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-   -   Are labels really important? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=25901)

quianaa2001 07-23-2012 10:28 PM

Are labels really important?
 
When in a poly relationship does it become okay to discuss labels? Or are the nature of labels not important at all?

You have to excuse me I'm new to all this, just being introduced to polyamory by this new friend of mine.

My poly 'friend' and I have been long distance, communicating with each other over email and skype. We have met up twice so far, to meet up again this weekend and I'm so excited!

I'm thinking we have more of a f*ck buddy relationship. I'm okay with that I guess, because I know he cares about me and I know we have great sex together! But I am just curious if the slight possibility exist of some day things growing to something else. In no way do I want a primary relationship as he already has one of those. I just have some fizzing of fuzzy feelings and I don't know what to do with them. Many loves right? But do I voice that? When, How?

I'm just scared to ask and say these things and have no idea how to bring up such a conversation.

*Deep breath* Lol :confused:

CielDuMatin 07-23-2012 11:04 PM

Labels are a double-edged sword - they can be useful as a short-hand to describe something, but they have problems associated with them.

In the poly world, different people have different interpretations of some of the poly terms - it's vital to make sure that each person in the conversation understands what the other means, rather than assuming.

The other pitfall is that labels can be used to put people into restrictive boxes - the classic example is "you can't ask for this, you're only a secondary".

If you want to have a "where are we going, what's possible and what is ruled-out" type of discussion, I wouldn't rely on labels at all. Instead I would just spell it out fully in words. If your love interest uses a label, make sure you question to ask what they understand by it.

Make sense?

Maybe you don't present your needs or desire,s but instead get him to talk about how HE feels. That opens the chance for him to turn the question around and to ask you. It becomes a true conversation, rather than just talking about labels.

AnnabelMore 07-23-2012 11:08 PM

Labels are for description, so figure out what you're describing and then give it a name that you're comfortable with, rather than picking a name and then trying to live up to it. :)

If you're feeling fizzy feelings, just say to him -- "I was wondering if you feel like we do now, or might ever, have a 'relationship'... something that's less than a full partnership but more than just casual, that you might call boyfriend/girlfriend or secondaries. Personally, I'm not sure, I know I like you a lot but I think we could go in more than one direction and I'm curious how you feel."

AnnabelMore 07-23-2012 11:10 PM

*high-fives Ciel* Same idea, different words. :)

Marcus 07-23-2012 11:31 PM

I Fancy You
 
I'm not sure "are labels really important" is the question you need an answer to. Labels can help clear up what we are talking about, as the other posters have noted, but are rarely something I would consider important in and of themselves and only become important in a conversation for the sake of brevity.

Quote:

Originally Posted by quianaa2001 (Post 145049)
I am just curious if the slight possibility exist of some day things growing to something else... I just have some fizzing of fuzzy feelings and I don't know what to do with them.

This sounds like how you feel. If that's the case, this is what you ought to say. You aren't seeking a label, you are seeking to tell this person that you have feelings for them and that you kind of like the prospect. There is no ranking/labeling/classifying required to tell them that you have dig them, you just have to look longingly into their eyes and say in your best Eddy Izzard impression "I fancy you" :D

nycindie 07-24-2012 02:25 AM

Are labels important? No. But also yes, when trying to get a concept across to someone who may not understand it without having a name for it. So for me, the answer is mostly no, but sometimes yes.

Is communication important? Hell yeah!

quianaa2001 07-24-2012 02:46 AM

Thanks guys!

I guess I don't really need any label for the relationship I have with him, at least I have a relationship with him.

Maybe when talking I could use the words secondary, or tertiary if the need arose? But not directly to describe what we have between us.

It will be scary but I will have to work up the bravery to tell him I would feel better with our relationship more clearly defined. He says I can talk to him about anything, so I just have to do it. *chicken* lol

nycindie 07-24-2012 05:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by quianaa2001 (Post 145103)
I guess I don't really need any label for the relationship I have with him, at least I have a relationship with him.

