Why do/did you want a romantic relationship? [Mainly disc, maybe a dash of adv]

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Post by Robjection on Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:57 pm

The question in the thread title is a thing that I sometimes find myself thinking about, and this week it came into the forefront of my mind again when I was making some comments in Lee's comment thread. The first thing I did was ask what he would want in a relationship if the thing he had mentioned about making up for lost time wasn't a possibility. The second thing I did was point out that, in his response, he said what he didn't want but didn't say anything about what he did want. I then had a little chuckle to myself at the irony (wait, is it irony?) of me asking these questions because, truth time, if someone asked me those questions, my response would be a resounding "I don't know".

As nice as it would be to be able to answer the question for myself, though, what really set my curiosity off was the comments that followed. I'm not going to go into detail here, but it got me thinking about how some people seek romantic relationships for arguably the wrong reasons - in most cases, seeking a romantic relationship in order to get something that you can't really get from a romantic relationship, either by definition or by deduction - and others seek romantic relationships for the right reasons (for lack of a better word). And that's when I thought: "Hey, isn't there this forum I go to that talks a lot about relationships? I wonder what their thoughts are on the matter."

Which brings me to the question in the thread title: what is it that drives those of you who seek romantic relationships to seek them? To those who are or were in relationships, why did you decide to become romantically involved with your partners, and what would you say is/was the best thing about being in a relationship with them? And do any of you feel like, at some point in your lives, you may have been looking for a relationship for the wrong reasons?

I eagerly await these insights into my fellow forum-goers' minds!

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Post by reboot on Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:17 pm

My insight is less than illuminating. The only thing I would want from a relationship is sex, so to answer the questions that I asked Lee and that he did not answer, what I picture as a relationship for me would be someone I saw no more than once a week and for no more than 4 hours at a time, who might meet some friends (but never family) if it was at a public event. We would neither give nor ask for emotional support from one another. We would share enough common interests to have some conversation but shared interests would not be central to the relationship. We would not travel together, we would not sleep over with each other. We would have to share similar values on politics, gender, social justice, etc or else we would end up arguing too much to do anything else.
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Post by eselle28 on Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:35 pm

In terms of logistics, I'd like to see my theoretical partner over the weekend and for sleepovers maybe once or twice during the week. We'd have sex, talk about both mundane and important things, enjoy eating and drinking and entertainment, and have periods where we pursued our separate interests or did chores but enjoyed being around each other while doing so. We'd go on trips together, attend family gatherings but not too many of them, and entertain each other during boring work events. My actual partner and I do all those things besides the work events, which haven't really come up yet, except that he'd like to live together as well. I'm very uncertain about that.

I think what I basically like about relationships is some combination of a really awesome friendship with a very interesting person, plus sex and a kind of intertwining of lives that happens in some other people's friendships but not so much in mine. It's nice to have someone to say clever things to you while you're wearing yoga pants and watching Netflix, and not just when you're up for getting dressed up and meeting people at the bar.

I've definitely been in some relationships for the wrong reasons, though. When I was very young and quite insecure about attracting people, I often dated for the sake of having a boyfriend and so I could prove to myself and to others (though I'm pretty sure those others didn't actually care) that I was normal and desirable and all that stuff. Around the same period, I also entered into a serious romantic relationship because he wanted that and I really wanted to have sex with him - obviously not a very nice thing to do. Later, I entered into a particularly bad relationship because I was depressed and sort of exhausted by life, and my ex came along and essentially offered to take care of me, support me, and do all that pesky thinking for me. Let's just say that didn't end well.
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Post by Gman on Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:47 pm

Robjection wrote:what is it that drives those of you who seek romantic relationships to seek them?

