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  #11  
Old 03-28-2012, 06:48 PM
dib dib is offline
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At some point you have to ask yourself "why the labels?". I just use them as they come and if I am comfortable with them. My girlfriend's girlfriend can be just my friend or my girlfriend too, with or without commitment. I don't care what others think or say about my terminology. Do you want your partner to be labeled more than you want a clear definition of rules and regulations surrounding your activities? Just say it like it is. Friend, boyfriend, whatever makes the two or more of you happy...

Honesty in goals and plans can be difficult, especially when discussing the end results of your relationship. But denying you have one is counterproductive. I have a relationship with my cat. Believe me, that's not going any farther than him being fed and him mysteriously gaining 500 lb when I want to get him out of bed. It's the quality and strength of your relationships that you should focus on. If it is and will remain a friendship then focus on that. Does intimacy bring more emotion than you are willing to share with that individual? Take a step back. Not enough love in the mix? Pour it on.
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  #12  
Old 03-28-2012, 08:59 PM
JaneQSmythe JaneQSmythe is offline
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I've considered myself poly for 2 decades even though my only long term sexual relationships outside of my marriage were FWB (until Dude). With them I am friends first and the "with benefits" secondarily - with long breaks if their situation warrants it - geography, primary partner that is not on board, etc. These breaks don't affect the underlying friendship, just the "benefits" part. There is no expectation of these relationships "progressing" in any way - they are what they are.

When discussing poly with my bestest friend several years ago - she decided that if my relationships with these FWBs, who I wasn't as close to as her, counted as "poly" then SHE counted to (even though there is no sexual component to our relationship) since she is emotionally closer to me than anyone other than my husband - she decided she was my "platonic girlfriend". (I talk about this some in my blog here). If it makes her happy to assign herself that label - more power to her! Her use of a label doesn't change our relationship in any way. I guess I see all relationships as a branching maze of connectivity - some bonds are stronger, some weaker, some involve sex, some don't, some are romantic, some are more emotional, some are more recreational, some last a long-time, some don't, some are family, etc. For some combinations of these (and other factors) we have labels - GF, lover, boyfriend, lover-friend, FWB, mom - etc. But just because we don't have a distinct label doesn't mean a relationship isn't there - and each of these individual relationships is unique unto itself - none is "equal" to another because people are not interchangeable.

Was I not "really" poly until Dude came along? Who knows? Who cares? My poly is not your poly. These words and definitions are just...words and definitions. We use them as shorthand so that we can, hopefully, convey our thoughts to others. They can be used to "describe" a relationship but they don't need to "define" it.

For anyone that I am involved with, flirting with, having sex with, who is not my husband - it is always "friends in public" - my job and profession could be jeopardized otherwise. Nobody has objected yet - nobody's business but ours.

Just my experience.

JaneQ
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Me: poly bi female, in an "open-but-not-looking" Vee-plus with -
MrS: hetero polyflexible male, live-in husband (23+ yrs)
Dude: hetero poly male, live-in boyfriend (4+ yrs) and MrS's best friend
Lotus: poly bi married female, "it's complicated" relationships with Dude/JaneQ/MrS (1+ years)
+ "others" = FBs, FWBs, lover-friends, platonic G/BFs, boytoys, etc.


My poly blogs here:
The Journey of JaneQSmythe
The Notebook of JaneQSmythe

Last edited by JaneQSmythe; 03-28-2012 at 09:05 PM.
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  #13  
Old 03-29-2012, 05:48 AM
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redpepper redpepper is offline
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I'm not a big fan of the term "friends with benefits" either. I prefer "intimate friends" more. To me the term has become too derogatory and indicates that there are no benefits to anything else but sex in these particular friendships. Like its not a benefit to have a friend you like to play tennis with or something. The term makes it sound like they are just a benefit if you want to have sex with them.

I tend to think that poly people are more likely to have sex with friends or at least be okay with it though. So why hide it or not say anything. Really, if everyone is consenting then it shouldn't be a big deal I don't think.

I think there is little difference from FWB/intimate friends to poly relationships other than level of commitment really. Bottom line is you can call your relationships whatever you want as long as you are both understanding where each other comes from. Here's to friends *clink.
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  #14  
Old 03-29-2012, 11:38 PM
Pretzels Pretzels is offline
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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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  #15  
Old 03-31-2012, 12:56 PM
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FrankLee FrankLee is offline
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Default What to call it!

MeeraReed,

That's the best delineation of the terminology I have seen so far on this forum. I'm glad that I saw it because your definition for yourself seems to be more what I consider that I would call myself as well.

I have a personal listed at OKCupid and am having a difficult time describing my intentions as far as non-monogamy goes. It's amazing how quickly others assume the worst stereotype possible.
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  #16  
Old 03-31-2012, 06:38 PM
AutumnalTone AutumnalTone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott75 View Post
When talking with fellow poly members, I have argued that even though the polyamory community shuns cheating, I think we should include them as polyamory if they truly love more then one partner.
No.

The definition of polyamory specifically excludes cheating. Go read Morning Glory's comments to the dictionary editors when they asked her to provide the definition for inclusion--she specifically excludes cheating.

And I certainly won't identify as part of a group that includes cheaters. The cheaters will have to find their own term that denotes unethical multi-partner affairs.
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When speaking of various forms of non-monogamy...it ain't poly if you're just fucking around.

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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  #17  
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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When speaking of various forms of non-monogamy...it ain't poly if you're just fucking around.

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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  #18  
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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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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  #19  
Old 04-01-2012, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeeraReed View Post
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."
Huh? I really can't understand that kind of behaviour. They don't want to hear about your activities and experiences when they include him but you can talk about things you do with other people, say, platonic friends? Have you talked to your friends about that. If I were in a similar situation, I would let them know I feel bad about them dismissing important things in my life just because I don't have a certain label attached to that...
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  #20  
Old 04-18-2012, 02:47 PM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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Thanks, everyone, for your comments on this.

(Except for the cheating thread, which doesn't belong here).

Very glad to hear from some kindred spirits about these issues. Thanks, Nycindie, Feelyunicorn, Cleo, and others.

Regarding labels: I don't think I'm hung up on labels. In fact, I find it a little frustrating when people say (about various things), "Oh, that's just labels."

I don't think the distinction between a boyfriend and a lover is just a label. There are reasons that I want one or more lovers rather than one or more boyfriends. But I am struggling to define and articulate exactly what those reasons are and exactly what I should call what I'm looking for.

Sure, labels are only the terms you use to explain your thoughts/situation to other people, but I do need those labels in order to communicate with others!

I did notice something interesting on this thread: most of the responders who are in stable, permanent relationships seem to be less concerned with labels than the responders who are still looking, still unsure what will make them most happy dating-wise, and still on OKCupid.

(Which doesn't mean that people are happier when they give up preoccupation with labels, only that labels become less important when you've found what you're looking for and can define it for yourself).

I'm definitely in the latter category! Still looking! Still confused about labels!

One of the reasons I started this thread was to figure out how to explain what I'm looking for on my OKCupid profile. And then how to explain it further on dates, in relationships, etc.

There are other cool thoughts in this thread that I will respond to when I have more free time. Thanks!
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