Hmmm, that comment, "at least I have a relationship with him" sounds like you're settling for what you can get, instead of pursuing and creating the kind of relationship you want.

Quote:

Originally Posted by quianaa2001 (Post 145103)
Maybe when talking I could use the words secondary, or tertiary if the need arose? But not directly to describe what we have between us.

I think it would probably be better to simply describe what you want out of the relationship, your needs, expectations, etc., instead of stating that you want a certain kind of position according to hierarchical labeling. Leave the labels alone. I have found that, while having in-person discussions, using certain poly jargon sounds really dorky and dumb.

Quote:

Originally Posted by quianaa2001 (Post 145103)
It will be scary but I will have to work up the bravery to tell him I would feel better with our relationship more clearly defined.

Yes, but have YOU defined for yourself what you want and how you want to approach your relationship with him? It sounds like you intend to go to him almost like a beggar, asking him to define it for you. I encourage you to take a stance. If you don't yet know what it is want and how to define it, you'd best figure it out before having the talk with him. Define for yourself how you want it to be and discuss it with him, and that's where negotiations will take off from. Don't just leave it all up to him and hope you'll get something, anything, good out of it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by quianaa2001 (Post 145049)
My poly 'friend' and I have been long distance, communicating with each other over email and skype. We have met up twice so far, to meet up again this weekend and I'm so excited!

I'm thinking we have more of a f*ck buddy relationship. I'm okay with that I guess, because I know he cares about me and I know we have great sex together! But I am just curious if the slight possibility exist of some day things growing to something else. In no way do I want a primary relationship as he already has one of those. I just have some fizzing of fuzzy feelings and I don't know what to do with them.

How long have you been involved with him? It sounds like a fairly new relationship. Are you sure you aren't just caught up in the euphoria of a new relationship, getting all misty-eyed about it, and wanting more? Are your feet on the ground, or is your head in the clouds? How do you manage the long distance - does it leave you feeling like it's not enough? Do you have other partners, or are you solely focused on him? How old are you? Do you have much relationship experience? You may need to sort things out a little bit more for yourself before laying any requests for big changes on him. Make sure you are looking at the relationship clearly and not projecting some needs onhim that you need to fulfill yourself.

newtoday 07-24-2012 05:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 145166)
Leave the labels alone. I have found that, while having in-person discussions, using certain poly jargon sounds really dorky and dumb.

Isn't that the truth?! My bf and I were just talking about that recently. It can indeed sound dorky, dumb, and in some instances derogatory and hurtful.

In my instance as "Secondary", he agrees that it devalues and undercuts how much I really mean to him. Just because I don't share his full home life, doesn't mean that I mean less to him.

Stay away from labels where you can. They can cause serious trouble. Focus on the dynamics and parameters of each individual relationship.

LovingRadiance 07-24-2012 05:40 PM

Or make up your own.

I call GG "M'ebe". Doesn't matter what it means-its my word of adoration for him, pet name if you will and for the two of us it defines everything special about our relationship.

He calls me "Bebe". Same thing.

I call Maca by his given name with an extra vowel at the end-a name only his father and I use. It's something special that reminds us that our tie goes back to when we were kids AND is as close as family. Means nothing to the outside world. He IS my legal husband and I do explain that to others at times, but between he and I, that is too formal and too.... well demeaning. It's a label with no emotion attached that society created.

My youngest daughter is Sour Pea. OBVIOUSLY that isn't the name on her birth certificate, and she does know she's "the baby" but that is demeaning to her (which is why I use this example). She HATES being referred to as the baby (which other people insist on bringing up with "is she the baby of the family? type questions).
But, Sour Pea-which some might think is demeaning, to her is endearing. :)

My oldest is "Idge" which is short for "Idget" which I called her when she was little and at that time it was short for "midget" cause she's always been SO TINY.
To MANY all three of those are demeaning labels.
But, to her they are endearing and when I don't use that, she gets offended! She feels slighted or figures I'm PISSED OFF! ;)

So, describe what you feel and find a word that fits your feelings and go with it. ;)


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