I seek romantic relationships because I feel that it is something that fulfills me in my most deepest cores of my existence (this is the best description I can come up with right now). I know today that being in a relationship with someone who I am compatible with, not only brings me happiness in such amounts that I never could have even imagined, but it also challenged me and always kept me motivated and thinking about how to improve things that related not only to relationships but to my life in general. I honestly believe that a partial reason that I was given life on this planet is to try and spread as much love as possible around me. It's not that I can't live my life without a romantic relationship – because that's something completely doable. It just feels that finding someone to share my life with – whether it's for a month or for the rest of my life – feels very important to me right now

Robjection wrote:To those who are or were in relationships, why did you decide to become romantically involved with your partners, and what would you say is/was the best thing about being in a relationship with them?

My ex, who is my sole romantic partner that I had till now, kind of chose me and less of me choosing her. By that I mean that I was clearly interested in her from the get go, but in the end it was she who made the first "move".  Being with her literally shattered so many concepts, stereotypes and beliefs I had in my mind for so long. It was an eye opening experience.

The best thing about the relationship to me, was just the sheer amount of affection and physical closeness I experienced and just thinking about it again is bringing a huge lump to my throat and so many tears to my eyes. For the first time in my life I experienced what it felt like to be loved by someone. The more she gave me made me feel that I simply wanted to give back so so much in return. I still have vivid memories of certain moments we shared together and it's tearing me up from the inside just thinking about it………

Ever since we broke up I feel that sometimes this aspect clouds my judgement – that all that is left of me now is some sort of "physical contact" junkie that is looking for his next "fix" wherever he can get it. I'm pretty sure that on a subconscious level, the reason I like dancing so much is partially due to the physical contact it provides me in a socially acceptable manner. I've had a few moments ever since we broke up where I would find myself cuddled tightly to myself in bed, shaking from crying and wanting to feel it again so much. It hasn't happened again in a long while now, but I think it implies about what I might be feeling on a more subconscious level.


Robjection wrote:And do any of you feel like, at some point in your lives, you may have been looking for a relationship for the wrong reasons?

Oh I have a few times where I was looking for a relationship because that's what people around my age are supposed to "already have" and if they don't they are inherently broken somehow. Been down that road long enough to know exactly why in the end it does exactly the opposite and pushes potential relationships far far away from you.
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Post by caliseivy on Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:51 pm

I'm not actively seeking a relationship; my past ones I got into more so because the guy was interested in me and I found that when I gave it thought, I realized that I kind of liked the guy. Also for validation. Both of those reasons probably sound really jacked-up but I was very screwed up in the head and culturally brainwashed when I was younger. Being found attractive and worthwhile by a guy had been a big deal.

I did have some good in those relationships; the best thing about both was the physical intimacy. The second one also had the perks of being able to get into long discussions with him about a large variety of topics where he never made me feel stupid or criticized my opinions if he knew more than I did.

My reasons were definitely wrong. I believed the first guy who showed interest in me and actually asked me to be his girlfriend I needed to accept and like because I should be grateful that someone actually found me attractive; you should be in a relationship and eventually get married otherwise there's something broken about you. (I of course know better now).

I have no in-depth explanation of what I want from a relationship other than someone who respects me, doesn't treat me as a fetish, and similar stances on important topics like reboot mentioned. Would probably have to be more of an introvert than an extrovert.
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Post by waxingjaney on Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:17 pm

I mostly don't, but if I did I imagine it would be not too dissimilar from eselle's list up there. I'd rearrange the priorities somewhat, and I'd want a living arrangement that functioned something like adjoining suites.
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Post by Robjection on Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:14 pm

There seems to be a lot of getting into relationships for relationships' sake in the past (and yes, I've done that too), almost as if it's some kind of rite of passage. There's also a lot of motivations being tied to the more physical aspects of a relationship.

reboot, au contraire, your insight is very much illuminating. It sounds like the kind of relationships you're after are more on the casual/light end of things and I don't really have a proper understanding of how that works. Your post has definitely been helpful in that regard.

eselle and Gman, the main thing I notice with your posts is that you two seem to have very clear ideas of what it is you want. To both of you, how did you realise that that is what you want? Was it something you knew all along, did you do some trial and error, or was there some kind of thinking process involved?

caliseivy, even if you did get into those relationships for the wrong reasons, I'm glad you managed to find something good about them. I'm also somewhat relieved to know that I'm not the only one who doesn't have an in-depth explanation of what I want from a relationship.

waxingjaney, now I'm curious as to why you mostly don't. I mean, I can think of reasons why someone wouldn't pursue a romantic relationship; I just wonder what reasons you go with.

