Casual love--YES, PLEASE.

Spork

New member
This. This, this, this, THIS.

http://blog.carsieblanton.com/post/82149148832/casual-love

^^^
I want to do like a standing ovation for this blog post, but I'm at work and my coworkers would look at me very strangely if I did.

My whole life, I have felt this way. Why in the heck does someone assume I MEAN THINGS when I tell them that I love them?? Why is love scary? Why not just see it as the highest compliment a person can give you, even if you don't feel the same feels? What the heck is everyone making such a big deal about?

This page should be required reading, like at least as important as a condom, for any potential partner I have for the rest of my life. I may in fact (after donating money to the writer) print off copies (if she will give me permission) to hand out to any potential sex prospects or promising dates.
 

icesong

Moderator
Staff member
I have this linked in my OKC profile for exactly those reasons.
 

Spork

New member
I have this linked in my OKC profile for exactly those reasons.

Excellent idea. Should I find myself back out there looking, I'll do the same.
 

FeatherFool

New member
I don't think I get that blog post. A few of the arguments made me feel pretty icky. Can someone summarize? I think I'm missing something.
 

Spork

New member
The blog post is saying that it should be ok to fall in love easily.

That being in love with someone, or loving someone, should not be taken so seriously. The whole attached questions one might ask such as:

-Does this person need me to love them back?
-Does this person need me to love only them?
-Does this person need me to love them FOREVER?
-Does this person expect us to move in together, get married, and/or make babies?

The way some people freak out over love and make it into this huge, life altering event, is not really me. You can be as solo-poly as I am (not going to live with anyone, marry anyone, or give anyone any more kids ever again as far as I know) and still have just as much love feelings for your partner(s) as someone who IS doing that stuff. One doesn't always have to do with the other.

I've been frustrated in the past when partners have freaked out because I told them that I loved them. Even when I carefully tried to explain that it isn't any kind of a trap, and I didn't even care if they loved me back or not. It should really be taken as a compliment, it just means, "I think you are Super Awesome Sauce! I totally enjoy time with you! Let's keep doing this for a while, huh?"

And I get angry when I'm told that just because I didn't wait some pre-determined period of time to feel something and admit I feel something, that my feelings are invalid, that it's "only" infatuation or NRE or limerance or some negligible and stupid and likely crazy thing. Why can't I just enjoy it??

What part of this bothered you, FeatherFool, if I may ask? (I has a curious.)
 

FeatherFool

New member
Absolutely feel free to ask! I love reasonable open-minded discussion.

Thank you for your summary; that really cleared a few questions up for me. I'm sorry that you had those experiences; no one should should try to make you feel like your emotions aren't valid.

However, I'd put forward that the idea that everyone should love easy and free, and not make too a big deal of it, is just as invalidating as saying that someone can only love if they have "put in the hours", to paraphrase. I feel like while the complimenter may have the best intentions, only the receiver can decide what they find complimentary or not.

Here is what I took away from the blog:

I understood much of this blog post to be saying that "love" should exclusively be defined as that feeling of twitterpation- tingly and exciting and breathtaking- but that it should not encompass commitment, which is proposed as a separate entity and likely not an emotion. This suggests to me that the author assumes that everyone should labour under the same definition of love, and in my experience that is a mistake. Emotional labels are notoriously difficult to pin down and they can't be expected to have a perfect universal definition. My idea of love does not match the authors', but that doesn't make either one wrong. They are just different. My definition of anger almost certainly would not match theirs, either. It's natural to assume that everyone is (or should be) working under the same set of rules as you are but that is not always, or even often, the case.

If someone told me they loved me and I found that uncomfortable, or felt like it placed pressure on me, I don't think par for course that means I need to change my definition of love. It's mine, after all, and has nothing to do with how the other person chooses to label their emotions. This post seemed to suggest that reacting negatively to an expression of love was in itself undesirable and bad. I disagree with that. If one party has the right to express their love, as they define it, the other has equal right to how they feel about that expression. I felt like the author was saying you are obligated to accept someone's profession of love, and that just feels icky.

