The Chase From Love: Redefining Commitment in the 21st Century

by Elizabeth Hilliard
Communication Studies
Faculty advisor: Dr. Elizabeth Lamoureux

“They are not likely to identify themselves as having commitment issues, however, since in their mind there is always a good reason not to move forward with a relationship” (Flora, 2009). The definition for the term commitment has evolved over the years; it has been redefined and studied in several different ways (Strachman, 2006).Some researchers have found that the term commitment can be defined in the sense of obligation, costs and rewards of leaving or staying in a relationship, feelings or attraction, and satisfaction; while others simply will view it in terms of a goal (Strachman, 2006). Commitment is a commonly used term in lay and academic writing, and yet the term was not specifically defined in regard to relationships until the last half of the 20th century (Pryor, 2005). This study uses Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love, Thibaut and Kelley’s Social Exchange Theory, and Baxter and Montgomery’s Relational Dialectics Theory, along with additional research, to define what commitment truly is to the relationships of the 21st century.