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  #41  
Old 08-10-2013, 01:14 PM
InsaneMystic InsaneMystic is offline
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Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
The conversation of "commitment" has come up a few times recently and it has me pondering my relationship strategy and has prompted me to take a closer look at my association with IV.

IV has told me a number of times that her relationship viewpoint is that she is "just here to party". This means that the ideals of sacrifice and compromise are not applicable and that only the things we *want* to express with each other get expressed. That the idea of "relationships take work" is bullshit outright and won't be given any weight. On all of these fundamentals we agree.

The other night IV, CV, and I were chatting about this topic because a friend of mine is in a point in his life where commitment is on his mind and so I brought it up and they were happy to discuss it with me. The central idea of the conversation was "when does commitment to a relationship become unhealthy?". The three of us agree more or less on where this line is.

As I have said in one of the threads on this board, I would consider myself committed to IV. As with my relationships with my close friends, I would cut any of them slack if they were going through some kind of contextual issues and that ending the relationship would only come about due to a fundamental change in our ability to relate to each other in a positive way. CV took it a bit further and explained that, once the relationship continues because of ideals like duty, sticking to your word, toughing it out, marriage, sacrificing, that is unhealthy. The only reason that a relationship should continue is that there is a positive exchange between the people involved; external pressures are nothing but barriers to a rational exit.

To illustrate his commitment to living life without artificial commitment, CV described their relationship as friends with benefits; friends and roommates who have sex. Something about the conversation made me uneasy; the assumption being that I am also considered a FWB to IV. Intellectually I know that this is the only way to relate to people effortlessly, which is something I greatly desire. However, I don't really have any experience actually treating people with this kind of laissez faire approach. While I have always considered myself to be independent and hesitant to put labels and responsibilities on people, this is a whole different level.
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In true IV fashion, I mentioned the issue to her and she immediately responded with a "question" which clearly stated what the issue was. She asked, "Does 'FWB' feel like it is belittling the value of the relationship?"

Yes, point of fact, it does seem to devalue the relationship. While I intellectually know that the approach of being lovers with my best friends is really the only way to have the effortless romance that I want - "FWB" in my mind also comes with an assumption that there isn't love and that it has an inherently lower value. It gets clumped in with "fuckbuddies" which I would only use to describe a surface level casual association. While I realize that this isn't necessarily the way FWB works, it is nonetheless an association I make with the term.

My close friendships are very dear to me. I love my small number of close friends intensely and I view our friendships as being something of immense value. If we were to share sex and sleeping together that would make the relationship that much more intimate. That's what I have with IV, she is a dear friend who I care for deeply, we are helping each other financially by splitting rent, we share sleep and lovemaking, she cries on me when she is hurt, we laugh together while watching Bobs Burgers, our relationship is exactly what I want minus the things I don't want.

I don't like the term friends with benefits and won't use it to describe my relationship with IV, but as long as I remember the reality of what it means it won't bug me to think that she might describe our relationship that way. It's just a difference in preference of terminology and not a difference in assessing the value of what we have.

I love having smart friends (I'm including you bozos in that as well)
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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
I think that the term Friends with Benefits probably rankled you because it gets tossed around a lot, and most people seem to really mean Fuck Buddy when they say FWB. Perhaps your first reaction was connected to the thought that you ought to be regarded as more than a fuck buddy. I wrestled similarly with the term FWB; hence I prefer the term "lover-friend," which holds more meaning for me. But really, having a friend is awesome, and having one with whom you share your body is awesome, too! So, FWB doesn't bother me as much as it used to. The thing is - for me anyway - just to be clear about what the words "friend" and "benefits" mean to you. It is interesting that she was talking about CV and you extrapolated from there and applied the FWB to yourself when she actually did not apply it to you at that moment. What kept you from asking her what she would call her relationship with you during the initial conversation? Did you not want to hear her answer, in case she did indeed think of you that way? Glad to read you did talk more about it with her.

Heh, my kinda topic... glad Eponine linked me to it.

