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  #31  
Old 08-03-2013, 05:08 AM
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fuchka fuchka is offline
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I used to have an aversion to the idea of being "in love with" someone, that it creates this baby of "our love" which takes a life of its own and you become stupidly beholded to it.

I recognised a similar sense in the way you talked about "working on relationships".

For me, now, it's largely semantic. But it's still an important difference to me. I don't owe my relationships anything (per se). But I owe it to myself to recognise what I want, and do the best at achieving that. And I owe it to others to treat them well, be honest (esp about expectations) and all that other good stuff.

But yeah... sometimes now I do say things like "I value our relationship and I want to make this work with you." And that makes sense to me, and doesn't freak me out like OMG WE'VE CREATED A MONSTER THAT WILL SLOWLY BUT SURELY CONSUME OUR INDIVIDUAL SELVES AND VOMIT AN ABOMINATION

Then again, maybe I've crossed to the dark side and don't even know it.

Keep rocking things the way it makes sense to you - all power to ya.
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  #32  
Old 08-03-2013, 11:21 AM
wildflowers wildflowers is offline
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I agree with Fuchka; this seems like largely a semantic distinction.

As I read it, you don't like thinking of "the relationship" because to you it implies a duty or a mandated outcome, and for me it doesn't automatically have that association.

If I have a friend or love whose presence in my life I value and want to maintain, but I am having difficulty understanding or communicating with this person, I will put effort into into improving the situation. To me, that would be working (obligation free, out of choice) on our relationship. Maybe you'd rephrase it as each person working on him/herself at the same time together, or working on communication rather than on the relationship, but to me it's not that important of a distinction.

Anyway, thanks for explaining how you see it. I like a bunch of what you write, but this point, which seems particularly important to you, had been puzzling me.
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  #33  
Old 08-03-2013, 01:55 PM
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I agree with Fuchka; this seems like largely a semantic distinction.
How language is used conveys our meaning and intention of action. The fact that it is a semantic argument (you are both correct, that's what it is) does nothing to diminish the critical nature of the distinction.

"Working on the relationship" is a statement of action, one that is diluting the importance of dealing with ones issues and placing artificial importance on the longevity of the association. It is a distraction from reality, shifting focus from the issue at hand "I am insecure, what do I need to do about that?" (which is basically what this post was about) and placing it instead on "What can we do to force this failing association to continue ambling on?" (which is the opposite of a constructive conversation).

So while I agree that what we are having is a semantic discussion, I disagree that this makes it any less important. Words are powerful and they carry our intentions with them. I suppose as long as "working on the relationship" doesn't carry with it the distraction from self improvement and the confusion of the importance of longevity over living genuinely then it doesn't matter. However, I will continue to make this point and prompt people to have this conversation with me. The reason being, just because *you* might be constructive enough to not be distracted by this phrase as I've described above, I would hate to encourage other people to continue having unhealthy couplings simply because a turn of phrase they heard reinforced on here gave them "permission". Our lives are jam packed with excuses to externalize responsibility for our actions and motivation to live restricted and disingenuous lives, my hope is to minimize that.

No, I am not a crusader. No, I don't particularly care about the lives of the strangers on this forum or elsewhere - but while I'm on here talking with people I might as well be expressing the ideals that I think will bring about the most flourishing.
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  #34  
Old 08-03-2013, 08:21 PM
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fuchka fuchka is offline
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Sure, I hear you. Words are powerful. I too have particular phrasings I prefer / avoid because of how I'd like to grow. e.g. I dislike the use of "talk to" as in "I was talking to him about that" and would rather use "talk with". Just sounds more like a dialogue than a monologue, which is what a conversation should be.

I suppose the downside of having strong views about terminology (like you have, about "working on the relationship") is when the words themselves are broad enough to encompass a range of meanings that include both the meaning you dislike and the meaning you like. Because then when you say something like "'relationships take work' is bullshit" - people can get confused. Do you mean that you won't make any effort, in order to improve how things feel between you and this other person - if things are tense? Of course not!

Many times, you can rephrase to say "I need to work on this aspect of myself."

