Casual love--YES, PLEASE.

Spork

New member
You know, I look back at the people who loved me when I could not love them back...and despite what I say here, there were far more of them, than there were people that I loved with any great passion...and how I reacted to that...

In the past, I have emotionally or physically distanced myself.

I have faked the funk. I have allowed partners to think that I loved them in the same ways or to the same degrees, when I didn't.

Most notably was my looonnnng marriage. I used to, without reservation, simply tell him that I loved him in return. Eventually I felt a need to be more honest. I began to tell him that there was a chance, that when the kids were grown, I might leave. I began to tell him that I was sorry, because he has always been so very in love with me, and I do love him for the family connection we have, but I have never been as passionate for him as he was for me. That I was just doing my best with the cards life had dealt me.

It has been very hurtful to him that I never loved him as much or in the way that he loved me. He feels that our entire marriage was "a lie" because I never wanted to be with him. There is so much more to it than that, but I don't want to be deceptive. And immediately rebounding from that, to the Worm King, who was impossible to read (rare--as I said I can usually read people and I couldn't read him)...and who did not want to explore his own motivations with me and be communicative about what he was seeking or where he could meet me...he was sometimes deliberately confusing, I think...

After all of that stuff, I just want to be totally upfront. So at this time, if someone told me that they loved me, I would smile and be good to them, and I would ask them what that meant, and I might tell them that I didn't feel that way but I appreciated it. If I were building a new relationship thing I might tell them if I thought maybe I needed more time to feel that way. We would have seperate conversations about life escalator stuff and relationship style so that they know very well where I am at.

In my present polycule, I did not have instant "bonfire style" passion for any of them except Fire (somewhat.) I was kind of unsure of the others at first. But they seemed like good people, so I decided to give it a chance. And it DID grow into a beautiful and wonderful kind of love with each of them. A kind that feels a LOT less perilious than the immediate and explosive, obsessive kind I've had in the past for a few of my partners.

But that bonfire is a lot of fun while it lasts, usually not long but still. I wish very, very much that I could have that and enjoy it and NOT have it wind up being hurtful and messy and confusing. I would give nearly anything to find a partner where we both feel the same bonfire and both enjoy it enough to keep doing it. I've wondered pretty much my whole life if that is even possible.
 

Kelstar

New member
Wow

Ive been thinking about this exact thing for a few weeks now but couldnt really put it into words! Thank you thank you thank you!!!!! I feel this way about my secondary partner right now and i expressed it and i think it freaked him out a little bit. Now i can explain things properly.
 

sunray

New member
Glad you bumped this thread, Kelstar! It was a great read for me, as RacingSnail and I have just this kind of mismatch in our relationship. (He’s the slow burn, I’m bringing the fireworks.) I’m really quite proud of how we’ve been able to be honest with each other every step of the way, and make allowances for each other’s very different styles. Frankly, for me, having another partner really helps me not put any pressure on him to feel things in any particular way, or on any particular schedule.
 

libertinelover

New member
I enjoyed this article as it really speaks to the situation I'm in and something I'm struggling with at times.
Just over a year ago our 20 year marriage became an open marriage by mutual consent with the view to having separate NSA sex on the side. But of course I went and fell in love with my F-buddy. I don't believe these feelings impact on or are a threat to my marriage so I'm not worried about that. For a while I felt like the article said - even rehearsed the disclaimer I would give if I told my FB I was in love with him.
- That it was just a feeling I had at the moment, not a commitment or promise or expectation. It might last a day or years. It didn't mean I wanted any change to the way things were and I didn't need him to return the feeling. (I never did say any of this.)
But as time went on, I had a growing longing for him to be in love with me and tell me and at times I have felt quite heartbroken believing he doesn't (I really don't know!).
I wish I could go back to not needing reciprocation - or to be precise - not needing to know for sure that he is in love with me, when it wouldn't change anything, and I know he cares about me, desires me, was/is infatuated with me. Why do I pine for that extra validation I attach to him saying he loves me?
 

nelleyram

New member
Thanks

Thanks for your memo. The site sure has some intrigue. Yet, it does not help me negotiate my way around local polygamy forums or sites
 

vinsanity0

Active member
I'm bad about that too. I fall in love easily but saying that doesn't meanI want to shack up and make babies. I think we are in the minority maybe.

There is a difference between being pressured and feeling pressured. One should probably find out what a person means before making a huge deal over the L word.
 

Spork

New member
I'm bad about that too. I fall in love easily but saying that doesn't meanI want to shack up and make babies. I think we are in the minority maybe.

There is a difference between being pressured and feeling pressured. One should probably find out what a person means before making a huge deal over the L word.

The other difficulty I think lies in recognizing "your stuff" vs "other people's stuff"...if it's YOUR stuff, then you've got some thinkin' to do, but if it's other people's stuff, it's kinda not your problem.

So in a situation where people get scared because another person feels something...

If you can point to actions that feel nudgy and uncomfortable, you can ask for different actions. If someone else just says, "I am feeling a feel." then there's nothing at all you need to do. Good! Feel your feel, man. You go. I think too many also have no buffer between feeling an emotion and doing something about it. Get angry? Yell and hit stuff! Feel love? Craft a life bond, that person must be mine! I think it's healthier to spend some time thinking, in between the emotion and the words/actions that you think you need to do.

So on that note, a person's feelings should not feel threatening. But a person's words or actions, could be.

Interesting to apply that to other emotional states besides love.

Someone says to you, "I am feeling angry today" or "I am feeling sad right now." Just that and no more. Well, if a declaration of loving feelings could be seen as (I've recently started using this terminology and I'm liking it) a bid for intimacy or connection, then what are declarations of anger, pain, or sadness a bid for? A bit of talk time to work out an issue? A listener who is willing to do some emotional labor for the person having the feelings? OK, but are we then OBLIGATED to hear them and help them? Any more than someone saying they are hungry and broke or can't make the rent has placed an obligation on us to give them money, I don't feel that we're obligated to give someone something just because they have declared an emotional state. We can CHOOSE to...but we don't HAVE to.

But for those who are accustomed to not buffering between emotions and actions, then it might seem like there is more of an imperative and an obligation. "This person says they are angry, will they attack me?" "This person says they love me, are they going to impose on my time and space?" It's the entire question of whether our feelings entitle us to anything from other people. I say no, they do not.

Just here, we have nelleyram expressing some confusion regarding how to "navigate" first this site, then "polygamy sites" (this isn't really a site dedicated specifically to polygamy, nelleyram.) And since no one is truly sure what is being asked for, no one has responded to this bid for help.

We have no idea if "navigating" means "how to get from one subforum or thread to another" or "how to get the advice I want on the subjects important to my situation" or...anything. Only that there appears to be a confusion. Until we offer assistance, though, the request is not an entitlement on the part of nelleyram, nor an obligation on anyone else.
 

Leetah

Member
(I PM'd Nellyram so as not to add to the derail and confusion. I'm not sure if I sufficiently answered his question)
 

Sentinel

New member
I adore this essay. What would the world be like if we could love people without that being a thing? Without the love-shaming. Without the flashbacks to third grade when we gave a girl a valentines card for the first time and she threw it in the bin. Without the implicit desire to monopolise people's lives. Without the judgement about whether you are or aren't 'the one', or whether they are or aren't. If we are building instead of vetting. Crazy hippie dreams. Still, I think there's something important there. Maybe people would be happier.
 
Last edited:

River

Active member
I'm reading this article now. I paused to find this thread so I could post it here.

Casual Sex, Or Casual Love?
By Rachel Forshee, February 17th 2014
https://thoughtcatalog.com/rachel-forshee/2014/02/casual-sex-or-casual-love/

Maybe we can chat about it?

