Feelings and how they fit into things

Go down

Feelings and how they fit into things

Post by Hirundo Bos on Tue Jan 05, 2016 1:24 pm

I'm opening up to the world, socially and emotionally, and that means I'm experiencing relationships and emotions that I'm not really used to dealing with. Especially when it comes to to the differences between friendships, sexual relationships and romance.

For one thing, there's a lot of overlap. They have many of the same emotions in common (for me at least). Like mutual liking and admiration, an interest in the other person's well-being, an interest in who they are, a desire to spend time with the other person... in fact, a main reason why I'm opening up right now is that I'm more confident about those feelings.

For another, they're also fluid – one can turn into the other, or the third, or back again, over time... I find that most people I'm attracted to, I'd also enjoy having as a platonic friend. And I think that in many cases, if a friend that's also of my preferred age and gender were to say they were attracted to me, I'd more likely than not become attracted to them in return. I might even react that way to someone outside those parameters, particularly when it comes to gender.

This sense of fluidity between friendly affection and attraction is probably a main reason why monogamy doesn't quite feel like it fits me.

But I do spend a lot of time wondering if my feelings are genuine. Am I really up for being a good platonic friend to someone I'm also attracted to, or am I being That Guy who angles for something more after all? Do I really return the feelings of that friend who says they're attracted to me, or am I just jumping at the opportunity? Part of this is that as mentioned, I don't have much experience with this range of my emotions – they all tended to blend together in a big hot swirl of anxiety before. Another part is that I'm not used to trusting my emotions, especially my proverbial guts. Confidence in that area is improving though.

And I also don't quite know how act in a platonic friendship when I also have a crush on that person. It helps to know that crushes pass, but in the meantime how do I know which feelings of admiration I can express and which I ought to keep to myself? How do I deal with the hope/fantasy that they might become interested in me in the future (especially when they've indicated that it's not unthinkable)? How do I sort out my feelings when they hit it off with someone else (happy at their behalf but also sad that it isn't me)? Which of these feelings are compatible with being a genuine friend, which of them would make me into That Guy?

As with many of my posts, I'm not really sure if I'm asking questions here or thinking out loud... I've already got a clearer grasp of some of my questions just by typing them down... but as with many of my posts, if anyone have any input, it'd would be very welcome.
avatar
Hirundo Bos

Posts : 569
Reputation : 329
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile http://abouthirundo.blogspot.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Feelings and how they fit into things

Post by celette482 on Thu Jan 07, 2016 8:53 am

What if for you, like for dare I say most people, attraction isn't an itch that can be scratched with sex only? What if, when faced with a person you are attracted to, you are yearning for the whole thing- to know them, experience new things with them, see if you can live with them, and yes sex is part of it too?

If that's the case, if your feelings of attraction aren't just sexual, but also holistic, then the line between platonic and erotic is much more permeable. After all, what are good friends but people you want to know, want to experience new things with, want to spend time with just for the heck of it?

In some sense, my husband and I are sexual partners all the time. After all, we are monogamous, and under the black-and-white definition of society, that makes us sexual partners, period. But there are 168 hours in a week. Even if you add in all the little intimate contacts that one can have when one lives with one's sexual partner, we do not spend remotely all our time actively engaged as sexual partners! Most of our interactions are being empathetic and helpful practical life partners (hey can you also grab me some tampons when you go to the store, hey I bought you the beer that you liked the last time, hey the car is making That Noise again, can you take it in on your day off?), silly friends (Hey, this 15-bean soup has WAY more than 15 beans.....-our jokes are awful), intellectual equals (discussions of current events, physics [why our door is sticking]), and true life partners (discussing our plans for the future-future).

The sex part is only a small bit. The rest of that is platonic. If my best friend moved in instead and we planned to live together for the rest of our lives, all that other stuff would be part of our relationship.

All that's to say: your fluidity not only makes sense (I am a sexual being, but I have other pieces of me too, plus there are all sorts of reasons why someone's libido or performance might be suppressed- I'm sure "snotty nose and chest congestion" is a kink for someone, but all I want in bed with my terrible cold is to sleep 11 hours a night), it also is balanced and appropriate. Society's story will tell you that sex and attraction is the end-all-be-all, but I've heard countless stories of horror-relationships that ended with "But the sex was great." Someone who steals your money or hits you or makes you feel like a slug is a bad partner, even if they are Sex-on-Legs.