I also had a few issues with the argument that love can only be safely defined and accepted as This One True Way, and anything else would result in Disaster. That is all-or-nothing thinking, and eminently not true; plenty of people reserve the term love for the closest associations in their life, and plenty of them get along just fine. It also seems to suggest that This One True Way would entirely prevent misunderstanding and heartbreak, which I find very silly; it seems obvious to me that it won't. The misunderstandings and heartbreak would just occur slightly differently. I don't believe there are any One True Ways to love, and all kinds of emotion, however you define them for yourself, can lead to joy or pain depending on how you use them.

...Feel free to knock any/all of this down, however!
 

Spork

New member
I think that the point the author is trying to make, or at least the bit that resonates so strongly with me, is that there need not BE one true way.

So if I fall in love like falling out of bed, and don't want to play coy until I'm sure my partner feels the same, and I say something...I don't see why it should be perceived as an attack. A scary or alarming thing. It would be fine with me if a partner said, "Hey, I appreciate that, but it takes me more time to feel that way, and frankly, I might not get there ever...but thanks."

My partners are allowed to feel (or not feel) whatever they want, and I'd like the same courtesy.

In all fairness though, I learned to disclaimer this up front before sex, ideally before a second date. I tell people that sometimes I love easily, and they shouldn't feel pressured or confined by this, it implies no further intention than a desire to continue to see them, if they are amenable. But that if they are bothered by such easy emotions, we probably aren't a good match. I am making a deliberate effort to avoid messing around with people who are emotionally distant, guarded, or unavailable. That sort of thing has worked out poorly for me in the past.

Frankly, I think that casual, emotionless sex is more risky than casual love. I'd rather love my friends than have sex with them all!
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
For me, the word love is fluid and can mean any number of things depending on the context. It doesn't necessarily mean, "commitment and a white picket fence," but it doesn't necessarily mean, "a warm compliment," either. The thing is that a lot of it depends on who's saying it. If someone told me they loved me, I would probably tend to err in the direction of not assuming too much about it. Although my heart rate might increase! :)
 

FeatherFool

New member
I can agree with the majority of what you say, for sure. I just didn't get that from the blog post, I suppose.

I think mismatches in "love style" can work, provisionally, with effort on both sides. I'm definitely slow to warm up, and Tails is a firecracker of affection. However, we'd known each other for several months before starting to date and that made it a lot easier for both of us, I think. Tails was slowed down a bit, and I had a chance to catch up. Now we can both enjoy NRE together! Noice.

I guess I just don't see one as being that different from the other. Quick-to-love risk that their partner will be scared off or never reach that level, and slow-to-love risk that their partner will get tired of them before their feelings can be fully realized or that they will be interpreted as "cold fish". That's not fun, let me tell you.
 

Spork

New member
It is fascinating to me to hear different people share their perspectives on love.

FASCINATING.

I think that people with different love styles can definitely make it work, but I also think that people should, ethically, be more self aware (know what they want and what how they tend to behave, realistically, in love and relationships)...and be honest with others that they consider dating, and really HEAR their potential partners if such honesty is returned. Negotiate in good faith. I know it's a bit of a buzzkill when you meet someone new and great and just hope that they'll bend or you'll bend and you'll be everything that other person needs and vice versa, but this chaotic way of relating can cause a great deal of pain. And as Carsie Blanton says in another of her blogs, pain is pretty inevitable anyways for adults who are living and loving...it is part of the human experience, for sure. But I think that it is kind, to try and mitigate it somewhat by choosing honesty, particularly over deception, in the game of love.

So, my perspective is this. I recognize a prospect, and in sizing them up, I know immediately if...

-Sex might be fun, but I would not wish to relationship with this person.
-Would like to remain friends.
-Don't really like them much, think it might be fun to play once maybe.

-This is the sort of person I'm capable of falling stupid-in-love with. Just looking at them is like eating the sweetest candy, like basking in sunshine, like taking a wonderful drug. They are absolutely a fantastic lovely human and I want to eat them up.

-This person is very intriguing. I sense really interesting stuff veiled just under the surface. No immediate firecrackers, but if I let them in and they let me in, the result might be great. Worth taking a chance on probably.
(With this type, some point in additional interaction could set off the bonfire...and the most likely such event would be sex.)

Part of the reason I'm not a huge believer in forming permanent marriage type bonds, is that I have not had the experience of feeling a lot more "in love" with someone months or years into an intimate relationship, if I felt nothing or very little to start with. The only years-long relationship I ever had, was (on my part) full of obligation and family-feeling, there was love and caring from me but not of the romantic variety. He on the other hand was romantically in love with me from the beginning, and that never waned until the day I broke his heart...and that relationship was awful in a million ways that have nothing to do with this conversation. I think I was expected to have felt what he felt. The fact that I didn't, made me a bad wife. So I'm told.

Anyways.

I had the experience shortly after my marriage ended of falling for a man, and at first he seemed just as into me. I was excited. Two weeks in and we seemed equally enthusiastic about it. We had jumped right into sex immediately, and the sex was freaking GREAT. He seemed to feel the same way about that, too. I was certainly giving him an abundance of physical pleasure. Then I tried to express to him how happy I was to be enjoying what we had and were doing, that I loved him and at this time he was all I needed, but that did not imply that I was demanding anything from him. I told him that I would stop dating others, but was demanding no such thing of him, specifically. He recoiled, all in a couple of days, pushed me away, told me I was needy, clingy, crazy, and that I should go get my needs fulfilled elsewhere. He was happy being alone.

Wow.

This tanked my self esteem. The only conclusion I could draw is that he didn't like me and didn't want me around. I fussed about why this might be, for weeks. I finally gave up...especially after having not one, but several beautiful and brilliant and wonderful people validate that in fact, I am likeable, loveable, and deserving of their time.

I don't know what love might mean to that man. He wouldn't tell me what it was he wanted. Whatever it was, apparently it was not me, and that is ok.

Now I have a friend who is flirting outrageously with me. I like him. He might make a suitable and fun sex partner. I want however more than sex or intimacy, to keep our frienship in existence. I do not want to lose that. We got to talking about this love stuff. He said he spent most of his youth having casual relationships, he calls them "supernovas" where the sex and feeling are intense, but he makes a quick exit and never speaks to them again. He likes to preserve them in memory and have them END. I explained that this was exactly what I find to be hurtful and confusing, when partners do this. I don't understand why you would push away and shut out a person when you like them, or love them, or enjoy their company and their sex. No fight, no cooling of feelings...just a denial and an end, BECAUSE. To me, it means that you do not like me, love me, or want me around in your life. So I don't want to do that anymore. He says he settled down and is doing some relationships at this point in life because he was tired of being made to feel like a jerk for hurting people. But he wasn't really happy with it, and misses his old ways in the old days.

Well. I know that because of where he is in life, I would not relationship with him anyways. But I don't think it's a good idea at all to risk my emotional happiness by taking the risky action of having sex with this friend. I want to keep the friendship more. So even though he is attractive, and interesting, and I do see the appeal...I will continue to "flirt without intent" and keep him at a safe distance. I'm owning the fact that I don't like being made to feel the way he's likely to make me feel, and making my choices accordingly.

As for his love style....well, I don't understand it. But I won't call him a jerk for it, either. I do appreciate that he was at least honest about it, because many men would have lied just to get sex, in his position. That is far more normal.
 

FeatherFool

New member
I absolutely agree people should be clear on what they want, and be aware that other people's styles and desires may not match that and that's okay. It's also okay to choose not to relationship with someone who doesn't match your style. The only way to figure it out, though, is to talk!

I'm not a real fan of permanent-forever either. I currently equate that with a level of life-entanglement that I am not comfortable with. I have zero intention of sharing finances, or living with someone(s), etc. Maybe that will change in the future, but I don't think that's very likely. I know in my head that "permanent" doesn't necessarily mean "entangled", but my gut is pretty convinced it does.

I take a really long time compared the the general population to develop those "eat 'em up" feelings. If I waited for that to start a relationship I'd still be a virgin! My initial assessment is far more intellectual than emotion-based. All of my partners have been good friends before anything else developed. I honestly don't know immediately if I'm interested in another person (other than sheer physical attraction). I've never had a single conversation with someone and just lit up inside. I can't even imagine it!

For a while I thought something was wrong with me that I just don't seem to develop those "squee" feelings as fast as most people without some kind of other level of relationship, but now I figure it's just me. And that's okay. If I'm willing to deal with the fact that my partner is unicorn-and-rainbowing all over the place, while I'm still like "mmmm, yes, this is nice", and they are too, then it's all good as far as I'm concerned.

However, I've definitely had people be uncomfortable with the fact they are fluttering, and I'm just kind of... content and pleased. "Cold fish" was a quote, as well as several other less complimentary things. It's not true; I care for them or obviously I wouldn't send time with them. Eventually I get to the giddy stage, but in my experience it generally won't be when they are. It is also a bit weird for some to be past that stage, and me just beginning to really toss the sparkles around. Especially since in some cases it took months, and they are used to me laughing at their antics. Suddenly I'm the one anticing!

I don't know if lying to get sex is "normal". A common societal convention, maybe, but I object to that being normal lol
 

Spork

New member
I absolutely agree people should be clear on what they want, and be aware that other people's styles and desires may not match that and that's okay. It's also okay to choose not to relationship with someone who doesn't match your style. The only way to figure it out, though, is to talk!

I'm not a real fan of permanent-forever either. I currently equate that with a level of life-entanglement that I am not comfortable with. I have zero intention of sharing finances, or living with someone(s), etc. Maybe that will change in the future, but I don't think that's very likely. I know in my head that "permanent" doesn't necessarily mean "entangled", but my gut is pretty convinced it does.

I take a really long time compared the the general population to develop those "eat 'em up" feelings. If I waited for that to start a relationship I'd still be a virgin! My initial assessment is far more intellectual than emotion-based. All of my partners have been good friends before anything else developed. I honestly don't know immediately if I'm interested in another person (other than sheer physical attraction). I've never had a single conversation with someone and just lit up inside. I can't even imagine it!

For a while I thought something was wrong with me that I just don't seem to develop those "squee" feelings as fast as most people without some kind of other level of relationship, but now I figure it's just me. And that's okay. If I'm willing to deal with the fact that my partner is unicorn-and-rainbowing all over the place, while I'm still like "mmmm, yes, this is nice", and they are too, then it's all good as far as I'm concerned.

However, I've definitely had people be uncomfortable with the fact they are fluttering, and I'm just kind of... content and pleased. "Cold fish" was a quote, as well as several other less complimentary things. It's not true; I care for them or obviously I wouldn't send time with them. Eventually I get to the giddy stage, but in my experience it generally won't be when they are. It is also a bit weird for some to be past that stage, and me just beginning to really toss the sparkles around. Especially since in some cases it took months, and they are used to me laughing at their antics. Suddenly I'm the one anticing!

I don't know if lying to get sex is "normal". A common societal convention, maybe, but I object to that being normal lol

Lying, or perhaps more commonly encouraging someone to believe whatever will lead them to consent. And then ghosting, or rebuffing.

I hear a lot of men, especially online, complaining about initial rejection from women, in the whole dating game...I have wondered, really, which is worse...rejecting someone upfront, or using them and THEN rejecting them once they've had an opportunity to develop an interest or an emotional connection.

Thing is, I had to work my way around to the notion of "wait to have sex"...because when I meet someone who is very appealing in that way, I wanted to just get it on! No games, no playing hard to get, no expectations or demands, just get right in there. But the fact that there is not only the well known physical risks of STIs and such (at least I cannot get pregnant anymore) but also emotional risks, means that I sadly am a lot safer waiting a bit. Not waiting for a commitment, but to get a sense of who a person is, to protect myself from feeling used and discarded, to give them a chance to form a bit of a bond, or to give trust a chance to form.

It still feels like unnecessary game playing, and annoys me slightly on some basic level...but it's better than "make him wait because otherwise he'll think you're easy" which just makes me table-flipping furious.
 

