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Old 03-27-2012, 03:07 AM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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Default not-quite-poly: lovers & friends w/ benefits

Poly means having multiple boyfriends/girlfriends/partners. The idea is to be serious & committed & to be building relationships with each of your partners...

But there are other forms of non-monogamy that work better for some people. For example, I feel like I would rather have one or more lovers / friends with benefits than one or more boyfriends.

So how exactly is a lover different from a boyfriend? It's not just about the sex for me, because I would care deeply about a lover and want to do non-sexual things with him as well.

But something about the label "boyfriend" doesn't describe the type of relationship I want. I don't like the feeling of being "coupled" or the expectation that things must "progress" to something more serious. Or the expectation that you must spend every minute with someone.

And I hate the term "friends with benefits," but I love having a friend to have sex with, without it being anything more than a friendship that involves sex.

Some people might insist that these types of arrangements are little more than casual sex, but I don't feel that way. Still, they are a long way from a committed life partnership.

I struggle with dating because I struggle to define what I'm looking for...I feel like I have an alternative relationship orientation but that it can't quite be called "poly"...yet I'm drawn to poly because I know I wouldn't want to give up my lover-friends if I wanted to get serious with someone.

And I know some people identify as poly and also have FWBs or lovers that aren't necessarily significant others. Or maybe became poly because of feelings that grew out of having lover-friends.

There's a lot of information out there about how to have healthy, happy poly relationships. I need more resources for how to have not-quite-poly relationships. Of course, some of it's the same, like the communication, but I think some of it is different, too.

Because someone might have a girlfriend and a FWB, and everyone is open and honest and ethically non-monogamous, but it's not about loving everyone equally.

Can you have a husband and a lover? How is that different from having a husband and a boyfriend?

Can you have a FWB that you are actually friends with? How do you make sure a FWB feels valued and cared for, even while both are clear that it will not progress to a relationship?

And why is it expected that a FWB is someone you must keep secret and be ashamed about? I've been puzzled in the past when I've had a lover-friend who makes me happy and that I like talking about--but my (platonic) friends don't want to hear about it because we're not "serious" and he's not a "real boyfriend."

"I guess it's fine for now," they might say, even when the arrangement lasted months to years.

(I have sex rarely and never in a super-casual way, so my friends aren't objecting to me bragging about sexual conquests or something).

And how do you meet a new FWB when all the single men who used to be everywhere are now married with babies? And anyone who claims to want a FWB really just wants sex with no strings attached?

I struggle with feeling that what I want doesn't really exist. Or that I will have to settle for being someone who is valued less because I don't enjoy the intensity of a "relationship."
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Old 03-27-2012, 08:01 AM
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I can understand what you mean.

I find my self wondering those things as well. I have even been asking myself how to classify what I am looking for.

It seems so much easier in fiction the reality.

The weird thing is that now that I have been researching this I have been applying that research to my past experiences and found that I seem to have longed for it in one form or another.

While some might say that is typical to my gender i find that a stereotypical response.

I have even pulled myself out the "game" for the better part of a decade, I find trying to get back in is daunting.

anyways I felt that i had to express that I understood what you mean and enjoyed reading it.
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:50 AM
feelyunicorn feelyunicorn is offline
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Originally Posted by MeeraReed View Post
And how do you meet a new FWB when all the single men who used to be everywhere are now married with babies? And anyone who claims to want a FWB really just wants sex with no strings attached?
Hey, there`s one of us left.

The OP describes exactly the kind of relationship I would like as well. I hate possessive labels, and I certainly abhor the idea of getting married, although I think it`s a good thing for most people.

That`s exactly what I want, friends I have feelings for, that I have sex with, but unrelated to a progression toward possessive labels, or some kind of a priori 'forever' vow or expectation. I hate predicting the future, although wishes are fine.

The only differences we might have perhaps is that I do have casual sex. I think some people are compatible with me in that way. For a couple nights. Some others in the way you describe.

