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Old 08-07-2011, 02:50 AM
NobodySpecial NobodySpecial is offline
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Default Definition of "romance/romantic"

I was talking with my friend that told me she is poly. I was trying to explain my understanding of polyamory and that it is having more than one romantically involved sexual relationship. She asked me "but what does romantic mean." And mentioned that for every person there seems to be a different definition of poly. (Also, there was discussion about mono and poly, so that may have been where that definition request came from).

And looking at the definition thread, it seems that my understanding was accurate by standards here, but the question remains, what is romantic?

One dictionary defined romantic as "Displaying, expressive of, or conducive to love." And romance as "Ardent emotional attachment or involvement between people; love." I dislike using the word love simply because of the many different ways people use it and many of them are not interchangeable at all. Having the same name for conflicting ideas leads to confusion and misinformation at best, misleading and manipulation at worst.

For example, I have learned over my years that I do not want to have sex with someone unless I truly care for them. But I don't know if I'd call that "romantic."

I get the feel that the commitment to having open, emotionally mature, working relationships is important, and I think that open or not, emotionally mature working relationships are a very noble goal.
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Old 08-07-2011, 07:04 AM
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Love, romantic love, caring, intimacy.. It does have different meanings for different people. I'm gonna copy and paste from some theories of love. After reading these theories, I tend to think of romantic as the Rubin's intimacy, Hatfield's combo of both compassionate and passionate combined, and Sternberg's intimacy and passion. People use many of these words interchangeably though, but I would think romantic love would be a mix of passion/intimacy.

" Psychologist Zick Rubin proposed that romantic love is made up of three elements: attachment, caring and intimacy. Attachment is the need to receive care, approval and physical contact with the other person. Caring involves valuing the other persons needs and happiness as much as your own. Intimacy refers to the sharing of thoughts, desires, and feelings with the other person."

"According to psychologist Elaine Hatfield and her colleagues, there are two basic types of love: compassionate love and passionate love. Compassionate love is characterized by mutual respect, attachment, affection and trust. Compassionate love usually develops out of feelings of mutual understanding and shared respect for one another.

Passionate love is characterized by intense emotions, sexual attraction, anxiety and affection. When these intense emotions are reciprocated, people feel elated and fulfilled. Unreciprocated love leads to feelings of despondence and despair. Hatfield suggests that passionate love is transitory, usually lasting between 6 and 30 months.

Hatfield also suggests that passionate love arises when cultural expectations encourage falling in love, when the person meets your preconceived ideas of an ideal love, and when you experience heightened physiological arousal in the presence of the other person.

Ideally, passionate love then leads to compassionate love, which is far more enduring. While most people desire relationships that combine the security and stability of compassionate with the intensity of passionate love, Hatfield believes that this is rare."

"Psychologist Robert Sternberg proposed a triangular theory of love that suggests that there are three components of love: intimacy, passion and commitment. Different combinations of these three components result in different types of love. For example, a combination of intimacy and commitment results in compassionate love, while a combination of passion and intimacy leads to passionate love.

According to Sternberg, relationships built on two or more elements are more enduring that those based upon a single component. Sternberg uses the term consummate love to describe a combination of intimacy, passion and commitment. While this type of love is the strongest and most enduring, Sternberg suggests that this type of love is rare."
http://psychology.about.com/od/lovea...riesoflove.htm
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Old 08-09-2011, 11:21 AM
ClosetPoly ClosetPoly is offline
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The only two cents I can offer is that in my case, my partner fell deeply and truly in love with a common friend of us, and thus realised she was poly, before she told any of us. So, romantic in her setting is deep true love, for both of us. :-)
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Old 08-09-2011, 05:32 PM
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Poly is just like being mono, but with more people. As far as romantic, that is more the expression of love. While I don't stop loving the women in my life, there may be days when I don't express it.

Last edited by nicothoe; 08-09-2011 at 05:40 PM.
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:40 PM
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I think of romance as the outward actions or expressions of certain feelings. You can have "romantic notions" about a variety of topics, and usually what that means is that you are caught up in the need for demonstration of feeling or an idealistic fantasy. Sometimes romance can be rather superfluous.

In relationships, I think romance is the demonstrative and expressive element. Romance accompanies the love, intimacy, and/or desire one experiences with another. When you romance someone, you make an effort to do or say things that let him or her know how you feel (or to get them in the sack).

A "romantic relationship," is obviously distinct from a platonic relationship or a purely sexual relationship. I think what separates it is that usually physical intimacy and love is there, and those feelings are expressed openly (if not openly to the public then to each other). That's the best way I can explain how I see romance, anyway, but it wasn't easy.
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Old 08-09-2011, 10:54 PM
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I suppose I think of healthy 'romantic love' as a combination of profound affection, deep caring for the well-being of the parties involved, and the presence and desire for intimacies of various kinds (emotional, physical, intellectual, spiritual...). It also importantly involves trust.

(There are unhealthy kinds of 'romantic love', as well. But I don't want to focus on these pathological occurrences here.)