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Post by Guest on Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:57 pm

eselle28 wrote:In terms of logistics, I'd like to see my theoretical partner over the weekend and for sleepovers maybe once or twice during the week. We'd have sex, talk about both mundane and important things, enjoy eating and drinking and entertainment, and have periods where we pursued our separate interests or did chores but enjoyed being around each other while doing so. We'd go on trips together, attend family gatherings but not too many of them, and entertain each other during boring work events. My actual partner and I do all those things besides the work events, which haven't really come up yet, except that he'd like to live together as well. I'm very uncertain about that.

This is very similar to what I want.

I don't have an answer for why I want this from a relationship perspective. General desire for intimacy with someone?

I think if I was asked I'd probably just shrug my shoulders.

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Post by Andrew Corvero on Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:42 pm

Robjection wrote:
Which brings me to the question in the thread title: what is it that drives those of you who seek romantic relationships to seek them?


I don't usually explicitly seek out romantic relationships, but I'm always open to the idea of meeting people in general, and occasionally I find them interesting and attractive enough to make me want to try to see what can happen. I'm pretty much OK with any kind of relationship, exclusive or casual or open or friends with benefits or everything in between, as long as things are out in the open and there's room for discussion and compromise.

The most important positive attribute in a romantic partner for me (aside from the obvious, like attraction) is the ability to communicate. I don't mind disagreeing with people, even having debates and arguing a lot, but someone who keeps it all inside, who doesn't want to share at least some thoughts about ourselves and our inner world probably isn't the right person for me. I'm not saying that you shouldn't have some secrets, but I find it hard to connect with shy, aloof people in general.

I also love having fun and exciting new experiences, so I'm looking for that in a person I want to spend some time with.

My "ideal" romantic relationship is one with a partner who is open to discuss things openly and compromise if necessary, who likes to talk and listen, and who is willing to have fun together with me.

To those who are or were in relationships, why did you decide to become romantically involved with your partners, and what would you say is/was the best thing about being in a relationship with them?

I didn't exactly "decide" to become romantically involved because the only long term relationship I've ever had was...very anarchic and chaotic, although very fun. It started as no strings attached sex then matured into a kind of mix between a friendship with benefits and romance. My partner and I were very much against the idea of conforming to stereotypes at the time so we deliberately avoided doing what couples are "supposed" to do.

We never went on dates, we never made plans, we flirted with other people (and we both ended up having a one night stand while we were also seeing each other), we usually met whenever we could, but also did many, many things together, and the sex was great.

We both mocked the idea of romance in general, usually by acting lovey-dovey in a very over the top way before saying something shocking and unexpected, like "I'm pregnant, and you're not the father", "I'm secretly your long-lost brother", or even "I'm having an affair with your father". Sometimes we acted that way before some poor unsuspecting strangers, who, if they listened to us, were probably shocked (or entertained).

I think that deep down we were both very afraid of "moving to the next level" and "becoming just like anyone else": basically we were afraid of responsibilities and commitment. In the end the relationship died a quiet death when it became clear that we couldn't carry on like we did but we both didn't want to move farther. We parted ways in a friendly way and we're still good friends, even though we rarely see each other these days. She has a boyfriend now (the "vanilla boyfriend", as she calls him) and she's really happy with him. I'm really happy for her, too, because he's a kind person and a funny, pleasant guy to boot.

The best part of our relationship was the fun we had, no doubt. We really enjoyed being together: we had the same sense of humor, the same outlook on your life and at that times we wanted the same things and we did them together, without thinking too much about plans or the future. I have some very fond memories of those times and I don't think I've found someone who has the same chemistry and deep connection that we had. Who knows, though, maybe one day I'll find someone with whom I'll connect ever more!