As for the being ashamed of your lovers issue, I am definitely not. It`s not something I would hide at all, though I do seek someone who avoids PDA and all the public 'claiming' body language of possessive relationships. For one thing, I think it`s rude and insensitive to people around you.

I would like someone who is friends in public, and affectionate in private. Wish you were near OP. I have a tremendous respect for women (and, people in general) who are able to remain independent for extended periods of time.

Why are all the women married with babies?

Edit: The other point you (OP) bring up that is important and I had forgotten to mention is me time! I think polys are much more educated about me time than your mono hetero normative couple, but since polyamory seems to be more interwoven with marriage, kids, and cohabitation, I think it`s worth drawing attention to.
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Last edited by feelyunicorn; 03-27-2012 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 03-27-2012, 03:17 PM
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Meera,
I love all the questions you're asking. You and I are very similar in what we hope to have in our non-mono lives. And I love that you're calling it "not-quite-poly." You also hit upon some important points, for me. Basically, the whole aversion to couplehood and all the expectations placed upon anyone who has a regular lover. It's like the whole world is expecting me to move my relationships in a particular direction.

I don't have a ton of friends, though I do have a lot of friendly acquaintances. I'm not one of these people who collects friends wherever they go, so my deeper friendships are very dear and special to me. To be able to connect physically with one of my close male friends to whom I happen to be sexually attracted is something that is also incredibly meaningful to me. But do I need to turn that into marriage or him into a boyfriend? Hell, no!

This is the distinction I see between having casual sex and a casual relationship. Casual sex is just about getting off, while casual relationships are so much more. They can be genuinely caring and affectionate, full of deeper feelings, and yet allow for space, distance, and autonomy. I wrote more about that in another thread, here: http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showt...2&postcount=10

And, yes, I also feel that the basics of polyamory can apply because we would ideally be managing multiple of these wonderful lover-friendships - but we probably have less rules, LOL.

I shared something about this awhile back in my blog. I stated:
"I want lovers who are friends, who accept my love but don't freak out or want to build some structure around it. I don't want a partner who has a say in how I run my life. I don't want just casual sex and complete detachment but I know I don't want a primary. I want a level of commitment, but not to partnership... I have long had this vision of being single, solitary, and strong. [In my vision,] the joy [my lover-friends and I] feel with each other is genuine, there is no expectation to be or move toward anything more than what we are to each other... When we're together, each of my lovers has my full attention and feel no lack or sense of competition. There is love, sex, intimacy, sharing of feelings, deep thinking, and treasured moments, but no demands that we fulfill any roles for each other. Just "loving who we're with." ...I think maybe what I want is somewhere between a FWB and a boyfriend. Wondering how to adjust my OKC profile to reflect this, heh... I just don't know what to call it, how to ask for it, what to project into the world so that it comes to me."
SourGirl had responded and gave me the idea to start calling what I want "lover-friends," which fits so perfectly. She also used the term "Love-NSA." I really liked that.
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An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/

Last edited by nycindie; 03-27-2012 at 04:23 PM.
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Old 03-27-2012, 03:59 PM
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Something else that just occurred to me the other day: I wondered if it's possible that NRE never really goes away with the more casual FWB-type lover-friend relationships. I mean, when you settle into the real nitty-gritty of a committed bf/gf relationship, we know that eventually the euphoric honeymoon period is over. But with a lover-friend, casual, Love-NSA type thang, maybe the euphoria sticks around a bit. I don't know, but maybe keeping a little distance keeps NRE hanging around longer. Hmmm...
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The world opens up... when you do.

"Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me." ~Bryan Ferry
"Love and the self are one . . ." ~Leo Buscaglia "

An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/

Last edited by nycindie; 05-01-2014 at 04:55 AM.
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Old 03-27-2012, 04:31 PM
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RfromRMC RfromRMC is offline
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I don't see friends-with-benefits as being "not-quite poly". I think they are fully part of poly life if you want them to be.