Even in casual relationships, personality, character, interests- the whole person, basically, can be important. Even if you aren't looking for long-term commitment, how much you like and respect a person and who they are will bleed into your interactions with them, yes even sexual interactions. Focusing only on the people you are interested in for more than just sexual reasons will make you a better sexual partner too. Nothing is quite as soul crushing as having sex with someone who would otherwise not give you the time of day.

On a more practical side, the way you maintain platonic friendships with people you have sexual interest in is by remembering that you want to know them for their mind, not their bodies. I don't want to say "Do everything without an agenda" because that's dumb advice and leads to people getting or feeling like they are being walked all over. You have an agenda. We all have an agenda in everything we do. Just remember that your agenda isn't "Get Charlotte into bed" but "Get to know Charlotte because she's a cool person, the cut of whose jib I like quite a bit." Crushes on platonic friends are not limited to men. Every guy I dated before my husband was a friend first. If you're of the seeking-partner age and your friends are single, they're likely to be thinking it too, or to at least have considered it.

(Personally, I never quite felt the feeling of betrayal that a lot of young women report as the flip side of the dreaded friendzone- where you're crushed that the person you thought was a friend was actually just trying to get into your pants? I suppose because I never had a male friend who *also* took it to a manipulative and creepy level. Like, I never had someone offer to help me move and then show up with a box of condoms or something shudder-inducing like that. When my guy friends had unrequited crushes on me, I'd first notice that they'd go out of their way to be there where I was and then rapidly would ask me out. Finding out that a friend has a romantic interest in you isn't inherently creepy or upsetting. What's inherently creepy or upsetting is having someone basically try to trap you into a date or sex.)


Last edited by celette482 on Thu Jan 07, 2016 8:55 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Grammar!)
avatar
celette482

Posts : 168
Reputation : 138
Join date : 2014-10-22

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Feelings and how they fit into things

Post by Hirundo Bos on Fri Jan 08, 2016 1:15 pm

Thanks, Celette, for a comprehensive answer I'll probably go back and reread a few times.

It's not far from what my gut feeling said about the specific case behind this post – an online crush I asked out, and she said not right now, maybe if things change, would love to hang out in any case. And I thought yeah, I can scratch a lot of my itches with that... but also thought there are feelings during a crush that are not sexual, but still pretty intense compared to a regular friendship (or are they)? Acute admiration, excitement over small gestures of appreciation, the drive to show such gestures, daydreaming about the person, wanting to be around them a lot... I suppose it's individual, how much intensity someone is comfortable with.

On a more general level, I think itch-scratching is a very useful metaphor, because one of the ethical questions I've had about getting close to someone has been about what itches I've really been scratching. Like with sex – there are people I specifically would like to sex with, but I also have a huge non-specific scratch there. I've gone without for a really long time, and I've had some self-esteem issues tied up with it for even longer. And "finally someone who's willing" is not good reason to have sex with someone...

With caring, too... I've been itching to do nice and caring things, but that itch, also, has been tied to my self esteem. My desires have been less about the other person feeling good, more about being the one who causes it, about seeing myself in that role. And I've harmed other and myself with that behavior in the past.

I've become more aware of this pattern over the past year or so, but have struggled until now with finding words for it...

I like a lot what you said about an agenda... I've sort of gotten the sense that I had to do stuff without an agenda, and been paralyzed because I didn't know how that was really possible. Finding the right agenda is a much better option.

I think the key might have to do with empathy, or theory of mind... the things I don't have such a good natural grasp on as others... I usually like to point out that empathy does not automatically mean kindness. It can be useful for some pretty cruel purposes as well. But I'm starting to believe that the opposite is also true... aspiring to kindness without understanding others' emotions does not necessarily lead to somewhere good.

I'm... moving of track now, but as I said, you helped me find some important concepts here. I'll go and think more about what agendas I express with others.
avatar
Hirundo Bos

Posts : 569
Reputation : 329
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile http://abouthirundo.blogspot.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Feelings and how they fit into things

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum