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  #21  
Old 11-25-2013, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by hyperskeptic View Post
I'm not sure I'd go the direction of labeling poly+RA as "true poly" . . . that seems a little heavy-handed to me, a little too much about ideological purity for my taste.
"True poly" hahahah

Polyamory is about having, desiring, or being allowed to have multiple romantic associations. Distinctions about rules, boundaries, longevity, sex, courtesy, kink, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc are personal preference and in no way impact the definition of the word. Instead of trying to redefine polyamory, I suggest people just add a prefix to it if they feel it presents assumptions which they don't agree with... or just use a different word.
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  #22  
Old 11-26-2013, 04:13 AM
Eponine Eponine is offline
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Joe has a romantic friendship with another man named Paul who he loves just as much as Taylor. Joe and Paulís relationship looks very similar to Joe and Taylorís relationship, but itís a little different simply because Paul isnít interested in dating or having sex with Joe in the first place. Paulís straight.
It might be "my literal" but if Paul is straight, isn't interested in dating or having sex with Joe, how can they have a "romantic friendship"? I mean, if Paul describes it as that too, sure, but if not, surely it's a friendship. Even if Paul did call it that I would wonder what aspects they consider "romantic". I think non sexual affection is within the realms of friendship if the people want it to be. Affection doesn't necessarily constitute romance, nor does sex. It's friendship which is absolutely as important as a relationship.
Good question. I guess people have different interpretations of "romantic friendship". Some may call a relationship a "romantic friendship" if it involves behaviors that are usually reserved to romantic partners (e.g. physical affection), even if it doesn't involve romantic feelings. Some may apply the label to a relationship that involves ambiguous feelings between platonic and romantic (and some people just can't distinguish between platonic and romantic feelings). Personally I only use the term when I'm romantically attracted to the other person though.
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  #23  
Old 11-26-2013, 06:54 AM
london london is offline
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I actually knew a gay girl and a straight girl who were friends. The gay girl often said they were girlfriends without the sex or something similar and eventually, the straight girl had talk to her about how uncomfortable it made her
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  #24  
Old 11-26-2013, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Eponine View Post
Good question. I guess people have different interpretations of "romantic friendship". Some may call a relationship a "romantic friendship" if it involves behaviors that are usually reserved to romantic partners (e.g. physical affection), even if it doesn't involve romantic feelings. Some may apply the label to a relationship that involves ambiguous feelings between platonic and romantic (and some people just can't distinguish between platonic and romantic feelings). Personally I only use the term when I'm romantically attracted to the other person though.
This brings me right back around to the line of thinking that led me to starting this thread.

The thing is, 'romance' is a treacherous term for anyone who takes a radical approach to relating to other people - that is, an approach that tries to get at the roots of things - because 'romance' is a bundle of ideas and expectations that defines a very particular and tightly circumscribed corner of the space of possible relationships. It's something like all-aflutter-gushy-feelings-attraction-and-affection-and-devotion-hearts-and-flowers-and-candlelight-dinners-leading-inexorably-to-exclusive-commitment-emotional-intimacy-physical-intimacy-first-base-second-base-third-base-home-marriage-and-babies.

If being poly just means extracting the "exclusive commitment" and "marriage" and maybe "babies" parts and setting them aside, we'd still be left with a strange stew of feelings and expressions and degrees of commitment.

What seems to happen in practice is that people use the term 'romantic' to refer to just one or another ingredient in that stew - sometimes all-aflutter-gushy-feelings, sometimes hearts-and-flowers-and-candlelight-dinners, sometimes attraction-and-affection, sometimes physical-intimacy-first-base-second-base-etc - which can really only cause confusion.

Hence the problem with 'romantic friendship.' Sometimes the 'romantic' part seems to signify feelings, sometimes expectations, sometimes actions. It doesn't help a lot to juxtapose 'romantic' with 'platonic', because that term has issues of its own.

(I've written about this elsewhere, so I won't belabor it here. Suffice it to say that I don't use the term 'platonic' because what Plato actually says about love is deeply, deeply offensive to me. It ain't really love at all.)