This excerpt really stood out as significant to me:

And it’s a funny thing when you go out knowing you’re looking for sex. You tend not to think of people as individuals – with their own hopes and dreams and desires, or that you’re even going to share an experience together. You tend to discount them as autonomous individuals at all and just focus on what you can get out of (or get off on) the situation. It’s a very transactional, capitalist, and … yes… cynical way of looking at humanity.
 
Last edited:

River

Active member
Okay, I've finished reading the article I linked above.

I found it helpful in getting more intimate with myself -- my own thoughts and feelings....

I'm exploring a new friendship ("with benefits"), and its entirely unlike anything I've experienced before. The lines which divide this from that are not at all non-existant; but they are not crisply clear, either. We're not "dating" in the usual "romantic" sense. Nor are either of us wanting sex or touch without feeling. And we talk, as in really talk. He wants to be "vulnerable" with all of his friends, be they FWB or otherwise. So there's real intimacy and care here, not just sex.

I think a lot of folks see the Friends With Benefits (FWB) category as "not a real relationship" -- and not a real friendship. But that's what he has to offer and what he wants, and that's fine with me. After all, we live fifty miles apart and I'm not likely to see him often -- and he's half my age (but damn mature for his relative youth).

Sharp, hard lines can be easier in certain respects, but there's no sharp had line between true FWBs and "true loves". That line is blurry, vague, mysterious -- to a point. Especially for a guy like me who has never deliberately and explicitly explored a real friend FWB before. I've thought about 'em, and what it might be like, but now it's real and it's happening. Now, for the first time, I have to work out in practice "How not to seem to be demanding or wanting more than the FWB we're exploring" even though the FWB we're exploring is explicitly also intimate, affectionate, caring ... a real friendship and not just a "casual sex" thing.

FWB implies a line, but precisely what kind of line that is is ... fuzzy. And I want to become comfortable with that.
 

JackDarlene

New member
Okay, let's define the term

Not to dis anyone at all, but I see a lot of posts throwing the word "love" around yet I'm not certain that everyone means the same thing by it. So, how are we defining "love"? I'm in love with my wife and we're in love with our quad partners and they love us back. Does that mean the same thing to everyone? We define "love" as a condition where someone else's welfare and happiness is, in our own minds, as important (or even more important) than our own welfare and happiness. How do you define it? If we're going to be talking about it, we should make sure that we all mean the same thing(s) by the term, shouldn't we?

:):)
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
A quick look at Wiktionary tells us that love has no single definition. Either the person writing/speaking the word must explain which definition is intended, or the person reading/hearing the word must guess based on the context.
 
This is a great discussion and after reading all the articles and comments it hit me that as we “relationship” differently (we are of course all independent individuals) we also “love” differently. And what we forget is that’s okay.

I love each person I’m in relationships with, whether romantic, sexual, being a mother and even work as well as friends. Now I’m not going to tell my co-workers I love them. That statement would have no real meaning to them except get freaked out. But I do by my actions with them convey I care for them.


I just very recently tried breaking up with my paramour because I love him. I was afraid to tell him as I knew he’d take it as a request for hearing it back and for long term commitment. But I told him I love him. It felt good. And yes his initial response was as I knew it would be. So I had to explain my love, easing his fears of his interpretation of the word love.

I learned it’s okay to verbalize my feelings but to include the definition of what that feeling means to me. It’s a risk but well worth being myself than hiding myself.
 

roryjo

New member
This thread has been really enlightening for me. I read the main article posted as well as the second article posted and all the commentary. I'm still kind of processing my thoughts here...
My fiance and I are in the process of opening up our relationship; he has fairly recently discovered he is poly, and I am fairly certain I am not (although I think I could be non-monogamous, but also there's a good chance that I'm simply too hung up on labels in general). Being polyamorous is a scary prospect for me because it requires LOVE. It's right there in the name! For me, as a monogamous person for 38 years and counting (because we haven't actually gone outside of our relationship yet) LOVE in a romantic sense means all of the escalator stuff: marriage, babies (well, not for us as I don't have all my baby making parts, but still...), growing old together, choosing a home when one of us gets too sick or frail or whatever when we're 83. So the idea that there could be more than ONE of these great loves is kinda terrifying.
I have a lot more reading to do, obviously. I have more fears and curiosities that I need to deal with. But these articles about love have started to help my mind wrap around the idea that love isn't...scary. (Even as I type that I recognize its ridiculousness, and yet it feels true :confused: ) Love comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes and intensities, and that's okay. I'm not sure I totally grasp it, but I think this thread has helped me start to :)
 

Vicki82

Member
These definitions definitely don't work for me, and that's okay. The argument I tend to use when I'm talking to people is that I don't order pasta when what I really want is lasagna (don't use the vague word when a precise word works better). I feel that broadening the definition of words waters them to the point of unintelligibility- that people no longer understand exactly what we're trying to say.

While I got nothing against the concept of casual "love", I think it needs a new word all its own so that it doesn't render the meaning of the word love so diluted that it lacks meaning.

Also, and I am sure people won't agree with me, but that line in the main article about feeling "love" on a weekend fling? To me, that cheapens the concept of love in general. No, what I feel when I'm in lust and having a great fling is nothing like what I feel for my husband.

I like casual sex. So this isn't about sex being less or anything like that. It's just that I believe that we should be generally making language more specific, not less so. Communication is for being understood. Why make it even more difficult? If you have to explain what you mean every time you use a word, maybe it's not the best word to be using.

Just my thoughts.
 
Last edited:

Spork

New member
These definitions definitely don't work for me, and that's okay. The argument I tend to use when I'm talking to people is that I don't order pasta when what I really want is lasagna (don't use the vague word when a precise word works better). I feel that broadening the definition of words waters them to the point of unintelligibility- that people no longer understand exactly what we're trying to say.

While I got nothing against the concept of casual "love", I think it needs a new word all its own so that it doesn't render the meaning of the word love so diluted that it lacks meaning.

Also, and I am sure people won't agree with me, but that line in the main article about feeling "love" on a weekend fling? To me, that cheapens the concept of love in general. No, what I feel when I'm in lust and having a great fling is nothing like what I feel for my husband.

I like casual sex. So this isn't about sex being less or anything like that. It's just that I believe that we should be generally making language more specific, not less so. Communication is for being understood. Why make it even more difficult? If you have to explain what you mean every time you use a word, maybe it's not the best word to be using.

Just my thoughts.

I don't agree; I don't think that the word or concept of "love" is cheapened by over use. But you aren't alone in this thought, I've encountered it before, for sure.

I think we are already at a place where "love" does not mean the same thing in different contexts and most people use it anyways. If it is cheapened, it was cheapened way before people started talking about polyamory. We love our new car, we love the mac & cheese at Panera. We love our pets, our parents, our kids, our partners. I love to watch a beautiful sunrise or sunset. It is easy enough for most of us to know when it's being used in a hyperbolic way.

The only time people get threatened by it, that I know of, is when we are confronted by a romantic prospect expressing it and we fear they are very invested when we are not that invested (yet, or at all.) I was going to say "when it's not appropriate" also but you know...I could even find ways of jokingly saying it to certain coworkers and if I did it right, it wouldn't bother them at all. It's not the words, then, but the tone...

But I digress.

I would like to live in a world where anyone could express themselves using the word "love" whenever they felt moved to do so, and the recipient would not bundle it up with a bunch of assumptions. I generally advocate that when a person feels concerned or uncertain about something that is said, rather than making an assumption...especially a worst-case one...ask for clarity. Discuss. More communication, not less.

And I see the endeavor to limit and explicitly define terms in a precise manner to be pretty futile. We could come to an agreement about it here, but in the greater world, people will still express themselves as they please. We cannot control them. We can only try to understand...and getting into the habit of asking for clarity rather than assuming can have broader applications that pay dividends in all of our human relationships.