Example:
I say I'm poly because I want love with more than one person.
I love my boyfriends. I love my friends. And a friend-with-benefits is someone who, in my view, is somewhere in-between a friend and a boyfriend.
Therefore, I can also love a friend-with-benefits. (Notice I say love but not be IN love. There is a difference for sure.)
Ergo, if being poly is loving more than one person, the FWB can count.

Just my thoughts on the matter.
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:38 PM
Pretzels Pretzels is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
Something else that just occurred to me the other day: I wondered if it's possible that NRE never really goes away with the more casual FWB-type lover-friend relationships. I mean, when you settle into the real nitty-gritty of a committed bf/gf relationship, we know that eventually the euphoric honeymoon period is over. But with a lover-friend, casual, Love-NSA type thang, maybe the euphoria sticks around a bit. I don't know, but maybe keeping a little distance keeps NRE hanging around longer. Hmmm...
I've thought a lot about this, too, since I still get a shit-eating grin every time I see the guys - together or individually.

For me, I think the reason I still feel so intensely for them comes from a range of reasons - we're tremendous friends who, like you, aren't "friend-collectors"; we know that we have different relationships with each of the other in our threesome and that helps prevent the "hostage situation" so many couples lapse into; and, finally, it was just about a year ago that we almost went over into the abyss. We made a conscious choice not to let go of each other not for financial reasons, not for societal reasons but because we each felt like we'd not encounter the same, strong dynamic again in our lives and that wasn't worth losing.

The way we identify in public, T and I as boyfriend and girlfriend with E as our roommate, barely plays out that way when we're alone. It has always been important that we're friends first and lovers second.

Last edited by nycindie; 05-01-2014 at 04:56 AM.
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Old 03-31-2012, 06:44 PM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
I shared something about this awhile back in my blog. I stated:
"I want lovers who are friends, who accept my love but don't freak out or want to build some structure around it. I don't want a partner who has a say in how I run my life. ...
I fail to see how this is different than a boyfriend or spouse. I've never assumed I had much say in how any of my partners run their lives.
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While polyamory, open relationships, and swinging are all distinctly different approaches to non-monogamy, they are not mutually exlusive. Folks can, and some do, engage in more than one of them at a time--and it's all good.
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Old 03-31-2012, 07:21 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AutumnalTone View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
I shared something about this awhile back in my blog. I stated:
"I want lovers who are friends, who accept my love but don't freak out or want to build some structure around it. I don't want a partner who has a say in how I run my life. ...
I fail to see how this is different than a boyfriend or spouse. I've never assumed I had much say in how any of my partners run their lives.
Well, sure. My ex-husband and I were pretty easygoing and independent in our relationship and did not boss each other around, but there were issues we could not agree on which impacted certain choices we each made. When I wrote that, I didn't mean that a partner automatically is in a role of granting permission, but that some people get into a long-term committed relationship with someone and believe that they have to check in with each other about everything before they make a move. I don't want to be joined at the hip like that. I want things a little looser. Not that I wouldn't communicate with a partner, but if it's a relationship where we don't see each other as "partners," and there is plenty of space for us to be ourselves and independent, it is simply easier and more amenable to be able to say what I want to do and just convey to my loves what my choices are (of course, I am not talking about going beyond any agreements we may have).

I guess I could have worded it, "I don't want a partner in the sense of someone who thinks he has a say in how I run my life."
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The world opens up... when you do.

"Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me." ~Bryan Ferry
"Love and the self are one . . ." ~Leo Buscaglia "

An excellent blog post on hierarchy in polyamory:
solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-im-not-a-secondary-partner-the-short-version/
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:09 PM
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Quote:
I would like someone who is friends in public, and affectionate in private.
Does this really exist?? I've decided that, at least for now, this is my perfect situation, but am doubting the reality of it...
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