Tag Archives: relationships

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 5/21/19.

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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 development 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 5/23/19. 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.


On “intimacy”

Hmm, okay. Here’s a thought, spurred by a fandom post of all things. I’ve seen arguments to the effect of “romance is not sex” and “sex is not intimacy,” and so on, but how about this: intimacy is not good.

And by that I mean: intimacy is not care. It can be but is not necessarily nurturing, or safe, or nice, or fond.

I need to be able to name the bad or negative intimacies because otherwise that leaves me with a relationship scale from “strangers, no connection” to “best of loves, closest kinship” with nowhere to place the rot and the lousy. There is an unwanted intimacy with witnesses to an embarrassing moment. There is an intimacy with the people who have seen you at your worst because they personally dragged you there. There is an intimacy in the connection between yourself and the ones who have deeply hurt you.

“Intimate” is not the same as “good.”

It can be powerful and electric and full of a yearning to prove something without. being. good.

It’s important to me to be able to recognize a sense of intimacy without always construing it as something positive, and I’d hope that would be important to other people, too.

This is a piece of what I think makes it so difficult to make external (in words) certain negative experiences. You might be able to recount all the moves made and the words used, but it’s sometimes hard to capture how immensely personal it feels. How potent, how close to the bone. That’s intimacy, is what it is. Some intimate interactions are made all the more negative by how intimate they are.

Anyway that’s why I need people not to take the term “intimacy” itself as a ringing endorsement, thanks.

 


a Christmas runaway bride story

For those of you surrounded by people celebrating Christmas this winter, who have estranged relationships to family, and who can relate to feeling trapped in an unhappy romantic relationship… I recommend the short story Bride by Christina Deka.

I judge a lot of things by their first sentence, and the first sentence of this thing is “I am not a bad person,” so, you know, there’s a first sentence for you.

In conclusion, here’s an excerpt to show what made me think of sharing this story with y’all:

I wanted to say, “I do not love you,” but I couldn’t. Gary was a good man, and good men were hard to come by. I knew this. I had been with all the bad ones. So I just smiled and said I was okay.