I guess I'm saying that to me, demanding universally understood, strictly defined terminology, is demanding to be safe in making assumptions. Sooner or later, it'll bite ya.
 

Vicki82

Member
I don't agree; I don't think that the word or concept of "love" is cheapened by over use. But you aren't alone in this thought, I've encountered it before, for sure.

I think we are already at a place where "love" does not mean the same thing in different contexts and most people use it anyways. If it is cheapened, it was cheapened way before people started talking about polyamory. We love our new car, we love the mac & cheese at Panera. We love our pets, our parents, our kids, our partners. I love to watch a beautiful sunrise or sunset. It is easy enough for most of us to know when it's being used in a hyperbolic way.

The only time people get threatened by it, that I know of, is when we are confronted by a romantic prospect expressing it and we fear they are very invested when we are not that invested (yet, or at all.) I was going to say "when it's not appropriate" also but you know...I could even find ways of jokingly saying it to certain coworkers and if I did it right, it wouldn't bother them at all. It's not the words, then, but the tone...

But I digress.

I would like to live in a world where anyone could express themselves using the word "love" whenever they felt moved to do so, and the recipient would not bundle it up with a bunch of assumptions. I generally advocate that when a person feels concerned or uncertain about something that is said, rather than making an assumption...especially a worst-case one...ask for clarity. Discuss. More communication, not less.

And I see the endeavor to limit and explicitly define terms in a precise manner to be pretty futile. We could come to an agreement about it here, but in the greater world, people will still express themselves as they please. We cannot control them. We can only try to understand...and getting into the habit of asking for clarity rather than assuming can have broader applications that pay dividends in all of our human relationships.

I guess I'm saying that to me, demanding universally understood, strictly defined terminology, is demanding to be safe in making assumptions. Sooner or later, it'll bite ya.

I think you're making an assumption there as well- I'm not threatened by people's casual use of the word love. I might not agree with it, but it doesn't matter to me. What I like and appreciate is clear and concise communication.

Well, we're all different and looking for different things in partners. To me, part of shared experience is having a shared lexicon. I don't want to be repeatedly asking for clarifications or definitions if words are so muddied that they don't have much meaning anymore.

It's one thing to clarify occasionally if you're on the same page about something. But the whole point of communication is to communicate- and I don't see that broadening definitions helps that in any way shape or form. It would frustrate me to engage with someone who preferred words to be one size fits all. To me, encouraging people to broaden language beyond utility makes no sense.

But I suppose that's what keeps the world interesting, eh?
 

Spork

New member
I think you're making an assumption there as well- I'm not threatened by people's casual use of the word love. I might not agree with it, but it doesn't matter to me. What I like and appreciate is clear and concise communication.

Well, we're all different and looking for different things in partners. To me, part of shared experience is having a shared lexicon. I don't want to be repeatedly asking for clarifications or definitions if words are so muddied that they don't have much meaning anymore.

It's one thing to clarify occasionally if you're on the same page about something. But the whole point of communication is to communicate- and I don't see that broadening definitions helps that in any way shape or form. It would frustrate me to engage with someone who preferred words to be one size fits all. To me, encouraging people to broaden language beyond utility makes no sense.

But I suppose that's what keeps the world interesting, eh?

Oh, certainly. And in partner choice, I definitely agree with you that it's good to understand what your partner means by things.

I guess my thought was more in context of a community's use of language, where there are a lot of people applying interpretations, so the need to explain things, well... I'm not comfortable saying that my definition of a term is how it should be for everyone. I like it, my definition, and I like to talk about it, but I don't feel it's more valid than yours or anyone's.

And I personally also do better with partners who are more flexible with the word, than not. I've had good experiences and results in that. I feel it's part of the how and why, that even after breaking up with my quad, years ago, I still feel very connected and like chosen family to at least two of them these days, which is something I always want. Just because I don't feel I can be someone's girlfriend, doesn't mean I don't still have strong feelings for them. And to me, "love" describes a feeling, not intent and actions.
 
Top