Tag Archives: relationships

Relationship =/= Partnership

This is a post about two things: relationships, and a relationship.

It’s also a post I’ve been ambivalent about making — or rather, ambivalent about intending as a submission to the August Carnival of Aros. In my last post about the aro community, I discussed my relationship to the aro umbrella as a quoiromantic and came to no conclusions. Just three months ago, I hesitated about even commenting on Carnival of Aros submissions after the fact, worried about to what extent I might be considered an unwelcome intruder. In response to a private post about that concern, Sennkestra, one of the aros who helped launch the Carnival, not only reassured me about that, but also created the present FAQ Page for anyone else wondering the same thing. Under the heading “Who can participate,” that FAQ now extends an extensive invitation to not just confident aros, but also anyone who is questioning an aro identity, anyone who finds some aro narratives useful, anyone who identifies with something considered “adjacent” to aromanticism, and “anyone with any other type of relationship to aromanticism that I haven’t thought to list yet.” To some, maybe that’s overkill. To me, it’s just-enough-kill — just enough to confirm that I’m on the guest list.

With that said, this is a post that I might have written regardless: a reminder about the meaning of the term “relationships” itself & how I use it, plus some reflection on how my outlook on my own relationships has (and hasn’t) changed.

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All Third Wheeled and Nowhere to Go

A post for the July Carnival of Aces, on the theme of “Home.”

In my culture, there’s two main categories of people you’re expected to live with, in the long run: family members and (romantic) partners. If you’re thinking about how asexuality affects who you live with, talking about romantic relationships is the most obvious connection to make—that’s one of the oldest topic in the community. If you wanted links on the subject, I wouldn’t even know where to start. There’s also plenty already out there on asexuality and family, usually in the vein of guides for parents or advice/reflections on coming out. There was even a previous Carnival of Aces on the subject.

But under the umbrella of “people you live with,” for many of us there’s actually a third category, and that’s the nebulous category roommates. There’s not nearly so much discussion of asexuality & roommates, presumably because the two are expected to have nothing to do with each other. Or, if an ace identity is relevant to a relationship with a roommate somehow, it’s expected that will occur only in the context of a friendship, meaning that any relevant reflections or advice will fall under the more general category of dealings with friends. Whether or not you live together is (ostensibly) supposed to have nothing to do with it. At least, that’s what I gather from the comparative silence on the subject. You can find a few AVEN threads and reddit threads about roommate issues, or the occasional comment thread, but it’s not anything people are writing big official guides about.

Which is unfortunate, from my perspective, because I could have used one.

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Notes on the Nuclear Family

Be advised these are not proper “notes” but more like a slapdash pileup of sources on the subject, loosely categorized, and sprinkled with the occasional quotes and bullet points. I figure they can be a starting point for anyone interested in investigating further. More or less a response to this conversation. Crossposted. Updated 9/17/19.

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On “single”

[This post has been crossposted to Pillowfort.]

In the midst of other inter/intracommunity discussions going on, here’s something I want to put back on the radar: There’s some unspoken assumptions underlying some of how the ace and aro communities discuss “relationships,” and I think that needs to be addressed. For the purposes of making this point, though, I’ve decided to come at the issue by discussing the word “single,” specifically in relation to recent developments in my own life.

This is a post which has been exceptionally difficult to write.

But for now, here is where it starts. The word “single,” for describing a state of not participating in a romantic relationship, has certain limitations — limitations which have been addressed by aromantics before. In short, they would say, the word “single” implies too much. Those observations have weight, but personally, my problem with the word is the opposite: that it doesn’t convey nearly enough.

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Crunching the Umbrella and Spinning the Reinvention Treadmill

[Note: This post has been crossposted to Pillowfort.]

Back on March 8th, the day before I published my Genealogy of Queerplatonic, Siggy published a response of his own to the whole discussion, titling the post as “Death of the coiner” (an allusion to Barthes’ “Death of the Author”). In Cor’s addition onto that post, co wrote:

my main response is that it’s useful and arguably necessary for us to document and continually notify people of the pattern of semantic drift in words having to do with rejecting models and how they are reinscribed within those models to be less threatening

This post is about the same thing and that same dynamic: the pattern of ambiguous gray areas and umbrella words getting crunched into narrower redefinitions, leaving the need for their original ambiguity unmet, and paving the way for others to come along and try to reinvent the wheel.

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On “friendship”

In our conversations about norms, standards, desires, and expectations for relationships, such as in the conversations around queerplatonic and alterous, I’ve seen a lot of comparison against friendship as a familiar point of reference; it’s a term you’re supposed to be already familiar with, as groundwork for the mapping of other terms in relation to it. A lot of the times, when invoking it in this way, people will talk about “friendship” in ways that bother me with their implications. So, because I’ve gotten to thinking about that some more, I’ve returned to asking: what is friendship? We–

Wait– Hold on, wait– No, come back–

Darn. I think I just lost a reader.

Well, for those of you who are still here: in thinking about this, I’ve so far come up with about five (some potentially intersecting, some not) different models for what someone might mean by friendship — and I’m not even sure exactly which one I prefer out of the bunch.

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Bonus Round: Queerplatonic-Adjacent Concepts

Originally, my Genealogy of Queerplatonic (Part 1) was going to have multiple sections, but due to length I ended up cutting a lot of extra links I’d collected on other different-but-related concepts. I’m now sharing those links here, in their own post. In other words, even though this post mostly isn’t about the concept of “queerplatonic” by name, you can think of this post as a kind of Part 2.

Featured in this post: a set of smaller link compilations on relationship anarchy, platonic orientations, alterous attraction, and more.

[Note: This post has been crossposted to Pillowfort. Edited 4/28/19.]

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A Genealogy of Queerplatonic

This post is a sampling of links charting the etymology, development, and controversies of the term “queerplatonic” from 2010 to 2019. The concept has been back on my radar again, so to speak, and I’ve been thinking about saying more about it, but I’ve realized that in order to respond to certain patterns, I’d need to document them first. This post represents my effort to do just that.

Accordingly, I’ve tried to refrain from building toward any particular argument or central claim. Instead, I leave most of that to you. However, I am wary of this post being linked or cited in any way which outright contradicts my understanding, and so I have provided a couple paragraphs of summary down at the end, to pick out some of the most distinct patterns I have observed. If you are linking this post and need to condense it into a shorter summary, please make use of those paragraph in some way.

[Note: This post has been crossposted to Pillowfort. Updated 10/6/19. See also Part 2.]

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Queerplatonic is not an aro term

Or, now that the clickbait title has got your attention, let me make that a claim with a little more nuance: to say that “queerplatonic is an aro term” is a statement that, if it is made, deserves to be qualified. And I’ll explain why.

[Note: this post has been crossposted to Pillowfort. Updated 3/8/19.]

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“Estranged Parents and Boundaries”

All relationships have boundaries, but people usually don’t state them explicitly unless the other person has crossed the line. Therefore, openly stating a boundary implies that the other person has done something wrong, and members of estranged parents’ groups aren’t having that.

issendai, Down the Rabbit Hole: The world of estranged parents’ forums, “Estranged Parents and Boundaries”

Possibly of painful interest to those of you with family issues and crummy parents. This is mostly just quotes, but if you’re like me, it can be illuminating/helpful to see echoes of personal experience atomized like this. Obvious content warning for self-entitled parents saying awful things.