I see a massive difference between "[whatever] buddy" and "friends with [whatever kind of] benefits". Someone I call a friend, instead of merely some kind of acquaintance, must be someone who connects with me on grounds of mutual love.

Thus, to me, every healthy relationship is simply a form of FWB, just with the type of benefits differing from case to case... and that's quite different from empty commitment on the one extreme, or from the loose acquaintancey fooling around of "[whatever] buddies" on the other - the former I loathe with a burning passion; the latter doesn't seem my personal cuppa, but sounds okay enough to me if everyone involved agrees on it.

As for commitment... well, as I said, its extreme just sounds like a Fate Worse Than Death to me; so I recoil from the concept in general. I'm a deeply non-committal, independent kind of person... one of the coolest things to know about a 'ship I'm happy in, like the one I share with R. for over five years by now, is that either of us is perfectly free to up and leave at any time we might choose to do so. There's nothing at all making us contractually obliged spending time together or continuing our ship, and IMO, that's awesome - it gives me the feeling that whenever we come together to share a part of our life, it's solely because that's what we really want to do, right now. Any form of commitment would poison that to me by putting the nagging doubt in my mind "are we doing this because we want to, or just out of duty to the contract we made?"

I guess that's why my reaction to the term FWB is pretty different from yours, Marcus... where you see it as devaluing your ship, to my ears the same connotations of non-committal are a pedigree of freedom and mutual love.
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  #42  
Old 08-10-2013, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by InsaneMystic View Post
I guess that's why my reaction to the term FWB is pretty different from yours, Marcus... where you see it as devaluing your ship, to my ears the same connotations of non-committal are a pedigree of freedom and mutual love.
We have the same view of FWB and fuckbuddy, the reason you have a different reaction is because you are not struggling your brain instinctively conflating those two terms. Upon a bit of reflection and discussion it has become pretty clear that's what was happening. I am still not comfortable with the term FWB because it still gives me the same knee-jerk response but once I give it enough time and reflection I will eventually recognize it for what it is.

This is just another one of those hurdles I needed to get through; another trapping of traditional thought my mind hasn't figured out how to wriggle out of yet. It's a process so I'm glad to be working through it.
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  #43  
Old 08-10-2013, 03:47 PM
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I think that the term Friends with Benefits probably rankled you because it gets tossed around a lot, and most people seem to really mean Fuck Buddy when they say FWB...Perhaps your first reaction was connected to the thought that you ought to be regarded as more than a fuck buddy
That seems to be the case. Intellectually I know that they should mean very different things but they are so often used interchangeably that I think I'm just trained to see them as being the same.

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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
It is interesting that she was talking about CV and you extrapolated from there and applied the FWB to yourself when she actually did not apply it to you at that moment. What kept you from asking her what she would call her relationship with you during the initial conversation? Did you not want to hear her answer, in case she did indeed think of you that way?
IVs feelings and thoughts are not a mystery to me. We have had many explicit conversations about how she views relationships; both from the abstract and in detail. When she and CV were having this conversation it wasn't new information and I know that it does apply to how she approaches her relationship with me.

It makes sense that you'd ask this question but in this particular case it isn't a communication breakdown.
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  #44  
Old 08-10-2013, 05:58 PM
InsaneMystic InsaneMystic is offline
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We have the same view of FWB and fuckbuddy, the reason you have a different reaction is because you are not struggling your brain instinctively conflating those two terms. Upon a bit of reflection and discussion it has become pretty clear that's what was happening. I am still not comfortable with the term FWB because it still gives me the same knee-jerk response but once I give it enough time and reflection I will eventually recognize it for what it is.

