From Encyclopedia of Sex and Sexuality

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In recent decades “commitment” has been a frequently-heard term whenever relationships between the sexes are discussed. All too often, it is the female who complains of a male lack of commitment, while males often seem confused about what is meant. Essentially, commitment means a willingness to continue a relationship indefinitely or to work toward a stable, long-term relationship. For some, a commitment can be similar to marriage without a formal or legal status, or it may merely mean a commitment not to date others.

In younger persons, making a commitment is a form of play-acting for marital roles in varying degrees, from exclusive dating and sexual relationships to full-time living together or providing emotional, financial, and social support. In many respects, a commitment is comparable to the older biblical, medieval, and Victorian notion of a “betrothal” or an engagement: it is a promise to act “as if” the couple were going to be married, whether they intend to be or not. Since commitments often imply long-lasting sexual and emotional involvement, they should not be regarded lightly, but as a trial for more permanent relationships in the future.

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