And do any of you feel like, at some point in your lives, you may have been looking for a relationship for the wrong reasons?

When I was in my late teens, before I had sex for the first time, I was looking for a relationship (or sex in general) just to lose my virginity, no matter how.

Then I lost my virginity and...nothing happened. I was the same person as before, with the same foibles and the same anxieties. And I realized that I was looking for a relationship for all the wrong reasons.
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Post by waxingjaney on Tue Apr 21, 2015 10:42 pm

Robjection wrote:waxingjaney, now I'm curious as to why you mostly don't. I mean, I can think of reasons why someone wouldn't pursue a romantic relationship; I just wonder what reasons you go with.

I'd attribute it to a confluence of outcome independence, not being socially oriented, and being compatible-with/interested-in a very small number of people.
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Post by reboot on Tue Apr 21, 2015 10:49 pm

Robjection wrote:There seems to be a lot of getting into relationships for relationships' sake in the past (and yes, I've done that too), almost as if it's some kind of rite of passage. There's also a lot of motivations being tied to the more physical aspects of a relationship.

reboot, au contraire, your insight is very much illuminating. It sounds like the kind of relationships you're after are more on the casual/light end of things and I don't really have a proper understanding of how that works. Your post has definitely been helpful in that regard.
....

My marriage was a "relationship for relationship sake"/validation thing. I never, ever dreamed that someone would want to be with me and had resigned myself to being someone that men fucked when they were desperate, drunk, and only if no one would ever find out. Then my ex actually wanted to see me again after, in public even, and then the rest unspooled as it did.

Now, all of my emotional, intellectual and social needs are met in abundance by friends, especially now that I have a roommate I am extremely close to. In addition, after the unpleasantness of my marriage, I do not want to have anyone to have any claims on my time, emotions or attention, so light and casual is the way for me at this time.
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Post by The Wisp on Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:06 pm

what is it that drives those of you who seek romantic relationships to seek them?

The primary reason is sex, physical affection (kissing, hugging, cuddling, sleeping in the same bed, etc.), the feeling of mutual lust and desire, and the (seemingly) unique intense emotional chemistry that comes with a sexual and romantic relationship (e.g. being extremely happy just to be in their presence). I'm a very sexual person and I would love to have partner with whom I could have sex with on a regular basis. There are other reasons, too: feeling cared about and having somebody to care about, conversation, emotional support and nuturing (in both directions), and somebody who is fun to hang out with in non-sexual ways. Also, there's probably a part of me deep down that thinks having a sexual and romantic partner will fill some emotional holes and help me heal emotionally. I'm not sure that is healthy.

The reason the middle stuff is not the primary reason is because I can get those things from people who I am not sexual or romantic with. Not that I would want a partner who didn't have those traits (unless they were a very casual partner), it's important to me that a partner has those traits, and a component of sexual attraction and emotional chemistry for me would be that they have those traits, but if those were all I wanted, then I'd just seek out friendships. Maybe the way those things manifest is somewhat different in a relationship, in a good way, and then I'd want a relationship for that, too. But I'm not sure about that.

I suspect that that part about healing and emotional holes is unhealthy, but I'm not entirely sure about that as some are adamant that relationships, even sex itself, can be therapeutic and facilitate emotional healing. Soooooo... Shrug

Logistically, well, I'm not sure I could live with somebody, at least not unless they had many traits above and beyond what a good romantic partner would be. In general I would, like many young people, want to avoid the relationship escalator for the foreseeable future, though that might change at some point. I feel like my inexperience means that I don't have a ton of knowledge of what good logistics would be. But, theoretically, we'd meet-up at least once or twice during week, spend the night Friday and Saturday night together (though not necessarily the whole day before those nights) similar to Eselle's model, minus the overnight weeknight, on this count. We'd keep the financial and practical (errands, chores, school work, etc.) side of our lives separate, except for occasional help with the latter. I'd like to experiment with being sexually and possibly even romantically open after a few months of initial courting with my first partner, even if I decide in the end it's not for me. Meeting friends would be good, though I'd like to avoid meeting parents (siblings and cousins are fine) or going to big family functions as much as possible.