Before I came across and started considering the usefulness of 'relationship anarchy', I was already at the point of un-bundling conventional notions of romance, and avoiding the term 'romantic' altogether.

Taken out of the context of traditional monogamy, it just doesn't signify.

Last edited by hyperskeptic; 11-26-2013 at 01:35 PM.
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  #25  
Old 11-27-2013, 03:02 AM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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Hyperskeptic, I am really excited by this thread! I also noticed Eponine's recent use of the term Relationship Anarchy and it really resonated with me.

I think you are right--it overlaps with poly in many ways but also differs from poly.

The biggest difference between polyamory and RA is that poly is "love-based." Specifically, romantic-love-based. I have always struggled around the label* "poly" and the idea of a "love-based" approach to relationships. Because while love is nice, it's not everything to me and it's not what I seek first.

In fact, polyamory feels restrictive to me because of the expectation that I ought to be seeking/developing romantic love. I have always thought, "But that's why I don't want to be monogamous--because of the expectation that romantic love is the ultimate aim. So can I really say that I'm poly?" Polyamory doesn't go far enough [away from the norm] for me. In that sense, I think that yes, RA could be viewed as more radical than poly.

*And labels are important to me for the pragmatic reason that they are VERY useful for online dating. I need various labels to describe myself in my profile and to search for like-minded people. Maybe I won't care so much about "What am I?" when I'm more settled in whatever relationships will work for me, but I am very much still searching--for myself and for those who are compatible with me.
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  #26  
Old 11-27-2013, 06:17 AM
london london is offline
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You see, poly to me has never been love based. It just means that I can fall in love without having to only do it with one person. Doesnt mean I have to. Most of my relationships are FWBs. What I meant by twue poly is that I believe the only way to truly allow your partners to develop loving relationships with others is if you remove all the elements of control. Do away with the possessive and controlling rules about who and when and how. Then your partner can actually develop organic relationships, free of your control. That is polyamory.

Last edited by london; 11-27-2013 at 06:20 AM.
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  #27  
Old 11-27-2013, 07:35 AM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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Originally Posted by MeeraReed View Post
Hyperskeptic, I am really excited by this thread!
Me too. For pretty much the same reasons.

I remember not long after finding this forum, I spoke to my SO about how polyamory seems to me to be a good thing in terms of making the possibilities for relationships wider but that for me, it doesn't go far enough.

To me, anarchy is a pretty simple concept. It is nothing more than the idea that nobody needs to be in charge. People are capable of organising themselves and working together to do things without having a single person always telling them what to do and how to go about it. This is something that just seems like common sense to me.

Anyway - applying that idea to relationships, I guess that I would take it mean that the key thing with relationships is that a freedom must exist to set things up so that they work for the people involved. Through discussion, reflection and a critical look at how the relationship is going and what is wanted from it, people should be free to decide for themselves.

The way I see it, the people who choose to center their lives around a single other partner who they live with, socialize with and spend all their sleeping and non-working waking time with can fall under the heading relationship anarchists.

As can the people who are in a similar situation but split their time between more than one partner.

As can the people who want nothing to do with sex or romance and who center their lives around a group of friends and a compelling interest.

As can the people who want to have lots of sex but aren't interested in forming the sort of connections where somebody might expect them to be around every night of the week and sharing the bills.

For me, what makes it RA is some thought and discussion having gone into it and for all parties feeling like their current living condition is something that can be changed if they need or want it to. That the change might be hard and talking about it difficult to bring up but that it is possible and that those in their lives won't go out of their way to make things worse. (as far as is possible - splitting up a household and going your separate ways might be the right thing to do but it is upsetting and stressful and it's hard to do well).

Good topic indeed.

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  #28  
Old 11-27-2013, 12:20 PM
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hyperskeptic hyperskeptic is online now
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Originally Posted by InfinitePossibility View Post
To me, anarchy is a pretty simple concept. It is nothing more than the idea that nobody needs to be in charge. People are capable of organising themselves and working together to do things without having a single person always telling them what to do and how to go about it. This is something that just seems like common sense to me.