CTF

Member
I don't know... Now, admittedly, I'm more to the extreme side (as many of you already know), but I personally don't believe in the concept of "casual love"...

While I do think that love can be one sided, and I applaud anyone who is willing to admit it to someone without pressure of reciprocation (as has happened to me), I have a hard time of seeing love as this vast, plentiful, even infinite emotion. Not to sound harsh, but I think that sort of devalues love itself.

There are but only a handful of people that I can say that I "love"... My wife & kids, my Mom & my sister... Granted, I have other people that are important to me... People that I care about & want only the best with them, and enjoy spending time with them... But to me, that's not love. It's caring, respect & admiration.

Just as it may be hard for someone like myself to grasp the concept of "casual love", I'm sure it's equally as difficult for others to understand the concept of "rare love". I got together to catch up with an old friend a while back, and she told me "I love you"... Now, to be clear, she wasn't talking in the romantic sense (at least, I was pretty confident of that. It just didn't have that tone), but I had to tell her that I was sorry, but that's just not something I can say back to her. She seemed taken aback, but accepting of it.

To best explain it, it's like the "special" paradox. Like, if everyone is special, then no one is special.

But I'm just a cynic... Don't mind me.
 

Ravenscroft

Banned
I've always disliked the term "casual sex" because it's a not-so-veiled putdown of "the way those people are." Seems like "casual love" sorta leans the same direction, so I'm wary of it.
We have a mythology surrounding romantic love that says it’s a special, rare feeling, reserved for just a few people in your whole life.
Yep -- maintaining a culture where something is continually not just finite but in short supply makes it "valuable."

Then again, it's kinda weird how all the "love one another" & "brotherly love" stuff is so important to Christians who'd be horrified by polyamory. :eek:

I'd like it if more people would clearly separate "I love you/them" from "I'm IN LOVE with you/them." The latter is (far too often!) used to state the former, which REALLY confuses the situation. "I feel an abiding connection with you" is NOT anything like "it goes both ways" & to use it as such is sorta baldly pretentious... or controlling/demanding.

I disagree with Blanton in a significant way, & that's OVERLY casual use of "love" as a universal. Okay, I love my family... my kids... my cats... but Blanton looks to be saying that I should include in the same set stuff like caterpillar rolls, fresh tomatoes, pesto, Camembert, Harlan Ellison, Bill Nelson, various actors, fictional characters, suede leather, dry socks, & flannel sheets. That I simply cannot countenance (well, in MY head, anyway).

There are close friends with whom I have had a truly loving relationship without any intent of sex, & we've been known to smile & say "I love you" in public, sometimes startling married couples who rareky used the word AT ALL with each other.

While I strongly doubt that LOVE is some sort of Precious Bodily Fluid that must be conserved & protected & carefully kept away from all but The Deserving Few -- wow, doesn't that sound like what Mom said about sex? :rolleyes: -- there's a part of me that feels to slather "love" all over the place & on whatever object strikes my aesthetic fancy in the least way is to minimize the value of the term. But, as noted above, there's plenty of "love hoarders" that do so, & maybe it shouldn't be a conversation-stopper.
"love" should exclusively be defined as that feeling of twitterpation- tingly and exciting and breathtaking- but that it should not encompass commitment, which is proposed as a separate entity and likely not an emotion.
A false dichotomy -- turning the extremes into an either/or choice, ignoring the center of the curve -- & not one I got from the article.

Spork, I resonate with you on so much. :eek: I don't "size people up" the same way, though -- quite often, I'll chat with someone for HOURS before I realize that this is someone I'd like to get naked with. :)

A few times, I've had the "Some Enchanted Evening" thing happen, where I'd be scanning a crowd looking for friends & spot someone whose image just sorta leapt out, like a spotlight, then later get chatted up & find that she'd gotten the same "flash." (There's a hilarious story there that I'll post someday.)

I don't seek out one-night stands... but I've had a few that were situationally perfect. So long as we're on the same page, & one of us doesn't decide to "fall in Love" & then use that as leverage, it seems to me like an honest interaction.

