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title tags crossposted
Musings on love, relationships and terminology
writing
musings
labels
love
relationships
polyamory
relationship anarchy

(This was taken from a chat convo and kept in it's raw original form, aside from minor spacing added to try and break up the massive block of text)

This is a topic that has come up at various times, with various people, and I always end up explaining it in some measure of mind dump or another, not necessarily well strucutured, maybe covering all aspects or maybe only a few. Given this time it came up in text form, I figured i’d post it somewhere more permanent, for others insight, or future reflection. So without further ado, my raw and unfiltered mind dump:

“While a lot of words are quite useful ways to convey meaning, I also find a lot of them.. almost disingenuine. For example, love. I don't feel like I truly understand what it is, and how it should feel, and so I don't feel like it's a term I can use if I don't understand it. And then, it's a term that sort of, once said, never really goes away, and becomes almost an automatic response rather than necessarily a true feeling. Once a couple starts using it, it tends to just be "i love you" "i love you too", without even necessarily thinking about it or reaffirming it. And then, if things change (as they inevitably do), that tends not to be reflected in the terminology. So either you stop saying it, at which point people get worried about what has changed, and can panic and try and 'get back what was lost', or it continues to be said and automatically responded to, even if the feelings behind it aren't the same as what they once were. Which can then lead to further hurt and resentment down the line.

Similarly with defined relationships and the words around them, they form this artificial bounding on an experience that in my belief should be unbounded. General society sees things as binary, starting and stopping, in a rel or not, whereas I see it as a continuum of everchanging potential. All people I consider my friends are at some level or another a relationship. At times they may be a far higher focus, and spend more time, share more experiences with them, at others we might not talk for ages. Regardless of the time currently spent, it doesn't detract from the experiences that were, or the potential of the future. By bounding it in arbitrary definitions, I feel like it misrepresents that free continuum as I see it, and provides opportunity for more hurt. In an arbitrary definition of 'dating' or 'not dating', at the point that it becomes 'not dating' there is this feeling of something lost, that may need to try and be saved, etc. Whereas the way I see it is at that point, for whatever reason, our life paths are differing. It could be temporary, it could be forever, but it's just another step, rather than this.. almost cliff of a thing that is transitioning from 'dating' to 'not'.

Words make it far too easy to mask the real feelings and levels as they are at the time. It's easy to say "we're dating" or "i love them", but it's far more real for that to be reflected in your actions and choices. Someone can be 'dating' yet barely talk to them or spend any time with them or do anything with them. Yet if you're actively making the choice to spend time with someone, to do things with them, that's real.

And then society's innate expectations around things, dating means you need to spend x time and do y things, love is z. I want my experiences to exist in and of themselves, being exactly as intense or free, as often or sporadic as the individuals involved want it, and make it at the time. And I want to choose to spend time with people because I am actively choosing to in each and every moment, not because of some arbitrary expectation or label that is saying I should. With no arbitrary bounds or label on things, I feel that the truth is shown through the explicit actions made, rather than through the smoke and mirrors and implied things that the labels may or may not accurately represent.”