Originally Posted by Becca
She just articulated, very clearly, that she doesn't know what she can promise, what she can commit to. Her availability is going to be limited. She didn't think I would want to take that on, and maybe I shouldn't have but... I'm weak. (And, I really like her, and want to be her friend, and want to be her sometimes lover, and want her company in my life, which is typically total sunshine.)
So. I have an abundance of love and commitment in my life already. I think I can handle a casual dating affair. I envision being affectionate, and developing a real friendship, but not falling in love. Not expecting more than she can give. (I have limited availability too, in terms of time and energy, so I really think this is something that can work.)
But how do you do that? I don't need to keep my heart out of it, but how do you stay anchored to reality, when you are in a relationship that has some limits? How do you keep your inner teenager from scrawling somebody's name on your inner notebooks? How do you keep your head?
Well, all relationships have their limits of some kind. This is just one with limits you are not used to. I think you're in a great position to be able to handle it because you are asking excellent and thoughtful questions. Awareness is key. The only way to "keep your head" is to keep on checking in with yourself, examine your thought process, manage your emotions, and make sure your feet are on the ground. You take a step back every now and then to disengage from any overwhelming feelings and see where they come from. Getting free of the addictive aspect of relationships is all about knowing oneself as well as possible, and doing reality checks. Know when you are indulging and when you are fantasizing.
A casual relationship -- meaning one in which contact is limited or sporadic and there is not enormous emotional reliance on each other like there would be for an everyday, entangled partner -- need not be less meaningful than other relationships. Think of it as something that sits in a casual container - the structure is loose but the contents can be very rich indeed. It is challenging and will require balancing many things, especially your old, established notions and conditioning on how relationships "should" go, and what truly brings you happiness in this moment of now.
You can handle it. There are a few of us here who maintain more casual relationships than the expected committed partnership and are very happy to do it this way, even if it gets confusing. Read my blog
, in the Blogs and Life Stories section for my story if you're interested. I have a casual relationship that began in July of 2011 and it has had its ups and downs but mostly been wonderful.
Some other threads in which you may find good stuff:
not-quite-poly: lovers & friends w/ benefits
Friends with "benefits"...how did you do it?