Certainly, if something mutual DOES develop, I find it reassuring to know we're not totally incompatible in the sack!! I mean, how much of a bummer would it be to get 100% emotionally invested in someone only to find they're a total turnoff? :(

But I should add that some HAVE bugged me, & it's kinda that "sorry, not interested" thing. Oh, NOT the "rejection" -- heck, nothing ventured, nothing gained -- but when I get rudely brushed off or totally shot down... then later (weeks, months, even a couple of years) I get chewed out because her advances slide right over me without even getting noticed. Well, HELL: if someone tells me "ain't gonna happen," & doesn't have the brain to SAY "well, y'know, my feelings have sorta changed," this doesn't make her MORE desirable. :cool:
 

FeatherFool

New member
A false dichotomy -- turning the extremes into an either/or choice, ignoring the center of the curve -- & not one I got from the article.

I do think there is a false dichotomy presented in the blog, but we all take in information through our own bias filters: which is why I asked for clarification in the first pace! I'd never understand the other side if I didn't ask :) My own bias comes from a distrust of labels in general. For me, it gets all mixed up when labels are applied without additional communication. In my view, people are going to naturally make assumptions about the labels you chose to apply to yourself, and they are going to make those assumptions through the lens of their own bias. I can't see how that could be prevented, other than by clear explanation and communication. We're only human, after all. From the blog post:

... separating the wacky, butterflies-in-the-gut, unpredictable feeling of “love” from the ideally rational, cool-headed decisions and agreements of “commitment”.

That seems to define love pretty narrowly, with an exclusion clause for commitment. This section:

As long as love is theoretically reserved for people whom you want to date and possibly marry...We’ll imprint upon them like baby ducks, and resolve to stick with them through thick and thin, through hell or high water, through abuse and neglect and lies and bickering and frustration and mutually-assured destruction, whether or not it brings us (or anyone else) any kind of joy.

...seems to set up the idea that "love-as-exclusive = bad" (and also pretty victim-blame-y: "If you'd only had the proper ideals of love you wouldn't have been stuck in an abusive relationship" which is a vast over simplification of harmful relationships), while this:

If love was casual, we could take it as a high compliment, say “thanks!”, and feel some warm fuzzies.

...sets me up to believe the author thinks that all expressions of casual love should end in appreciation from the receiver which, for me, would be very much untrue. Someone expressing love for me is not what I would consider a compliment, any more than someone expressing apathy for me would be considered an insult. Neither has anything to do with me; that is their emotion to own.

I don't think it's wrong to "slather" love all over the place if that is your way; nor do I think it's wrong to reserve that term for specific instances or types of relationship. If someone understands that champagne-feeling to be their idea of love and pours it over everyone, that is absolutely cool with me. I'm glad they are so happy! If someone wants to reserve the term exclusively for that sweet heartache you get watching your kid sleep, then that is fine with me too.

I've really appreciated this discussion. It's made me think and reassess a lot!
 

Ravenscroft

Banned
Okay, I can sorta see the "love-as-exclusive = bad" thing, which is a little overboard as a universal... just as it would be to claim that exclusive love is universally a GOOD thing.

To stretch a grammatic conflict, there's the difference between the descriptive & the prescriptive -- how things are vs. how they "should be." Flipping the thesis would have "love-not-exclusive = bad" which is already the majority opinion & likely will be for a long time. So, sure, Blanton is going overboard in a reactive manner, but that doesn't negate the general thesis.

As Robert Anton Wilson wrote, common sense is what tells you the Earth is flat. :D Because of the common sense of exclusivity, I'd offer up that there's a LOT of craziness resulting from a person feeling abiding love for one person... then for another as well. Having been told from birth that it's a one-&-only-one situation, this sets off problems up to outright psychosis, something that is often spread to the love interests as well, & maybe beyond -- that may be a root as to why some monogamous people see polyamory not just as weird, but as a direct THREAT to their worldview.