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Post by Enail on Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:07 pm

I didn't really seek a relationship. I had a vague idea of something that involved sex and close friendship of the casual, homey sort but probably not living together, but I wasn't intending to actively look for it at that time.

I decided to become romantically involved with my wife because we were close friends - in retrospect, in a pretty romantically-tinged way, but I was pretty oblivious about feelings at the time - and over time I recognized that the feelings were there (I already knew she was interested in me, but she'd been very respectful of my not wanting to date) and I wanted my life to always be intertwined with hers (we lived in the same building at the time, so they were already pretty intertwined). It's much more of a traditional relationship than I had vaguely envisioned for myself, but I'm happy with the format - I think I just assumed I'd want something different because I didn't generally want the Basic Adult Life Package.

I guess my favourite thing about our relationship is having someone around who I like so much all the time, it's just nice to have someone who always has something interesting to say or a funny comment and who makes you smile just by hearing them hum in the other room.
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Post by kleenestar on Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:34 pm

I feel like you must all be very bored of me talking about my relationship by now, but since this topic explicitly includes people in relationships, I am excited to answer!

I chose my partner because I saw him do something exceptionally kind, at significant cost to himself. Until then, I'd thought of him as a perfectly pleasant acquaintance - but I vividly remember saying to myself, "My god, that's the man I'm going to marry." (And then immediately following it with, "But I can't, he's not Jewish." Resolving those two statements took an enormous amount of anguish and about a decade of my life.) While I didn't ask him out on the spot, I had the opportunity to ask him about about two weeks later. That was nearly nineteen years ago.

The best thing about being in a relationship with him is his kindness, generosity, and integrity. I keep a daily journal about all the loving things he does for me and for our relationship (and now for our daughter!) and there are literally thousands of entries. I know that I can trust him and rely on him, no matter what. He sees the weirdest parts of me and accepts them with unconditional love; he cheers for me when I'm high and catches me when I'm low; he turns the considerable force of his intelligence and pragmatism on how to make me happy every single day. Basically he is the Pepper Potts to my Tony Stark, and I'm vividly aware that I would have a very hard time being a happy, functional adult without him. Also he is my best friend and there's no one else I'd rather spend time with!

Before I met him, I was absolutely looking for a relationship for the wrong reasons - or more accurately, the wrong relationship for the wrong reasons. I was more or less on autopilot. Everyone in my religious community knew the script for women. You date a little bit in high school (as in: maybe you hold hands or kiss), then you find a serious partner in college. You get engaged your senior year, get married the summer after you graduate, and have four to six kids over the next ten years. If you're radical, you might get married at twenty-five and have just two kids! But I was told over and over that if I wasn't engaged to an Orthodox boy by the end of college, that was probably it for me.

Early my freshman year, all the Orthodox girls and boys (maybe fifteen of us?) went out together to have a sort of unofficial pairing off. We went for ice cream and everyone started "sniffing" each other to see who would date whom. By the end of the evening, most of us ended up pairing off for dates. I got paired with this one guy because the two girls I was with got asked out by his two friends, and I figured "Why not?" I hadn't met anyone I liked better, and I knew that this was a significant chunk of my dating pool. We ended up dating for a while, but when he started talking marriage I realized that I would rather poke out my own eyes than live the kind of life he wanted to live. He was perfect for what I was supposed to want - smart, handsome, ambitious, well-off, religious - but he wanted me to play second fiddle to him and worse, be happy about it. This would turn out to be a larger symptom of a sort of benign selfishness; he's a decent person, in the way of a guy who has never really had to put someone else first, but that's nowhere near good enough for me.

