To let another down in a relationship,
is also to let oneself down,
in one’s relationship to oneself.
A recurring theme in many Western movies, especially of the romantic comedy kind, is that when a pair of lovers (dating, engaged or even married) appears with another friend, given long enough screen time to work out the potential chemistry, this third character becomes a third party. Almost immediately, the morning after, there would be profuse apologies for the fling, by one or both involved. There would be rationalisation that there was heat of passion that led to confusion, that it should never had happened. This would be explained further if caught for the act (or in the act), which nevertheless strains and tarnishes the relationships, sometimes beyond repair.
Yet, despite ‘confusion’ of the guilty, they did go through the actions of advancing from talking to touching, from making out to making love, all requiring deliberate search for the ‘right’ time and place, with cover and concealment during and after. How confused were they then? Were they toggling swiftly between being mindful and mindless? But if they were not that confused, how did do what that led to regret? Next comes more confusion… After some thought, the ‘committed’ one who had the fling confesses to his or her lover ‘committed’ to, and to the one the affair happened with, that he or she is now confused about who is the love of his or her life.
Such plots are so common that audiences might imagine such dysfunctions in relationships to be the norm and follow suit? It is as if the essence of commitment has been lost. In the first place, commitment should be for the committed. Those lacking commitment should not commit, or it would be lying, that breaks the Fourth Buddhist Precept of respect for truthfulness. To commit in confusion only further confuses all. More importantly, before commitment, there should be thorough understanding of oneself and the one committed to. Without such understanding for true appreciation and acceptance, commitment might be shaky, without firm foundation.
Commitment issues might spring from lack of wisdom of what commitment should be founded upon. Without solid nurturing of mutual-understanding, how can anyone truly commit to anyone else? And with true mutual-commitment, how can anyone let the anyone down? Of course, there might be commitment errors due to misperceptions. Even so, there is no rush to be with a third party before decommitting properly. Love can wait; while mere lust prefers not to. One who has flings before decommitting might indeed have commitment issues. Having an affair breaks the Third Precept of respect for personal relationships. It is also to be with another of similar untrustworthy nature, a ‘homewrecker’. Why ‘commit’ to affairs then, clandestinely or openly?
Be more ‘rash’ to reflect before,
than to make mistakes soon.
Be more ‘rash’ to reflect after,
than to make mistakes again.