Other times, though, that's a bit of a stretch (in my mind.) E.g. there's been a miscommunication. Things feel gross. I'm really tense and I need to sit down and talk through what this situation is bringing up for me. I'm finding it difficult to relate to you at the moment. We need to make time to work this through. Maybe neither of us have anything in particular to work on personally - we just need to put the time in to talk and unravel.

As I've said, I recognise where you're coming from - having a violent aversion to allowing a demented idea of "the relationship" to grow. But you seem to be saying more than "I hate this phrase because to many people it implies X". You seem to be saying "don't say X, cos it grows the wrong conceptual structure in your head." I disagree with that. I think some words have powerful tendencies to grow a particular way, if unchecked. But words are also very malleable and with mindfulness (coupled with shared understandings, in conversations) you can take them almost anywhere. And internalise what exactly it is that you mean or don't mean by things that could be ambiguous.

I think I do understand what your objections are. Nonetheless I wouldn't have the issues you have with those phrasings. I find it quite abrasive/alienating for someone to insist I phrase things how they think is best. Not saying you were doing this, and also this is your blog so clearly not an open debate. Just trying to explain how I share your level of passion (I reckon!) for not seeing a relationship as this third entity you have to suckle and pamper, while still being OK with talking in ways that acknowledge that sometimes I do certain things in order to improve how well I'm relating with someone.

You've said you feel "committed" to IV. I'd say that's a similarly loaded word, that some people use to reinforce an idea of an external entity that requires their loyalty. But - you weren't using it like that. You were describing a feeling of commitment. Not an obligation you had to honour.

Yup, we have to choose our words carefully and - with particular words especially - occasionally have to clarify what we meant by that. But ultimately, I reckon, whatever works for us is okay.
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  #35  
Old 08-03-2013, 11:19 PM
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You've said you feel "committed" to IV. I'd say that's a similarly loaded word
Commitment is a very frustrating word to me. I only use the word to mean one thing, and unfortunately (unlike the other uses for the word) I am not aware of another word that can be used. Commitment can mean "life long", "married", "sharing bills", "having kids", "sexual exclusivity", or it can mean... well... committed. I only use it to mean that I view my relationships as important and that I will not abandon it willy-nilly, that unless there is a fundamental inability to connect and there doesn't appear to be the likelihood of changing - I don't foresee ending it. While these other uses of the word have much more precise synonyms I am not aware of another word that shares this definition.

Because of that, I very rarely use it. The concept is too specific and the word has WAY too many uses - uses which are antithetical to how I mean it.

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You seem to be saying "don't say X, cos it grows the wrong conceptual structure in your head."...
I am making the assertion that talking about the relationship as if it were some kind of entity which needs to be addressed is counter productive, yes. I am further making the assertion that when we need to "work on the relationship" that what we are in essence doing is refusing to recognize that the nature of the relationship is changing or possibly ending and are instead placing artificial value on longevity and stagnation.

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I find it quite abrasive/alienating for someone to insist I phrase things how they think is best
If I had a nickle for every time someone on these boards told me I was abrasive. I have considered just copy and pasting a disclaimer at the top of all of my posts: "I am not telling you what to do. I am not your master. I am expressing my own point of view which may be in conflict with ideals you cling to. I may not be gentle with how I express my words but know that I have no interest in harming you or making you cry."

People on here often find my method of expressing my ideas to be offensive. I'm more interested in discussing the meat of the matter and not so much interested in getting distracted by hand holding and coddling. Some people find me to be offensive because my ideas are contrary to their own and make them feel uneasy. Maybe people have a problem with my ideas because they are just bad ideas... I'm sure some folks think that is the case.