I met my partner just a few months after breaking up with this guy, and in a way I think I was more open to dating him because I'd realized that following the "script" was going to end in tears for me, the guys I dated, or most likely both. Otherwise I would have dismissed him immediately, since the reason I was dating was to do what I should.
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Post by nearly_takuan on Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:19 am

I want to raise a kid someday. Not any time real soon, 'cause finances and planning and emotional stability and shit, but someday. Be a positive (I hope) influence on an individual's life. Teach 'em stuff; there's a lot you don't learn (or can circumstantially fail to learn) in school, y'know? There's information, skills, ways of being that I'd want to pass on. Except depression.

Anyway, to do that, you generally need a partner, especially if you're involved in a line of work that is infamous for making unreasonable demands of one's time. All preliminary research I've done thus far has indicated it's damned near impossible to be taken seriously by an adoption agency if you can't thoroughly demonstrate that you've got a thick support network under you in addition to a spouse. So there's that.

It'd be nice to know what it's like to be loved. I mean, yeah, there are multiple other flavors of emotional bonding (use an O-Power!) that can also be referred to as "love", but most of the people I've met who say that also use some other terminology to differentiate between distinct subsets of love: "agape", "eros", and so forth. I've looked into (and seriously considered saving for) sex-worker types who might be able to pull off a "pretend you're actually interested in me" kind of job, but I don't even know what the right way to phrase that form of request would be, and...well, it'd be neither ethical nor cost-efficient to try to make that last.

In the set of women I've asked out, which I'll admit has grown only very slowly in the last half year or so (unless you count online messages, which I don't simply because it's impossible to tell how many are even being opened), there does not exist one who thought it'd be worth the investment of time and energy to both agree and show up at the appointed place and time. So, while I'm aware that it's probably not possible for any one thing to drain the fantastic quantity of self-loathing and emotional baggage (if it ever was, it's too late now), I am pretty sure it'd help to have a real counterexample. The intent behind "I know somebody who knows somebody whose uncle's stepsister's niece is dating a person with some of the traits that I think you probably seem to have" is appreciated but it's...you know, just a little shy of profoundly meaningful. Shrug

I know that I prefer semi-persistent company over total solitude. Roommate and I are introverts but we can be introverts together and I like that better than the eighteen months I previously spent living in a fancy one-room apartment all by myself. The thing is some time within the next couple of years I expect Roommate is going to marry his girlfriend and they'll want their own place.

Pragmatically: just a little over an hour ago, someone I'd only just met told me I was in a good stage of life to be working long hours for a startup because I have no other obligations/demands on my time. (Thanks, dude.) In this case, the converse does hold up: if I actually had a reason to come home, maybe I wouldn't spend medically unsafe amounts of time at work. (Maybe I wouldn't spend medically unsafe amounts of time at work if that wasn't practically the only thing that consistently keeps my mind off how worthless I am as a person.)

Physical desire and/or sex? Eh. Not put off by it. Another person wanting it from me currently sounds as though it'd be gratifying and pleasant, but I mean the last time that happened I was not at all equipped to understand (much less appreciate) what was going on, and maybe in that case it was for the best.

Mom being forced to find something else to nag me about might be a nice fringe benefit...?
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Post by kath on Wed Apr 22, 2015 1:10 am

I think my Path to Relationship was sort of like Enail's. I was definitely not thinking a lot about it. And I think what I like about it is pretty similar too!

I really like having that person I am very close with, who I can disagree with / fight with / challenge and while sometimes that's hard, we do a pretty good job of being able to, after a discussion which is sometimes heated, come back together and be compassionate and understanding and a good team and work from there. And that ability - to know we can have pretty big blow ups / misunderstandings / ways of dealing with things and come back together and sort it out is something I really value. I really like the feeling that we are sort of building each other / ourselves as adults together, as a collaborative process, especially since we started our relationship very young and were quite serious about it quite quickly (I think this is due to both of our personalities). But we can be explorers of ourselves, together?

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Post by Guest on Wed Apr 22, 2015 1:12 am

My reasons are kinda boring and gross.

But, to be honest, I wanna get laid and love and be loved. That's really it.

