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-   -   A need...or a want? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2747)

rpcrazy 05-09-2010 08:51 PM

A need...or a want?
 
Hi everyone :) I want to raise 2 questions to all of you about myself, and maybe some others here like me :P

A need is something that is necessary for organisms to live a healthy quality life. Needs are distinguished from wants because a deficiency would cause a clear negative outcome, such as dysfunction or death.

I believe that sexual intercourse is the closest physical representation of spiritual communion you can express with another human being.
I also believe, that all sensual acts can be used to represent the appropriate level of feelings between the people being sensual with each other. However, that level of appropriateness is subjective to whoever is being sensual.

I have varying degrees of emotions and connections to the people in my life. In reference to my level of feelings for them, some of them, I feel hugging all the time. Some of them, i feel like kissing all the time. Some of them I feel like completely connecting physically with them so i can feel what it's like to be as close I can to them using all my senses. Touch, smell, sight, hearing, taste.

I want to be able to freely express my emotions towards people sensually. Will that ever happen? no, not in my lifetime. However this is what I think makes me poly.

Example----
I have a friend I've known for 10 years and we have strong feelings for each other. We don't want to be with each "romantically", as to say i wouldn't want her to be my wife or share an account or living space with her for the rest of the foreseeable future. But she loves me unconditionally, and I have unconditional love for her; I don't judge her, and the feelings I have for her are almost akin to a sister; except when we go out, i want to kiss her. I want to hold her hand. Do i have sexual feelings for her? no. We could have sex sure, it would great fun, but we don't want children together, and we're really not on that level of connection with each other. Do i enact those sensual desires with her? No, because I have a g/f and am in a monogamous relationship. My relationship with my g/f who i'm in love with is far more important than my sensual desires. However, that doesn't mean my desires vanish, right?
------------------


It is a desire of mine, to live freely like this. To meet people, to love them, to like them, and to responsibly yet freely show my feelings for them physically, and allow them to do the same. All the while, having a romantic relationship with one (or a few other) people to share my immediate life experience with. This includes having sex with multiple romantic partners Yes...I am a hippie.

So my question to you all is this?

-------------------------IS THIS A NEED? OR A WANT?-------------------------

Is this just a want for sex?
Is this just a want for affection 'cause I have mommy Issues?
Should my desires be devalued because they're not that important?

OR

Is the desire for free love and multiple loves a legitimate need that should be pursued for a quality life no matter what?
In not fulfilling my desires of living a poly life, will i never truly reach my potentially highest quality of life?

I've never had a poly relationship. And I've really never been able to represent my love physically by even a small margin without running into some kind of issue. So? What am I missing? I've always had this feeling that I "wanted" more out of my relationships. More than just the "friends, family, and wife" standard model. And i'm pretty sure I always will. Will I eventually be consumed by that feeling? Would you? Are you?

saudade 05-09-2010 10:49 PM

Maslow, poly, and my personal experiences
 
Hey, welcome. I loved reading your post-- you remind me of me. Given that context...

Quote:

IS THIS A NEED? OR A WANT?
My answer to this question is actually grounded in social science theory:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%...archy_of_needs

Maslow proposed a hierarchy of human needs-- you have to meet all the lower ones to get to the ones above. I see bits of poly all through the hierarchy...

It sounds to me like the feeling you're describing is a middle-to-high need. You won't die without it, but Maslow would still call this kind of fulfillment a need.

Quote:

I've never had a poly relationship. And I've really never been able to represent my love physically by even a small margin without running into some kind of issue. So? What am I missing? I've always had this feeling that I "wanted" more out of my relationships. More than just the "friends, family, and wife" standard model. And i'm pretty sure I always will. Will I eventually be consumed by that feeling? Would you? Are you?
Whenever I've been prevented from expressing how I feel for a person in the way that makes the most sense for us, I've been consumed by the feeling. I can't speak for you, of course, but I remember how much that feeling hurt me. I wound up ending a serious monogamous relationship over it, and having a poly-only policy from then on out.

What's your story?

idealist 05-10-2010 03:06 AM

I like the subject matter and hope to hear some replys, but for me it doesn't matter whether it's a need or a want. I've decided to pursue it !! :D

redpepper 05-10-2010 06:59 AM

All respect to Maslow, but he is a scientist and not a poly theorist :D haha.... I can't believe I just said that... heh... :p

I base needs and wants on more than just Maslow. he has some basic stuff down, but we are more than just animals and more than just want or need to survive... if I was a street person perhaps Maslow would look like a dream, but I'm not. So I have other needs...

First of all needs to me are always positive. If they aren't, then they are not a need but a want and I need to look deeper to find the need behind the want.

For instance. If I were jealous of Roly spending time with Nerdist I would first look at my want for Nerdist to pay attention to me while I whine about his lack of attention. What I need is time with him in order to feel he loves me and appreciates me. My need is to feel loved and appreciated... it has nothing to do with who he spends his time with. So what shall I do about it? Go and find people who love and appreciate me and/or ask him to actively show me that he loves and appreciates me (I even tell him what I want him to do or say sometimes so that I don't set him up. It's so easy to make assumptions and have expectations that people will some how magically know what you want.... I digress....).