This is just another one of those hurdles I needed to get through; another trapping of traditional thought my mind hasn't figured out how to wriggle out of yet. It's a process so I'm glad to be working through it.
Even better, then. Good luck on it!
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  #45  
Old 08-10-2013, 06:45 PM
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Even better, then. Good luck on it!
You guys are a great resource for me. It really is a boon in my life to be able to come here and vet out some of my issues with people whose opinions I respect. It's just one more source of knowledge for me to draw from
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  #46  
Old 08-10-2013, 09:57 PM
Eponine Eponine is offline
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Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
We have the same view of FWB and fuckbuddy, the reason you have a different reaction is because you are not struggling your brain instinctively conflating those two terms. Upon a bit of reflection and discussion it has become pretty clear that's what was happening. I am still not comfortable with the term FWB because it still gives me the same knee-jerk response but once I give it enough time and reflection I will eventually recognize it for what it is.
I can relate to that. Now I've been pretty familiar with and accepting of InsaneMystic's view on FWB (which is similar to IV's), through our discussions on another forum. But the first time I read about it, my gut feeling was "but a relationship is more than that..." The funny thing is, as asexuals, when we talk about FWB it doesn't even have to be sexual benefits, but I still had a knee-jerk reaction to conflate FWB and fuck buddies.

I think another issue for me in the past was I still saw a romantic relationship as "more than" a non-romantic one such as FWB. But as I adapted to relationship anarchist thinking and got inclined to dissolve the romace/friendship distinction, I started to comfortably call my relationship with A "friends with romantic/sensual benefits."
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Last edited by Eponine; 08-10-2013 at 11:31 PM.
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  #47  
Old 08-10-2013, 10:30 PM
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But as I adapted to relationship anarchist thinking and got inclined to dissolve the romace/friendship distinction, I started to comfortably call my relationship with A "friends with romantic/sensual benefits."
This is certainly a point of comfort I am working toward. If my romantic relationships could be as constructive, positive, and effortless as my platonic friendships I would be in a pretty amazing place! I still struggle at times, finding leftover social tradition which doesn't line up with my worldview, but I think that's just part of the journey.

I am fascinated by the asexual point of view when it comes to relationships. I was only recently introduced to the topic by IV, who is very interested in expanding her understanding of non-standard (I don't know how else to say it) sexuality like asexual and transgender. I suspect that a non-sexual approach to relating could probably shed some interesting light on how people relate to each other romantically.
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  #48  
Old 08-11-2013, 03:28 AM
Eponine Eponine is offline
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I am fascinated by the asexual point of view when it comes to relationships. I was only recently introduced to the topic by IV, who is very interested in expanding her understanding of non-standard (I don't know how else to say it) sexuality like asexual and transgender. I suspect that a non-sexual approach to relating could probably shed some interesting light on how people relate to each other romantically.
I'm glad to hear people say they're interested in the asexual point of view. Well, actually many/most asexuals still hold standard or traditional relationship views, except that they don't want sex. But I do think being asexual has its advantages when it comes to adopting unconventional relationship views, generally speaking. For example, when sex is taken out of the picture, the line between romantic and platonic relationships becomes a lot more blurry and fluid ("What's the difference between romantic and platonic love" is one of the most frequently asked questions on AVEN, the biggest asexual forum).

For me personally, what makes romantic relationships different from platonic ones is the initial NRE/infatuation stage and desire for physical intimacy. But once the NRE has faded, a romantic relationship can feel pretty much like "friendship with sensual benefits" to me. My relationship with A probably looks like "just a close friendship" and therefore "incomplete" by mainstream standard (especially with the long distance), but for me, a relationship in the grey area between "just friendship" and full-blown romance is awesome, because it's effortless and drama-free.
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  #49  
Old 08-12-2013, 02:40 AM
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Wow Marcus, this new addition to the thread is just what I needed for an eye-opener. Thank you for sharing this.

My views of commitment are not unlike yours. Although I am married, what that has always meant to me is that as long as my husband and I still love each other and want to be together, we are committed to working together through whatever wrenches life throws in our gears; that we won't throw in the towel just because living with someone entails challenges that single people don't face. Of course, there's nothing preventing anyone from doing that outside of a marriage, but for me it seems like the "official" commitment helps me remember it a little better. The legal benefits don't hurt, either...

The eye-opener call is that recently, I don't think I've been applying your philosophy in both directions. While I've been expressing myself when and how I want, I haven't been very accepting of my husband expressing his love when and how he wants. I had set expectations that were probably unrealistic, and was getting disappointed when he wasn't living up to them. After reading this, I realize how unfair that is.
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