I mean, I'll take either sex or love so to speak. Whichever comes first, I'll take.

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Post by Gman on Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:36 am

Robjection wrote:
eselle and Gman, the main thing I notice with your posts is that you two seem to have very clear ideas of what it is you want. To both of you, how did you realise that that is what you want? Was it something you knew all along, did you do some trial and error, or was there some kind of thinking process involved?

Rob, I'm sorry to dissapoint you but to be honest I am actually not quite sure as to what it is that I truly want out of a relationship. While I do believe that the challenge of being within a relationship helps to strengthen myself on a variety of levels and aspects, I don't really have this kind of "relationship archtype" in my head. All I know right now is that I'm looking for some closeness and affection - that maybe will be long term and maybe it will be short term (though I can absolutley say that I am NOT looking for A One-Night stand kind of thing. Even though I haven't expreienced one so far, I feel that due to the way I tend to get emotional in my romantic interactions, going down that path will probably end in me feeling hurt this way or the other).
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Post by Guest on Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:48 am

I want a romantic relationship for having a person to share my life with -- maybe not forever, but for now. I want someone I can laugh with, talk about my passions with, and learn to be passionate about new things from. I want someone I can cuddle up against and melt into, to just be in the now and comfortable with -- I like that simple pleasure of touch, not necessarily sexual, but of being with someone who wants to touch me and who I want to touch.

I'm okay with sex, and I enjoy it, but I don't really miss it when I'm not having it, so that's not as important to me as the emotional stuff. I enjoy it much more as an "I like making this person happy" experience than as a "this is fantastically pleasurable to me" experience. I don't think I would be happy in a sexless relationship, but sex isn't part of why I want the relationship, if that makes sense.

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Post by Gman on Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:29 am

ElizaJane wrote:I want a romantic relationship for having a person to share my life with -- maybe not forever, but for now.  I want someone I can laugh with, talk about my passions with, and learn to be passionate about new things from. I want someone I can cuddle up against and melt into, to just be in the now and comfortable with -- I like that simple pleasure of touch, not necessarily sexual, but of being with someone who wants to touch me and who I want to touch.  

I'm okay with sex, and I enjoy it, but I don't really miss it when I'm not having it, so that's not as important to me as the emotional stuff.  I enjoy it much more as an "I like making this person happy" experience than as a "this is fantastically pleasurable to me" experience.  I don't think I would be happy in a sexless relationship, but sex isn't part of why I want the relationship, if that makes sense.

Woah Eliza, I think you put in words what I was kind of feeling on the inside but not really able to express properly till now. Also - I really resonate with the part about about touch. Especially "Melt into"..... wow that is so accurate to how I feel I'm kind of scared you read my mind or something Razz

Also, here is a little song about touch (it's kind of an oddball, but I like it anyway): https://youtu.be/0Gkhol2Q1og
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Post by Caffeinated on Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:17 am

Things that drove me to seek a romantic relationship:
-I have a very high sex drive.
-I hate living alone.
-I had a happy childhood and wanted to have a marriage somewhat like my parents', and wanted to have kids.
-I like having a partner to do things with, whether little mundane things or big life-changing things. For me, it's just better with a partner.
-Single life brings out the chaotic side of my nature, which ends up draining all my energy pretty quickly. Being able to channel things into just one relationship makes life more manageable.
-I like the security of knowing I have the absolute number one spot in someone's heart, and the happiness of holding that person in the number one spot in my heart.
-Long-running inside jokes.
-Someone to divide the labors of life with in order to maximize utility.
-Just a strong internal desire for a romantic relationship, hard to explain kind of like it's hard to explain the inner drive to have a baby, it's just there.

A wrong reason I got into a relationship (my first marriage) was that I was in my early 20s, just out of college, and totally directionless. I met someone who I really liked and who was a compatible match, and he had a very strong direction in life. So I ended up kind of glomming onto that direction and making it my own. That worked until it didn't, ie until I started to really get a sense of the direction I wanted for myself (around age 30) and it didn't match up with his direction.
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Post by nearly_takuan on Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:39 am

Whoops, missed the exit poll.

