship?”
The roles you and your partner play. Both you and your partner are expected to be a girlfriend/boyfriend who is willing and able to talk openly about what you each need in a long-term relationship.
The character of a pre-committed relationship. The “feel” in the pre-committed stage is one of focused thoughtfulness and logical examination. You get crystal clear about what your non-negotiable requirements are for a long-term relationship and determine whether the relationship with your partner can meet all your requirements.
Requirements for a Relationship
The heart of the pre-committed step is knowing and communicating your requirements to your partner.
A requirement is something that must be provided by your partner if the relationship is to work. Steele uses the analogy for a requirement of air, water, and food as requirements for maintaining life in the human body. The absence of already one of the three would consequence in death. Likewise, the absence of already one thing you consider a requirement for a relationship will sooner or later kill the relationship. (David Steele, Conscious Dating, (Campbell, CA, RCN Press, 2008, p 90)).
possible Problems with a Pre-Committed Relationship
The two most shared ways we fail at the pre-committed step are (1) we either do not know what our requirements are or do not realize how important it is to respect their necessity, and (2) we simply skip this step altogether and go straight to the committed relationship step, as if we can intuit each other’s needs. We can’t.
Failure to clarify and test out your non-negotiable requirements. After I got divorced the first time, a friend wanted to “fix me up.” She asked me what I wanted in a possible partner. I told her I needed (1) someone who had been divorced before – so she could empathize with what I had been by, and (2) someone who had kids – so she would not be threatened by my parental love. That list of two requirements turned out to be a good place to start, but it left off another 5 or 6 that I was unaware of at the time and which ultimately caused my second marriage to fail.
Skip it altogether. During the as a hobby relationship everything feels right. It feels like you are in a committed relationship. It also feels like you are so in-tuned with each other that a discussion of your requirements is not needed and, in fact, raising the issue would be downright insulting to your partner. So you never already broach the topic. You just ride the euphoria telling yourself you have found the perfect partner, your soul mate, and skipping the pre-committed step poses no problem.
This is a dangerous roll of the dice. sometimes it works out. Most of the time it doesn’t. To never discuss requirements or to jump from a as a hobby relationship straight to a committed relationship, seriously threatens the success of your relationship.
So, What’s the Point?
Make damned sure you make the time to clarify your requirements – all of them. Then be doggedly insistent about both of you sharing them with each other.
Then, and this is the hard part, use an extended period of time together (often 12 to 18 months) to make sure that you and your partner’s requirements can truly be met in a relationship with each other.
This is where most marriages that fail can trace the cause back to. Take the pre-committed step seriously. Your relationship future depends on it.