In that sense, then YES, I'd agree with the assessment that exclusivity-for-everyone does indeed set up victims & place blame upon those are unwilling or unable to fit nicely into the nice safe preconceptions of the (often imaginary) majority.

I know from experience that I have my own limitations, not on Love per se, but on how many people I can be with enough to feel a deep abiding connectedness -- & this includes not just lovers/partners/whatever but the closeness I've had with metamours. Roughly, it was like six sexual partners & their main partners, & after that I start forgetting names & it's just any typical Worldcon. :) One lover was more gregarious & she could easily handle twice that count (& still make us all feel super-special!). And I'm sure there's plenty of people not as weird as me who're truly happy with three, or two, or one.

Often, the only difference between a home & a prison is who controls the lock on the door.
 

Spork

New member
The only thing that I think is universally bad, is the assumption and insistence that because any one of us operates in a particular fashion (whether that is in our emotions, relationships, beliefs, etc) that other people should also think/do as we think/do, and if they don't then they should be judged (they are wrong, immoral, crazy, a threat to the order of things, etc.)

It's just part of my live and let live thing.

A person who does not think/feel/believe/do in the same way that I do may not be compatible with me, but they are not a threat. I would do what I could to treat them with consideration, honesty and kindness, and I'd prefer that they did that for me as well. Especially if we are testing the waters for intimacy or a potential relationship...where we should be behaving as allies, not enemies or opponents.

It is my opinion that laying our cards on the table as soon as possible helps us to not waste time if we're not compatible, or get on with enjoying "us" if we are.

I also wonder how much of the difference of opinion about love has to do with just core personality components of various people. I'm super extroverted. I love people. I just think humans are great and I like to spend time listening and talking and interacting. If I could sit down and have a conversation with every person on Earth, I'd totally do it. I want to hear their stories, even if they walk a totally different path than me. I have no enemies, and I have hundreds of people that I call "friend." Funny though, Facebook is a great boon to me because I remember names best when I see them written. And as an analytical and organizing sort of thinker, I like to be able to sort my friend list into categories, and yes the vast majority of my friends on Facebook are actual friends. People who are part of my two "tribes" of those I have strong commonality and goodwill for. Not frenemies, coworkers, or distant relatives I barely know (though I do have a small handful of those.)

I hear others complaining about their Facebook feeds being full of annoying stuff...mine is not. Mine is full of people I like and ideas I appreciate. And funny cat videos.

So anyways. Once I did an exercise. I went through my friend list, fantasizing about throwing a huge beach party. One of my "if you could dream without limits" mental jaunts. Who would I invite? How small could I trim the list? Could I even fit the group into ONE beach house, and how much would it cost?

The answers... I could not get my list smaller than 60-70 people. Those are friends that I consider to be "like family." I have a lot invested in them. It would cost me tens of thousands, I can't even remember now, but I DID find two matching beach houses for rent with hot tubs and pools and such that each slept 30 people that would have worked. It was a fun fantasy. If I ever have like $30K to drop on a week of partying, I will know what to do (yeah right lol...but a girl can dream! Who needs pink lamborghinis when you can party like a rock star...with rockstars in the pool and steak on the grill baby?)

That's the social reality of me, of my life, and where I come from when I say that I give love casually and easily. Is my love less valuable? I don't know. It's certainly in high demand. Lots of people enjoy it and appreciate it and want it. It isn't meaningless to me for all that I share it with many. I do not confuse it with TIME or other forms of investment though. I have un-bundled my enthusiastic feelings for others, from my personal investments and other stuff.

Let me put it this way...I adore my Mom, but I don't want her to live anywhere near me and I don't think I'd lend her money. Do I love her though? You bet your ass. I might not see her for years, I might not talk to her for weeks, but I love her dearly.

I also read people (usually) with some ease and I am (usually) fairly confident of my assessments of them. I'm not scared of deception. I don't hate liars. I can usually see through them, and I have loved liars before even knowing when they are lying. They don't make me feel unsafe. The mentality of love-scarcity, reserving love for only one or few, withholding loving behavior or emotion...that scares me some because I fear it leads to a desire to grasp, control, or possess me. And so I wonder if those who are afraid of my easy, casual love style are assuming that I want to grasp or control or possess them, because their scarcity model is behind their understanding of love...?