So, to answer you question.... the root need you have is to actively show your love for others in any way you are able to give... you need this in return. That is a need. Your want is to be free to do this as YOU see fit. Sometimes this isn't possible if we are with people who are not able to be with us if we think our need is to fuck everyone we see because we think this is how to show each other love... their need is different than ours...

It's up to you to decide what your bigger needs are, freedom to do what YOU want or loving others to the best of your ability without harming already established relationships that you want to continue.

GroundedSpirit 05-10-2010 03:53 PM

I like this discussion too !

But like so many other philosophical topics, it's a semantic trap.
So for me, I don't get fixated on what a particular term may mean - or be defined by others (including Maslow or any other philosopher/scientist).

What I try to focus on is what action will occur, and what effects will there be (in my or others lives) , by viewing a particular situation (or word/term) in a particular way.

The terms 'want' and 'need' seem particularly sensitive to this !

Because..........

If we - in our own mind - define something as a 'need' then we may go to quite extremes to fulfill that supposed 'need'. Because, as your question points out, in the English language we have established an absolute heirachy between the terms. We've accepted that 'needs' are something almost - or fully - critical to our survival. Therefore, lacking them, our survival may be threatened. Consequently our reaction to this will be proportional.

'Wants' on the other hand we have assigned a position lower on the scale and programmed ourselves to believe that regardless of the intensity of these 'wants', they are not critical to our survival and therefore can be sacrificed more easily when necessary.

So it really becomes somewhat of an individual choice where we place various desires that we encounter.
But that 'choice' has huge implications for us and everyone we interact with in life. It has a primary impact on our own happiness !

By minimizing what we push to the top ('need' position) our lives can become more simple. Actions are not as rash and emotionally driven. When we feel our true 'needs' are reasonably met life is just simpler and more pleasant to flow through.

And this does not in any way stand in the way of defining certain 'wants' that would make things even better. But it does take some of the emotional urgency away from them and in the long run sometimes make achieving them more probable.

But that's only my view.............

GS

redpepper 05-10-2010 04:42 PM

I agree GS, it can be a semantic trap. For me the whole *need* and *want* issue is a means to begin open and honest communication. When I know the difference in my self and can catch the real issues behind things I find that I can communicate more honestly and be more open to others.

rolypoly 05-10-2010 06:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by redpepper (Post 29083)
First of all needs to me are always positive. If they aren't, then they are not a need but a want and I need to look deeper to find the need behind the want.

For instance. If I were jealous of Roly spending time with Nerdist I would first look at my want for Nerdist to pay attention to me while I whine about his lack of attention. What I need is time with him in order to feel he loves me and appreciates me. My need is to feel loved and appreciated... it has nothing to do with who he spends his time with. So what shall I do about it? Go and find people who love and appreciate me and/or ask him to actively show me that he loves and appreciates me (I even tell him what I want him to do or say sometimes so that I don't set him up. It's so easy to make assumptions and have expectations that people will some how magically know what you want.... I digress....).

Oh, I'm in NVC geek lala land. LOL!!!

I was going to reply to this thread and talk about Maslow. Actually, RP, it was you who said to me at the first poly meet I went to "What about what you want?". I was saying that I didn't need a relationship because I could meet all my own needs. This was said out of a lot of fear and hurt though and for my true happiness, not just for survival and sustenance, I need to be loved, to share love, to be included, to belong....

So, it really depends on what level you're looking at it. If we're talking about survival, we don't need much more than air, water, food, sleep.

My ex 'E' and I talked about Maslow's hierarchy when I was living with him and he was having a complete breakdown. He would say things about how what I was needing and requesting in the relationship (checking in with me, hugs) were selfish of me to ask for because his most basic needs like sleep weren't being met.

So, maybe it also depends to what level you feel you deserve or feel you want to meet your needs.

RP, I really hope you don't get jealous about Nerdist and me spending time together. And I'm sure you already know and I don't need to say it that if you're ever needing his love and appreciation, I would like to facilitate having those needs met for you, even if it's just a matter of stepping back for a bit.

It's so liberating to get to the root of what the need is. And I love that you actually tell the person what you want to hear. I've only recently learned this. I used to think "If he loves me, he'll...." and it felt disingenuous to me if someone did something because I wanted them to. Now I understand much more that we all have different ways of meeting our needs and so being clear about what my needs are and having people in my life who are willing to help me meet them, well, that's love!!

Morningglory629 05-10-2010 08:18 PM

In a sense with maslow...inconsistency can wreak havoc on anthing beyond perceived security in a relationship. So how can you reach true intimacy and love and intact self-esteem, let alone any kind of self-actualizing acceptance as in true compersion, if there is no consistency in your words and actions. These are rungs I am most interested in at the moment. I want to be happy just knowing that somewhere, somehow my loves are happy. I am not always there because I want to be PART of what makes them happy. There is that "greedy" factor as Mono spoke of a couple of weeks ago. I am greedy in that I still want the feeling of "providing," for lack of a better term, the happiness whether it be physical or emotional. I would be interested in hearing how you all think the journey up the ladder needs to progress, can you skip around or does it have to be a consistent assent in this poly life?:confused:


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