As a middle aged guy, I'd say that most people who are on a growthful path in life will have an ever evolving experience and understanding of such love, and -- ideally -- will become less and less possessive, fearful (e.g., of hurt / loss), and anxious about such love. And, ideally, we will become less and less self-centered in how we understand and express / live our love.

Mature love of this kind, I think, is a natural and spontaneous sharing of care of two kinds, simultaneously: self-care and other-care--, and the sharing of mutually enjoyable and enriching experience/s becomes a crucial focus. True lovers, I think, endeavor to help one another to flourish.

Lovers of this kind are in most respects exactly like very good friends. And self love/care is the foundation upon which such friendship is built.


====



Edit:

Many so-called "experts" on romantic love describe it as a sort of syndrome which, as they define it, must have the characteristics of obsession, single-partner focus, jealous attachment, anxiety, obsessing on fear of loss, and so forth. But I think what they are describing is not quite so entirely biologically driven nor definitively characteristic of "romantic love" (in all of its possible forms) as their "data" suggest. What they are mapping, here, is a statistical trend, not human potential and human nature. In other words, love evolves. It evolves in individuals and in societies. People can outgrow fearful, possessive, "neurotic," obsessive ... loverly love. And we do, but not yet enough people to show up as statistically important to the so-called "experts"--who seem to ignore the statistically smaller populations.
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Last edited by River; 08-09-2011 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 08-10-2011, 02:49 PM
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I'd like to ask participants here this.:

Are you anxious about the loss of your loved one/s?

Let's answer on a numerical scale.

No, not at all - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 - Intenesely, yes!

Since the answer may be variable over time, think of averaging your numbers in over the last ten days to two weeks.

I think I'm at about 1.5 - 2.

And I'm newly in love with a new person, and with her, too, I'm in the same number range. (This is exotically new for me! I'd have been at a 6 or more when I was younger.)

Most of the stuff I've read on "romantic love" have anxiety -- often obsessive anxiety -- over loss/rejection as a principle characteristic of "love", especially new love. By their standards, I'm not in love at all, apparently, 'cause I'm not scared.
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by River View Post
I'd like to ask participants here this.:

Are you anxious about the loss of your loved one/s?

Let's answer on a numerical scale.

No, not at all - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 - Intenesely, yes!

Since the answer may be variable over time, think of averaging your numbers in over the last ten days to two weeks.

I think I'm at about 1.5 - 2.
I'd likely be in the same number range (1 to 2) for anxiety over losing a love. I recognize that this is part personality and part situation and my own decisions have shaped this.

For example, when K (my mono wife) has giving birth to L (our only child--a son), she very nearly died. So I know that I have the capacity for anxiety 10. While she was bleeding on the table I was right there insisting she speak every minute for fear that if she slept, she would not wake. This is not a normal case, of course.

On a daily basis, we're very stable. As such, I have little fear that the relationship will end and thus little anxiety over losing her.

When I have a new interest, the anxiety level for that person increases. Until we get through all the uncomfortable conversations that come with new relationships and poly life, I feel a high concern for rejection. In the past this could be as high as 7 or 8. Because I have the stable foundation with K, I'd say now the level is more like a 4 or maybe 5. After all, I don't need that new person to fulfill all my romantic and sexual needs (like mono life expects), so there's much less pressure for success.

Because I'm poly, I can appreciate each relationship for what makes it special (contrast makes this easier), and I don't need one partner to be all things at all times. That plus being more selective about who I choose in the first place (existing relationships means there's less rush to find a new one) means my relationship anxiety is greatly reduced. This place took much time to reach though.
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sagency View Post
For example, when K (my mono wife) has giving birth to L (our only child--a son), she very nearly died. So I know that I have the capacity for anxiety 10.
Yes, I too certainly imagine certain circumstances could raise my anxiety to that level.

I'm also in a stable and very long term relationship (15 years), and I seldom have much reason to worry about it ending (though, of course, it will one day, if only due to death--sigh).

My other romantic love interest/sort-of-partner (we're in a vague place with definitions because [See River's Blog]), well I have no doubt that I'm in love with her, and she says she's feelin' it too, so this is pretty amazing -- 'cause this just doesn't happen often in my life. (Which is an understatement.) Yet I feel little anxiety about potential loss or rejection. And I think this is due to (a), my having grown up and matured a lot (b) She and I are just amazingly compatible and really, really appreciate one another (c) I'm deeply committed to dharma practice ("Buddhism"), which involves practicing being present with what is--this moment--and maintaining a relaxed and open attitude toward the future (and the past), aka, nonattachment. (She's also a dharma person, which is one of our astonishingly many commonalities.)
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Old 08-10-2011, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NobodySpecial View Post
I was talking with my friend that told me she is poly. I was trying to explain my understanding of polyamory and that it is having more than one romantically involved sexual relationship. She asked me "but what does romantic mean." And mentioned that for every person there seems to be a different definition of poly.
This simple definition may make it easier for your friend to understand, without trying to figure out what romance is :
"The practice, state, or ability, of having more than one sexual loving relationship at the same time, with the full knowledge and consent of all partners involved."
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