Here is a post I saw today about how defining monogamy becomes tricky with aro spectrum and ace spectrum folk in the mix. Go read it. It’s got interesting points and I don’t have much to say on it, besidessss in response to this part added by paradife-loft:
And this also reminds me of how there have been times where I feel deeply unclear on the boundaries of what is acceptable with friends of mine in mono/romantic relationships, and thus pull away from doing things they themselves see no problem with because the entire set of rules and intuitions they’re working from is so unintelligible to me. I end up relying on the set of things that to me define my relationship with them separately from my relationships with other people as the boundaries, when those have minimal relation to what they’re actually seeing as the boundaries of monogamous relationships.
…This illuminated something for me with unexpected precision, because this… would explain at least a part of why I often feel weird about people dating people I know. A kind of weird-feeling that is, for the record, really hard to talk about without it sounding like either criticism or romantic jealousy, and that I feel unfair for even feeling at all, which is why I don’t talk about it. But here I am, pushing myself to talk about part of it.
‘Cause when I find out that someone is dating someone, I realize now, in light of the excerpt above, that it’s been throwing me into subconscious uncertainty over how that changes the rules for me as someone inhabiting the not-romantic slot with them, a status that only feels relevant and meaningful in my life when there’s anything to contrast it with.
Sure, yeah, there’s the obvious “no sex, no kissing” guideline, easy enough — but I don’t do those anyway, and that’s obviously not all a romantic relationship is. But… not understanding what a romantic relationship is, all I really understand, or all that operates at that subconscious level, is that I’ll be expected to act definitively different towards them than their datemate does — except I have no actual internal framework for what that means, and so in practice what it feels like is that I’ve been demoted. Like whatever the two of them do in public — sit close together, tease, cuddle — I’ll need to make sure to do less than that, in quantity or in kind. Like I’ve become aware of some arbitrary upper threshold for intimacy that I previously didn’t have to worry about. Which, of course, is unfair to resent when nobody has even directly told me anything of the sort, and this is all something self-imposed I’m imagining up in my brain. If ever there were a relationship problem that could be solved by Communication, this is it. But there are no scripts for this, and I don’t even know how to begin to approach it (if I decide to approach it at all). And so I remain… unclear, on the boundaries of what is acceptable.