If they don't present me with a well thought out counter argument (as you just did) then I don't much care that they don't agree with me. I am not so much interested in getting people to stop using that phrase (though I do think it would be an improvement to how people relate to one another) as I am interested in causing a discussion like this one to happen. You may disagree with me fuchka, but what is actually happening is that you are working with me through this idea and helping me to better articulate my point.
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  #36  
Old 08-04-2013, 12:24 AM
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Quote:
You may disagree with me fuchka, but what is actually happening is that you are working with me through this idea and helping me to better articulate my point.
I know this

Another thought I had, when reading this:

Quote:
just because *you* might be constructive enough to not be distracted by this phrase as I've described above, I would hate to encourage other people to continue having unhealthy couplings simply because a turn of phrase they heard reinforced on here gave them "permission".
was how the same could be said for speaking in a way that can be taken to imply you don't value making an effort to relate well to other people or to spend time becoming intimate with someone (e.g. "I don't see the point of working on relationships".)

I think it's important to be clear about how you're nourishing a connection vs not, and to be aware of your agency here. You hang out with someone, you get to know them. You don't, you don't. Simple as that. I decide who I want to be close to, in what way, and adjust my energy accordingly.

Yup, longevity is not necessarily a good thing. A relationship that ends when it should is a success.

That said, I've found relationships not to be an on-off thing for me anyway. People I no longer relate to in this way, I can generally still relate to in this way. The relationship hasn't ended per se, we just do different things together now and have different understandings/expectations of how our lives relate (or don't) at the moment.

I didn't say your attitude was abrasive. I'd like my nickel back, please I was just stating that being told what to do (instead of sharing reasoning and at most trying to convince) annoys me. It was maybe at most a warning, but definitely not an accusation. If you insisted that I use the words you do, I wouldn't value your opinion too much. But I feel I understand your project here - you're expressing your world view. I'm doing much the same.

I appreciate people who disagree with me because it clarifies my own thoughts. Hey, even abrasion is useful sometimes.
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  #37  
Old 08-04-2013, 05:27 AM
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I know this ... I appreciate people who disagree with me because it clarifies my own thoughts. Hey, even abrasion is useful sometimes.
I rewrote that statement a couple of times. I was worried that it was going to come off as though I was trying to educate you on something you were pretty obviously aware of (I've debated enough people to be able to tell the difference between the ones who are working shit out and using me as a proving ground and those who simply want to be 'right'). What I meant was more to illustrate that I recognize that *this* is the way growth through debate is meant to happen. You and I are both trying to articulate our views and are learning in the process of expressing them; regardless of whether or not we agree on the details.

I like win-win situations.

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Originally Posted by fuchka View Post
I think it's important to be clear about how you're nourishing a connection vs not, and to be aware of your agency here. You hang out with someone, you get to know them. You don't, you don't. Simple as that. I decide who I want to be close to, in what way, and adjust my energy accordingly.
Well put. You may see this in my future posts /stolen

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I didn't say your attitude was abrasive. I'd like my nickel back, please I was just stating that being told what to do (instead of sharing reasoning and at most trying to convince) annoys me. It was maybe at most a warning, but definitely not an accusation.
I've been thinking about it all day. IV and I even discussed it, which is good because it was an opportunity to bring her into the core conundrum so she could offer her opinion (she did, I am continually impressed by her).

There is always a delicate balance in how to communicate with people "brutally". While my intention might be to deliver the fruit without any of the rind, I might, in actuality, be throwing the rind free fruit at the intended recipient.

While I am not willing to curtsy to get my information to its intended target, I also don't want to alienate people simply because I am being difficult when it comes to my word usage. So, what I have been pondering today is how to say "the statement 'working on the relationship' is bullshit" without taping the message to a brick and throwing it through a window. In the later case, the message received is "a brick was thrown through my window" and the note is irrelevant. Perhaps I need to find a more concise method to offer people that discussion - since having the discussion is what I think brings about the most value.
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  #38  
Old 08-06-2013, 01:26 PM
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IV and I even discussed it, which is good because it was an opportunity to bring her into the core conundrum so she could offer her opinion (she did, I am continually impressed by her).
I meant to tell you guys about my conversation with IV about this but forgot.

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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  #39  
Old 08-06-2013, 02:34 PM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
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Intelligence and sense of humor are the two biggest turn-ons in my experience. Everything else is gravy.
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  #40  
Old 08-07-2013, 07:51 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. 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.
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