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  #11  
Old 03-20-2012, 07:38 PM
CherryBlossomGirl CherryBlossomGirl is offline
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Default Feel it, but don't do anything about it.

i think the thing with feelings is that they can create this pressure to "do something" with them. to talk about them, to make grand gestures or start doing things to preserve a relationship so that our feelings can't get hurt or create situations that are beyond our/their comfort zone.

i think the thing I'm starting to realize is that feelings are just feelings, and that acting on them doesn't necessarily make much sense. Perhaps taking away any sense of urgency for doing anything with/about/because of them is the key to this. feel them, express and accept them to yourself, and figure out what is making you so uncomfortable about them. perhaps spend some time getting clear about what you'd like to have from your relationships that you're not getting with these new feelings in the works.

as for being involved with men who have an m.o. of keeping things casual, they might not even mean that they don't want the structure of the relationship to become more serious. perhaps they're better about compartmentalizing their emotions, or not "doing" anything with them.
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  #12  
Old 03-21-2012, 03:58 AM
sealace sealace is offline
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"As far as attachment goes, that is something different. That is all about expectations and hopes for something more. I think if people have their eyes open, they can feel the fondness and affection without letting themselves get attached and needy. But it takes a certain discipline not to get sucked into the euphoria that clouds our judgment. "

Hmm. Well, I sure wish I could be that way, but when these chemicals take over my brain I find myself getting attached and insecure...at least if I see them fairly regularly. It's just the way I'm made up, I guess. What I wonder about with "casual relationships", then, is if you keep seeing each other, sleeping together and getting to know each other, how on earth can that remain casual? I'm a very deep person who connects on a super deep level with people at times, and keeping that reigned in doesn't seem to work for me.
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  #13  
Old 03-21-2012, 04:08 AM
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NovemberRain NovemberRain is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sealace View Post
"As far as attachment goes, that is something different. That is all about expectations and hopes for something more. I think if people have their eyes open, they can feel the fondness and affection without letting themselves get attached and needy. But it takes a certain discipline not to get sucked into the euphoria that clouds our judgment. "

Hmm. Well, I sure wish I could be that way, but when these chemicals take over my brain I find myself getting attached and insecure...at least if I see them fairly regularly. It's just the way I'm made up, I guess. What I wonder about with "casual relationships", then, is if you keep seeing each other, sleeping together and getting to know each other, how on earth can that remain casual? I'm a very deep person who connects on a super deep level with people at times, and keeping that reigned in doesn't seem to work for me.
I'm wondering if you have the notion that you're wrong (ish?) somehow for not being able to do that?

I'm not sure if I'm deep or shallow. I've been told (by folks with vested interests) that I choose less than available men because I'm afraid to be deeply connected. I don't think that's true. One reason (not the only reason) that I read less than I used to is because I get very attached to the story. I can't get that attached to stories, because I need that energy for my life.
[sorry, I digress]

If you know you're deep, just go with it. Find an OSO you can deeply connect with. If you found a poly guy who didn't want it casual, wouldn't that be 'better' for you? To go with your nature, rather than against it?
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  #14  
Old 03-21-2012, 01:59 PM
sealace sealace is offline
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"If you know you're deep, just go with it. Find an OSO you can deeply connect with. If you found a poly guy who didn't want it casual, wouldn't that be 'better' for you? To go with your nature, rather than against it?"

you're right, november rain. my problem has just been the ones I am physically attracted to have this sort of unavailable mystery. the old story, I guess. and they're not bad, in fact, I may even assume things about them that arent true. when I have brought up concerns they are more than open to discussion. I've just been keeping the concerns to myself, I suppose, to try to "keep it simple".
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  #15  
Old 03-21-2012, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sealace View Post
...when these chemicals take over my brain I find myself getting attached and insecure...at least if I see them fairly regularly. It's just the way I'm made up, I guess.
I have those chemicals at work, too. But knowing that it's chemistry helps, doesn't it? You can, or at least I've found a way to (most of the time), sort of take a step back and have a logical dialogue with myself about it, and sort out the chemical euphoria from the reality. I just keep asking myself questions. It doesn't mean I don't feel the longing or the craziness, but I have to get my feet on the ground and keep myself also facing reality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sealace View Post
What I wonder about with "casual relationships", then, is if you keep seeing each other, sleeping together and getting to know each other, how on earth can that remain casual? I'm a very deep person who connects on a super deep level with people at times, and keeping that reigned in doesn't seem to work for me.
Well, I have parameters within which the casual relationship will not fit. For example, I am single (well, separated), or what I call solo. I live alone. I don't want anyone moving in with me. I also need lots of time to myself. I like being alone. I don't want to be in touch with a lover every day. Give me my space, thank you very much. If, for me, when a relationship moves from casual to serious it would mean moving in together or taking up more of my time, it just wouldn't work for me. So, while there are rare occasions when I am in bed with a lover and wistfully imagining us living together, walking hand-in-hand, meeting each other's families, and sharing our lives more deeply (I allow myself such fantasies), the reality is -- it ain't gonna happen. I know it won't. But I don't hold back in loving and caring about someone because of that.