Robjection wrote:And do any of you feel like, at some point in your lives, you may have been looking for a relationship for the wrong reasons?

Yeah. Senior year of high school and some early part of college, I was mostly looking just because it seemed like everyone else was looking. Told myself I didn't really buy the narrative that those years were your one and only shot at fun times and debauchery, but was (still kind of am) curious about what a prom or other dance event would actually be like. There was also some peer/family pressure.

After that, though, it started to become more about proving (to myself at least as much as anyone else) this was something I could do. To be honest, it's still a little bit about that.

But trying to put a stop to all of it forced me to consider what would be next if that "problem" could be solved, and what would have to come next if it couldn't. What do I actually want out of life? Well...turns out there isn't much beyond what I said. An eventual teaching career would be a sort of clumsy replacement for one of those things, but otherwise, I couldn't and can't think of anything.
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Post by eselle28 on Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:35 pm

Robjection wrote:
eselle and Gman, the main thing I notice with your posts is that you two seem to have very clear ideas of what it is you want. To both of you, how did you realise that that is what you want? Was it something you knew all along, did you do some trial and error, or was there some kind of thinking process involved?

It's a mix, I guess? I think part of the reason it sounds fairly clear is that my ideal relationship fits pretty well into society's mold for a serious non-marital romantic relationship. Some of it I've always known, especially the parts about being together but not constantly focused on each other, which is something that fits well with a more introverted personality. There are other things I've learned over time. The experience of having someone who you really like and find interesting around while you do mundane things like watch television or clean up after dinner isn't one that's frequently or positively portrayed in media, so I didn't know I enjoyed that until I experience it. The bit about having someone to support me during work-related social events is something I didn't notice until I had the opposite experience of dating someone who was better at being honest than tactful and who I tried not to bring to those functions because I was anxious about what he might say. It's not so much that I like those things (because I really, really don't) as that having a partner there makes socializing a little easier for me and that I value someone who's up for helping me out with that every now and then.

Caffeinated wrote:
-Single life brings out the chaotic side of my nature, which ends up draining all my energy pretty quickly. Being able to channel things into just one relationship makes life more manageable.

Oh. Yeah. I didn't mention that, but I recognize it's there. I have a chaotic side as well, and having a good partner seems to make it easier for me to be more balanced, generally without any sort of conscious effort on his part. I also think that being in a good relationship tends to round out my tendency to be a bit reclusive, that I tend to eat and sleep better when I have that structure, and so on. Unfortunately, the flip side of all that is that being in a bad relationship has historically made all those tendencies more severe.
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Post by reboundstudent on Wed Apr 22, 2015 1:13 pm

The interesting thing in my own brain is I have very clear ideas about why I want a relationship, I have very clear goals/needs that I want that relationship to fulfill, and yet I feel like that makes me less of a desirable relationship partner. It's like, because I have these expectations/desires/needs, that's a sign that I shouldn't have these expectations/desires/needs.

I have this idea that romantic relationships are conditional. My love for a partner is kind of based on him fulfilling certain needs and helping me with goals. (Just to quickly jump in, I also believe that his love for me is conditional on the same things.) I find unconditional love in a romantic relationship a really weird concept.

But then I'm also starting to believe I am a selfish bitch who shouldn't be in relationships at all.
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Post by eselle28 on Wed Apr 22, 2015 1:18 pm

reboundstudent wrote:
I have this idea that romantic relationships are conditional. My love for a partner is kind of based on him fulfilling certain needs and helping me with goals. (Just to quickly jump in, I also believe that his love for me is conditional on the same things.) I find unconditional love in a romantic relationship a really weird concept.

I don't think that's unusual. Most people I know's love is conditional on at least a few basic premises involving treating them fairly well and not being a complete monster to other people. I can understand unconditional love toward a pet or a child, but it's hard for me to picture love between one adult and another that has no basis in the way the other behaves.
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