Are Collections a Reflection of your Level of Commitment?

Are Collections a Reflection of your Level of Commitment?

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Are Collections a Reflection of your Level of Commitment?

For most of my life, I have had a debilitating fear of commitment when it comes to relationships. I have been afraid to get close to people – friends and significant others alike. Yet, I found myself continuously dating people who were very interested in a serious relationship commitment. Most of these relationships ended up in disaster because that is a large conflicting factor. While thinking about what else my past relationships have in common, I realized that they are all collectors.


Every single person I’ve ever dated has had a collection of something; music releases, records, musical instruments, video games, cards, comics, etc. By collection I don’t just mean “stuff”. They weren’t hoarders. These were intricate and curated collections.

What’s the difference? For this article’s context, hoarding “stuff” consists of items that only have value to you. While a collection consists of items that have value to not only yourself but others too. Like, a record collection (three exes) has emotional value to the collector but also monetary value to other collectors. And not just the individual items but the actual collection itself. Collections are maintained, organized, and treated with care. Collectors are committing themselves to the buying/selling of one particular item, taking care of those particular items, and not losing pieces of it. Collections are a commitment.

I have never had a collection of anything.


My biggest level of commitment has been to animals. Though that is more of a constant responsibility. Having a baseball collection doesn’t necessary have responsibilities. You don’t have to actively maintain it. You can stop collecting at any time and your cards won’t starve. They won’t lose value. They will often times gain value. Animals don’t always have a value to anyone else but their owner. And I certainly don’t collect animals. But I do adhere to my responsibilities as a cat owner. And my level of commitment to my pets. But it still seems different. I merely clean the litter boxes and feed the little guys. There is nothing to actively collect or curate.

The fear of commitment resolves around a desire to be independent. To not depend on others. To be a free spirit. To be able to get up and go when you want. To do what you want to do. Committing to having a collection still feels like something is tying you down. You have to take this collection with you when you move. You have to make sure your collection is safe and displayed correctly. You may become obsessive about it. Over its value or maintenance. Having a collection means thinking about something else. Having a commitment means thinking about something else. Caring about something else. Someone else.

Fortunately my feelings about commitment have lightened up considerably. I look forward to sharing my life with someone else. And I don’t want to solely think about myself and my actions. When I make decisions I do want to factor someone else in. Maybe it’s time I take up a collection to start this transition into commitment with baby steps.


Does this theory on the relation between commitment and collections fit with your experiences of either?


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4 Replies to “Are Collections a Reflection of your Level of Commitment?”

  1. Hm. Interesting thoughts.
    I would say that in my experience it’s been the opposite: People who are passionately into collections of THINGS are doing so to avoid relationships/interactions with people. It’s easier to relate to things, you don’t have to explain yourself to things, you don’t have to provide emotional support to things, and you can arrange things to be exactly the way you want w/out any other feelings or thoughts being taken into consideration.
    But I can definitely see the other side as well.

    1. Interesting! I know that is the theory behind hoarding, to surround yourself by things because it’s easier than people and is still comforting. I hadn’t thought about having a collection as a wall to avoid social contact – and I definitely see your reasoning there. I guess the way my exes had collections were as ‘anexactinglife’ says above, more as a hobby. And most hobbies are commitments.

  2. I think it depends on the type of collection. If you collect action figures, say, and keep them in the box, and check on their resale values constantly, and get very agitated about the prospect of never being able to own a particular figure, or about one getting damaged, then it might be like Kara says in her comment. Chances are you are not going to get together with other collectors, and it could lean toward being non-social. On the other hand, if you collect a bangle bracelet from every city you visit in your travels around the world, you would be a very different person. Some collections could be in between, for example, baseball cards and stats, because theoretically you could have friends who share the passion, and you might even go to ball games or watch them at a sports pub. Not sure what this says about intimate relationships!

    1. I hadn’t thought about the social interaction of building the collection but I know that was important to most of the people I dated. Going to stores, browsing online, reading forums, responding to ads, meeting people…. all that stuff was often times more important than the actual purchase. And many of my exes are still friends with other collectors, even after they stop collecting. So the collection itself is just another hobby. And now that I think about it (and as I said to Kara) most hobbies requirement a commitment. Interesting!

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