So, I take a look at what is, and find ways to appreciate that without indulging in the pattern I've been taught since I was little to always want more. It's about living in the present, basically.

Not sure if I've really expressed it very well, but that is what it means to me to maintain a satisfying casual relationship. I don't negate my feelings for a casual lover, as it's the structure that keeps it casual, not the level of emotional involvement. This is just my brand of logic in dealing with it. I will admit, I got to understand it this way after my relationship with Shorty crashed and burned because he wanted it casual and I didn't really know how to do that, became needy, and it was very unattractive to him. It actually had been working perfectly in my life the way it was, but I thought it was supposed to progress to something more committed. He wound up breaking it off in a rather hurtful way. I guess he could feel me glomming onto him and he knew he had limits on what he could give me. But the whole drama of that prompted me to look at my expectations about relationships.

Now I've been conversing with a potential lover who lives far away but comes to my city fairly often. Not only would this be a long-distance relationship, but he is a married poly guy and travels quite a bit. He is looking for someone to do "girlfriend type things" with, as he puts it, but the distance, likely quite infrequent times we'd have together, and limitations of being partnered mean that it would have to be closer to what I call casual than what I would call serious.

As I wrote that last sentence, I realized that, ultimately, it isn't the label that matters. Casual, serious, poly, mono, primary, secondary, blablabla. It's the soul-searching, awareness, and work one puts into creating the types of relationships you want, or finding fulfillment in the relationships that present themselves to you.
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Last edited by nycindie; 05-01-2014 at 05:06 AM.
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  #16  
Old 03-21-2012, 10:05 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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I find myself really fascinated with this thread and its meaty topic!

I am trying something really new for me. I am attempting not to get attached to knowing the 'outcome' of a relationship, whether casual or more involved.

Before, I would have an idea of what a relationship could develop into. I was one of those folks who did not have casual relationships - not because I was consciously avoiding them - but because I got involved in a very serious, intended to be lifelong, partnership with Beaker. As I was monogamous, I never considered another serious partnership alongside that relationship. And since I was monogamous, I did not think about more casual involvements, like a friends with benefits setup. In fact, I did not even meet anybody during those 12 years who, looking back, could have been a FWB as I literally could not imagine that.

So, now that I'm ethically non-monogamous, I can imagine primaries and secondaries and casual and FWBs and all sorts of constellations. I'm seeing Whip, and theoretically still seeing Oil Man. (That is/has fizzled, which is ok.) I did not consider that I could develop feelings for a casual partner and that is what happened with SW. That did not turn out how I had hoped - he is not interested in a more serious connection with me.

But the experience has informed my thinking about future relationships. For instance, I am skeptical that anything long term can develop between Whip and I. He's much younger than me and, more importantly, in a different stage of life. That can make a great deal of difference. However, I am thoroughly enjoying myself, consider him a FWB. So that is a casual connection. I've learned from being with SW that one never knows. So I'm winging it and seeing where, and if, things go. I am very unused to giving up this level of control, of 'knowing the future' would look like for us. (Caveats! Of course, one never truly knows the future.)