(Sorry again, writing novels over coffee...)
 

FeatherFool

New member
Spork, I agree with you on many points.

I am very much an introvert. I can fake extroversion in certain situation for a certain amount of tie, but I definitely need to recharge away from people. I don't have any enemies- that's a waste of time and effort- but there are people I'd go to great lengths to avoid given the chance, and there are people who I find challenging to get along with. There are plenty of people I just don't care to know. I'm also slow to recognize my own emotions (and like whoa am I bad at recognizing motivations in others), so laying out stuff right at the beginning is likely to result in me going "uh, I don't know" which is not an encouraging response I imagine!

Your "huge party" exercise made me laugh when I applied it to myself! I think I could be happy with 6 to 10 people at my perfect party. I even know who those would be. More than 10 people and I start heading for the outskirts of the party, but even if that wasn't the case I really only have maybe 10 people whose presence would be required to make the party "perfect". My family throws gigantic holiday celebrations where there can actually be 60+ people in attendance (most of my family refuses to use contraceptives, so I'm sure you can imagine). Afterwards, even if I had fun, I feel like I've taken a beating and then maybe been drowned. I call it my party hangover. It often takes me days to regenerate my energy levels. Over-socialization has actual physical affects for me that are similar to a bad flu, never ind the mental exhaustion.

The mentality of love-scarcity, reserving love for only one or few, withholding loving behavior or emotion...that scares me some because I fear it leads to a desire to grasp, control, or possess me. And so I wonder if those who are afraid of my easy, casual love style are assuming that I want to grasp or control or possess them, because their scarcity model is behind their understanding of love...?

When a quick-love person bounces up to me and expresses their love (*cough*Tails*cough*) I do have this spurt of panic. Sometimes it is because I fear they want to possess/control me but that has less to do with the sentiment and more to do with the person (talking to you, creepy smelly dude at Perkins). I am definitely a disaster-planner, and it's hard for me to recognize that particular tail spin. So I start considering things like "What if I hurt their feelings?" and "Should I return their sentiment, even if I don't feel that way?" and "If I do say I love them too, to smooth the situation, then I'm a liar and I'm not a liar therefore I cannot say that thing" and "If I don't say it will they be hurt and take their friendship away?".

I am not very good at identifying motivations and if someone is being truthful. I am a dismal failure with subtle communication: I need people to just tell me straight or I will never guess whatever it is that they want me to assume. I try to be kind (I value kindness a lot) but I am not very good at subtlety. My sister once claimed that my communication toolbox was filled with blunt instruments. She's not far wrong.
 

icesong

Moderator
Staff member
I am *absolutely* in the "big party" camp too - I just sent out FB invites for a brunch party in a few weeks, and had to make myself stop at ~40ish not counting partners. I hope they don't all show up as my house will be PACKED.
 

GirlFromTexlahoma

New member
Spork, I actually think this

I do not confuse it with TIME or other forms of investment though. I have un-bundled my enthusiastic feelings for others, from my personal investments and other stuff.

is a big part of why you feel comfortable with "casual love", while many others don't.

I very much bundle "love" with commitment, time, resources, etc. I don't see love as creating obligations, exactly, but it does convey investment and priority for me. I'd be thrilled to throw the wild party for 70+ people, but I would never say I love all of them. Enjoy their company. Appreciate them. Like them. But I think of love as applying only to the half dozen or so people for whom I would do just about anything. I feel weird saying I love someone if I wouldn't, say, take a leave from my job to care for them if they were sick.

So if someone I barely know says they love me, it does confuse me. I don't worry they want to possess me - I just worry they think we have a relationship that we don't, or want things from me that I'm not ready to give.

I think if someone was able to articulate that they don't see love the way I do - that they're really just saying, "I'm so happy and I enjoy you and yay!!!"- I would be able to take that at face value. Love is not the word I'd use for that feeling, but it is a feeling I know.
 
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