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Old 11-26-2013, 12:47 PM
hyperskeptic hyperskeptic is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 440
Default Romance Stew

Originally Posted by Eponine View Post
Good question. I guess people have different interpretations of "romantic friendship". Some may call a relationship a "romantic friendship" if it involves behaviors that are usually reserved to romantic partners (e.g. physical affection), even if it doesn't involve romantic feelings. Some may apply the label to a relationship that involves ambiguous feelings between platonic and romantic (and some people just can't distinguish between platonic and romantic feelings). Personally I only use the term when I'm romantically attracted to the other person though.
This brings me right back around to the line of thinking that led me to starting this thread.

The thing is, 'romance' is a treacherous term for anyone who takes a radical approach to relating to other people - that is, an approach that tries to get at the roots of things - because 'romance' is a bundle of ideas and expectations that defines a very particular and tightly circumscribed corner of the space of possible relationships. It's something like all-aflutter-gushy-feelings-attraction-and-affection-and-devotion-hearts-and-flowers-and-candlelight-dinners-leading-inexorably-to-exclusive-commitment-emotional-intimacy-physical-intimacy-first-base-second-base-third-base-home-marriage-and-babies.

If being poly just means extracting the "exclusive commitment" and "marriage" and maybe "babies" parts and setting them aside, we'd still be left with a strange stew of feelings and expressions and degrees of commitment.

What seems to happen in practice is that people use the term 'romantic' to refer to just one or another ingredient in that stew - sometimes all-aflutter-gushy-feelings, sometimes hearts-and-flowers-and-candlelight-dinners, sometimes attraction-and-affection, sometimes physical-intimacy-first-base-second-base-etc - which can really only cause confusion.

Hence the problem with 'romantic friendship.' Sometimes the 'romantic' part seems to signify feelings, sometimes expectations, sometimes actions. It doesn't help a lot to juxtapose 'romantic' with 'platonic', because that term has issues of its own.

(I've written about this elsewhere, so I won't belabor it here. Suffice it to say that I don't use the term 'platonic' because what Plato actually says about love is deeply, deeply offensive to me. It ain't really love at all.)

Before I came across and started considering the usefulness of 'relationship anarchy', I was already at the point of un-bundling conventional notions of romance, and avoiding the term 'romantic' altogether.

Taken out of the context of traditional monogamy, it just doesn't signify.

Last edited by hyperskeptic; 11-26-2013 at 01:35 PM.
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