And I also learned that, of course, I get attached to my FWBs. I care about them, want them to be happy and do well in what they want to do. I take care to accept the consequences, good, bad, and indifferent, of making that attachment. I struggle with this. And I struggle in trying not to see the future, to not imagine what could be, but try and accept and live in what is.
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  #17  
Old 03-22-2012, 01:35 AM
wildflowers wildflowers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by opalescent View Post
I am attempting not to get attached to knowing the 'outcome' of a relationship, whether casual or more involved.
I think this is a great and healthy approach - probably because I'm also trying it

Several months back I drove myself all kinds of crazy trying to figure out what a relationship meant and where it was going, and I'd given myself a lot of stress that way further back in the past as well. Once I accepted that I didn't know, just had to wait and see, let it (the relationship) have its own life and process, then it became much easier. I enjoy and appreciate the present a lot more, and my boyfriend is subject to far less of my insecurity. And as a result, he has become way more comfortable and open with me, which has really deepened our connection. I think that attitude helps me deal with my husband too, although at the moment he has his own issues which are getting in the way. But even with those issues, the fact that I don't have to know our long term future - hell, I don't know next week! - is helpful.
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  #18  
Old 03-22-2012, 02:44 AM
strixish strixish is offline
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I like what's coming up in this thread.

I have a new relationship. It's very new and exciting. There's a part of me that's very anxious, and wants to define exactly where this going, and talk about my feelings, and make a grand pronouncement about those feelings... and there's really no need. It may or may not develop into something long term, but it sure is sweet and wonderful at the moment.

Maybe, if I can let go of the part of me that feels like I so urgently need to define it, I can better enjoy it as it develops.

So, while I'm not likely to enter any relationship on a strictly casual basis (I prefer solid, romantic, important connections, even if secondary-ish), I could benefit from letting go a little to let things happen.
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  #19  
Old 03-23-2012, 02:24 AM
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redpepper redpepper is offline
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This is a well loved topic I think There has been much discussion about it around these here parts. You might want to do a tag search for "casual sex" "sex" and anything else that looks interesting as there are many stories and thoughts that have been part of discussion here in the past.
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  #20  
Old 03-23-2012, 09:58 AM
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Thanks for the links, nycindie, they were interesting!

The first time I came across the concept of non-attached love it just felt right to me. Before, I wasn't too far off, but somehow there are these cultural norms of what you're supposed to feel at which situation. I think they come from some actual responses of some people, but it doesn't work similarly for everybody. I saw in that moment that the hurt I was afraid would happen if I let myself feel love was actually a disproportionate picture. That is, there was no reason why I would feel so much pain in, say, not getting to be in a romantic relationship with somebody I love. Rather, I've just learned that the pain is what happens by watching movies and reading depictions of it. But I felt that in actuality I can allow myself to feel everything that comes and still not be any more attached to an outcome than I would be otherwise. I can love somebody and not be with them. I can appreciate a person for everything they are, and their precense in my life, and not need them to be there forever.

I feel that with new people I am starting from a clean slate. With my husband Alec I've formed some slightly co-dependent patterns over the years but have been untangling them with determination particularly during the last year. I would say that we are quite independent now, and I love that. I have, btw, merely concentrated on myself and my own behaviours in this process; yet as I change, Alec adapts, and our relationship dynamic changes.

There is still work in the details. Things like this: "We let our partner have their anger and pain and hurt without trying to rescue them so that we don't feel uncomfortable." (From the Love and Attachment article.) I see that I still sometimes (not that often anymore) let Alec's feelings become my feelings. It was such an automatic process that at first it felt weird, sort of cold, to only react to his pain with caring and sympathising and not by having the same pain. But that is healthy, and it is as I want it in a relationship. It is also a way that allows me to truly support, because I don't take his pain; otherwise I would be in equal need of support.

I like how it was put in the same article: "Without being so self-important, we can humbly focus on ourselves instead of making our partner the object of our constant attention and criticism. Instead of trying to find or mold the perfect partner we can become the perfect partner." I think that can be misunderstood if the concept is unclear. As I understand it, it does not mean that one should take any crap from their partner and keep on endlessly trying to change themselves. The meaning is actually pretty much the opposite. In a co-dependent relationship there are unhealthy dynamics at work, and when the two people are enmeshed into each other it is very hard to do anything about the (potential) issues that stem from those dynamics. But once a person focuses on themself and works on becoming independent and making boundaries, i.e. separating their own self from their partner, the dynamics will, firstly, start changing simply due to that and, secondly, it will become clearer where the issues are coming from. This is how the advice is the complete opposite of "take any crap your partner may wish to dish at you". Only once a person becomes more independent, and has worked on their part in the unhealthy dynamics, it is possible to see what crap is produced together and what is produced by the (previously blamed) partner. And only once independent enough it is not too hard to say "I will not take this" even if saying that may mean a break-up.
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