Anyway - applying that idea to relationships, I guess that I would take it mean that the key thing with relationships is that a freedom must exist to set things up so that they work for the people involved. Through discussion, reflection and a critical look at how the relationship is going and what is wanted from it, people should be free to decide for themselves.
Thanks for this. It strikes me as an especially clear and direct statement of the idea.

I wonder if it would be fair to summarize this take on RA in a way that might, unfortunately, come across as a slogan: relationships should be intentional, not conventional.

Have to work that into a chant, for when I get my t-shirt.

Last edited by hyperskeptic; 11-27-2013 at 12:26 PM.
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  #29  
Old 11-27-2013, 01:01 PM
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Default Institutions, or The Personal and the Political

I have at least one theoretical worry about the ideas in this thread.

To use the label 'relationship anarchy' for an approach to relationships necessarily takes all of this out of the realm of the personal and into the realm of the political: to call oneself an anarchist in the serious, theoretical sense of the term is to take a stand on the nature and necessity of social and political institutions.

In truth, I think this social and political aspect of non-monogamy is also latent in 'polyamory', though there it's buried under language that frames everything in terms of personal preferences.

Really, though, we should be aware of the social and political radicalism of any attempt seriously to practice non-monogamy.

Institutions serve to limit and channel human activity in particular directions, providing predictability and stability for our lives together in the world; institutions can make it easier - or even possible - to secure things generally regarded as good, all else being equal, that we cannot secure as individuals.

To the extent conventional forms of relationship are embedded in institutions that promulgate and enforce them, anyone interested in an idea like RA would have to understand those institutions in some depth and ask very seriously whether and how society more broadly would function without them if everyone was really free to work things out for themselves, from the ground up.

Anyone who would seriously practice non-monogamy must also understand that institutions have a lot of momentum: they can be hard to change and have a nasty tendency to roll right over those who stand opposed to them.

Part of what makes them hard to change is that people tend to internalize the limits and channels established by those institutions, incorporating them into their values and even their perception. Hence, perhaps, the persistence of the idea of 'romance', as discussed above.

Now, we may be at a moment in the history of our own culture(s) (i.e., societies with English heritage?) that those who have a mind to can get away with developing unconventional approaches to relationships in their own private lives, and there is at least the hint of a possibility of nudging the relevant institutions in the direction of being still more permissive of "deviance" . . . but that's not at all certain.

Last edited by hyperskeptic; 11-27-2013 at 05:08 PM.
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  #30  
Old 11-27-2013, 08:21 PM
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ColorsWolf ColorsWolf is offline
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Honestly, I don't "subscribe" to any thing at all.~

I also find the find the term "Relationship Anarchy" to be a self contradiction and it defeats the purpose of itself: how can you profess to practice a practice that "has no labels" when you continue to label every thing including this very practice itself?~

For me personally: this is just how I am.~

I don't believe you can control who you love, with how many it happens with, and when it happens.~

I don't believe you can control love at all: you can't schedule love, you can't put rules on love, and you can't stop love because love is going to do what ever it is going to do whether you like it or not.~


I'm not going to put my life and my dreams on hold for any one, I don't like schedules and I don't like rules as I have enough of them in my life with the military, if you want to be with me: then tell me and be with me but I will never be "your's" and you will never be "mine" for you can't "own" some one, don't "expect" any thing of me and I will not "expect" any thing of you: I want us to do things with and for each other because we "want" to not because it is "expected" of us.~

My love is eternal, my friendship everlasting: "ex-lovers" do not exist for me, if you want to be with me then be with me, but we may or may not always be together, regardless I will treasure every moment with you: you can't "let me go" because you never "had me", you don't have to "leave me" if you don't want to, but please try not to be afraid if it does happen for I never shut people out of my life ever and you are always welcome back into my life.~

The wind and the river may dance away and come and go as they please and I may or may not ever see them again, but we will always be friends and even lovers.~
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Last edited by ColorsWolf; 11-27-2013 at 08:23 PM.
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