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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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Quote:
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, 02:18 PM
Scott75 Scott75 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeeraReed View Post
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.
As some have said, there are as many different types of poly as there are people practicing it, and I think this is true. I personally don't do casual relationships very well. This doesn't mean that I can't take to someone quickly; I can become attracted to someone and even feel what I think of as love after meeting someone just once. That being said, I like to think there are different types of love; "love at first sight" is what I would call beginner love. This may -progress- into more serious types of love, but simply seeing someone once generally isn't enough to build much of a bond with someone. Some people may choose to do more then just a 'hi/chat chat/goodbye' first meetup, but I personally am not fond of this approach. Put simply, anything beyond a compliment (you're cute/intelligent/beautiful) is generally going too far, especially if you don't know if the feelings you have for them are mutual. Some even think that a compliment like one of those above is too much for a first meeting.

I've frequently delved into the different forms of non monogamy out there, and have now made multiple threads on the subject. I recently made a post over at the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association (this is the association that's was in court representing polyamory in the recent polygamy case over in BC). Unfortunately, the moderator there seems to be asleep at the wheel, as there's a post before mine that was posted in February and still hasn't been approved. So I'll simply post what I said here instead:

*****************

I define polyamory differently depending on who I'm talking to. If someone has never heard of polyamory, I tend to tell them that polyamory is essentially ethical non monogamy. I may also go into the words within poly, poly = many, amor = love, so many loves. If people balk at the notion of many loves, I point out that most people love more then one family member; I have ofcourse shifted the meaning of polyamory to include -all- types of love here, not just sexual love.
*
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. I've been told that you can't love someone who you lie (or omit telling) something to; I've countered that I don't think love should be defined so narrowly. Someone else has said that she didn't want to associate in any way with people who cheat, that it was hard enough to persuade people who might think that polyamory involved this element. To which I said what I said above; I simply define polyamory differently for different people; beginner's can get the simple version, but for someone already knowledgeable on polyamory, I think they can be ready for getting into more nuances.
*
Make no mistake, I do -not- approve of cheating, I'm simply saying that I don't think we should be so hasty to reject their being included in polyamory, even if it's the type we disapprove of. Another thing, if we include cheaters, the number of polyamorous people skyrockets. As someone else said, this isn't a popularity contest, but the fact of the matter is that I think cheating is an integral factor of the monogamous mindset; in many ways, it can be seen as poly people who are very in the closet and some do indeed break free from cheating and "become" polyamorous (by which I mean they stop cheating and tell their partners that they're with someone else).
*
I have also explored the crossover between polyamory, swinging and sex work. This has been highly controversial. I was removed from a poly group after bringing this up, and another one decided that the thread didn't have anything to do with polyamory and put it in the place to talk about non poly things. That being said, I stand by my beliefs here, and I challenge anyone to find flaws in my reasoning. Here are a few of the threads where I brought these subjects up:
On Polyamory.com:
The crossover between Polyamory, Swinging and Sex work
*
On Polyamorous Percolations:
The crossover between Polyamory, Swinging and Sex work
*
On the Toronto Escort Review Board:
The crossover between Polyamory, Swinging and Sex work
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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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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 when I was with Lively: 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 I've been casually seeing my friend Lively for nine months now and, although we are both much more comfortable with each other, I am still feeling this cloud of bliss envelop me whenever we're together. So, maybe keeping a little distance keeps NRE hanging around longer. Hmmm...
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Last edited by nycindie; 03-27-2012 at 04:51 PM.
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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 03-27-2012, 05:05 PM
Cleo Cleo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeeraReed View Post

Can you have a husband and a lover? How is that different from having a husband and a boyfriend?
I was just thinking about this today and actually just posted the question on my blog when I said, I have (a husband and) 2 lovers, or is it 2 boyfriends, I don't know..

and then I started thinking about it some more and I realized that I see one of them as a lover, and the other as a boyfriend. Both relationships have their pros and cons and they both make me happy. With lover, yes like nycindie says, this is a casual realationship.. there is caring, a strong connection, and its not all about the sex, but its casual.. a lover-friend, for sure...
But with boyfriend, there is much more sharing of daily stuff, being more involved in eachothers emotional lives (although not yet really in each others real day to day lives).
But I would describe neither of them as men I have 'committed partnerships' with.

Of course, the HUGE irony in all of this is that I would sometimes like it if lover were more interested in my daily life, and that I sometimes feel that boyfriend is coming a bit too close.
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Old 03-27-2012, 06:27 PM
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drtalon drtalon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MeeraReed View Post
I need more resources for how to have not-quite-poly relationships. ... 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.
I wasn't aware loving everyone equally was one of the tenets of poly. I don't even think it's reasonable, since everyone is unique and irreplaceable. In the metaphysics of my universe, it's impossible to love everyone equally. (Or any set of one or more people equally to any other set of one or more people, if you want to get technical about it.)

Quote:
Can you have a husband and a lover?
Sure

Quote:
How is that different from having a husband and a boyfriend?
You're calling one a lover and one a boyfriend.

Oh, you meant does using those labels for those people in your life carry special meaning about your relationships with them or how you treat each other... In that case, the answer is: it's up to you how those labels indicate different kinds of relationships between you and it's up to you how you treat each other.

Quote:
Can you have a FWB that you are actually friends with?
Yes. But, more importantly, I think you are hung up on labels to the extent that you're missing the point. You get to decide how you want your relationships work, then you have to negotiate your wants/needs with the people you'd like to have relationships with. If you're lucky, they'll agree or come to compromise with you.

Quote:
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?
How do you make the friends you don't have sex with feel valued and cared for? I think friendships are kinds of relationships, too.

Quote:
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 don't agree that FWB have to be kept secret. That said, I also dated (once) a woman who wanted to be FWB but would only be FWB while we both weren't having sex with anyone else. This leads me to believe there are people with ideas about FWB that I completely don't understand.

Quote:
And how do you meet a new FWB when all the single men who used to be everywhere are now married with babies?
Hi. How you doin'?

I'm childfree by choice and would prefer to remain single, though there are some situations where I would consider marriage as a potential solution.

Quote:
And anyone who claims to want a FWB really just wants sex with no strings attached?
Maybe. I'm not a woman on a dating site, but I hear it's pretty awful.

Last edited by drtalon; 03-27-2012 at 06:32 PM.
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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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