life · poly · relationships

Relationships, titles and good conversation

I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships lately, I mean a lot! Holy shit, I’ve thought more about relationships in the last month then I think I ever have in the rest of my life. R and I recently decided that “relationship anarchy” is the best way to go, we are together, but however other relationships build, they build. If we end up dating someone else as well, then, awesome. Just make sure they are healthy for you.

I backslide in my ability to be close to, and to converse with someone who’s title changes from friend to partner.

So when that happened, I started thinking more about the idea of a relationship with the wonderful and lovely K. She is such a very close friend, and I care about her a lot, on multiple levels. I decided, since I was thinking about it, I would throw it out there, as a theoretical thing (we don’t live in the same state right now, and long distance relationships are a complete pain in the ass, that I personally find kind of pointless. She said no, because all relationships sounded like a no right now. There was a lot of negativity in her past when it came to dating, and I understand the fear. I backslide in my ability to be close to, and to converse with someone who’s title changes from friend to partner, the details of which I’ve outlined here.

So that whole conversation got me started in thinking: on a personal level, what’s the point of changing a relationship title, or putting one on it at all for me? I have a problem with technically having a partner, because of my past, and what that had a tendency of meaning. I don’t plan on being with any one single person (it might happen, but however a relationship grows, it grows)

Then I decided that I would ask both K and R about it.

Asking both of them made for some really interesting conversation.

K totally got what I meant. She’s had a bad background with relationships, and, of course, she knows how R and I have set up our concepts for relationships. There was more or less complete agreement on both sides that lacking a title and letting a relationship be what it is between people is probably the best option.

When I started talking to R, he had a differing view point (but understood where I was coming from). He pointed out the simplicity of titles in social settings. How do you explain your relationship with someone at it’s very basics, without having to go into detail, if you don’t have any label, internal or external to the relationship? Someone may technically not be partners, as far as they are concerned, but if that is the general atmosphere, is that how you introduce yourselves? Or are you “just friends” as society sees it? Are you somewhere between?

“Is it less harmful to not name the relationship?”

I understood exactly what he meant by that, and how it would be helpful in social settings, but I still contended that within the relationship itself, why label it? When you have someone who’s open to a relationship evolving into whatever it may be, and who has a bad past with the ideological term of “partner”, what is the point? Is it less harmful to not name the relationship?

He kind of got it, but he thought that the labels were important. He understood why, for me specifically, that would be an idea worth thinking about.

He also got me to see that it is extremely important to talk to each person you are in a relationship with about it. How is your relationship going to grow? What are you comfortable with? Would you rather have labels, or would you not?

I think R would be a little miffed if we didn’t have a title to our relationship (I could be wrong, but that’s the general idea that I got) and it would be really odd at this point to not have a label on it. He’s been my partner for over four years, dropping that label would be weird and uncomfortable. With K though, I don’t know that we’d ever specifically, internally, label our relationship, however it grows. Are we friends? Are we friends with benefits? Are we partners? Lovers? Why would it matter between us? Why would we place that stress, with both of our histories, onto each other? It seems like a negative way to continue a relationship when it comes to us.

“I’m defining myself more and more by myself and the things that I do and have done, rather than defining myself by my relationship, which I have, to my detriment, done for my entire life.”

It has been so intense and interesting in the last month. The thoughts, the questions, the things that have happened and the communication that has been going on. I’m growing more comfortable within relationships, in every form they take. I’m defining myself more and more by myself and the things that I do and have done, rather than defining myself by my relationship, which I have, to my detriment, done for my entire life. I’m becoming more comfortable with relationships of all kinds. My views have been constantly shifting on what relationships are and how they function. It’s got me to think deeply about all of these things, and while many things within the concept of relationships are now in this state of flux, I am happier, and more solid in my relationships with others, whatever they may be, then I ever have been before, and it’s so wonderful.

Thank you, and have a beautiful day sunshines.

How do you think about relationships? Is labeling your relationships important to you?

 

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4 thoughts on “Relationships, titles and good conversation

  1. I label my relationships, but I can see where others may prefer the more fluid aspects that you have outlined.

    I think that labeling a relationship helps to outline the expected roles we play within that relationship. For someone in my situation, a monogamous heterosexual marriage, the word ‘partner’ means my husband. Just one person, with all the responsibilities that a husband is expected to fulfill.

    However, to someone in a polyamory relationship who identifies as bisexual, the label of ‘partner’ may not work to describe the people involved. To call someone a partner implies that there are only two people in the relationship, in casual conversation. That makes the label incorrect, and confuses the role of the person receiving the label.

    I often find myself tripping up in conversation when I speak of people I know. I don’t have many people I consider close friends, so I usually refer to people either as acquaintances or colleagues. Sometimes I’ll call them friends, because that is a universally understood word to refer to people you know. However, there is a person in my social sphere who I do not get along with, but because of the polite face we have to display for society, I still include this person as a ‘friend’, even though I feel the word is the direct opposite of what this person is to me.

    It’s strange. I think the label thing is tied up into expectation, to make a long story shot.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are very right about labels being tied to expectations, which is why, situation dependent, I’m becoming less and less of a fan, because for me, my partners are supposed to hurt me, that’s what that word has meant, more often than not.
      I’m not totally against it, with me and R (my husband) it would be odd to not have a label, but with K, it may be odd to actually label anything. With anyone I’m with, if we don’t label ourselves internally, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some sort of external label to it, for simplicities sake in social situations.
      I do disagree that partner implies a singular relationship. I feel like *outside of negative implications for myself* that partner simply means any of the one(s) that you are in an explicitly intimate relationship with.
      And societal politeness can totally suck, such as cases like your… “friend”.

      Liked by 1 person

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