• Announcements

    • Kelly

      AVENues Holiday Special Edition is now live   08/17/17

      The new edition of AVENues is done!   See:        
    • Kelly

      New Team members Needed--Moderator and Project Team: Voting   11/01/17

      Voting has started. See:     http://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/163513-new-project-team-member-needed-resources-and-education-director-voting/   http://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/163514-new-moderator-member-needed-qa-co-mod-and-gray-area-mod-voting/   http://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/163513-new-project-team-member-needed-resources-and-education-director-voting/  
    • Lady Girl

      Ace Community Census   11/06/17

      It’s time for the 2017 Ace Community Census!   see:   http://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/162675-announcing-the-2017-ace-community-census/  
    • Heart

      Help fund AVEN's servers!   11/06/17

      AVEN is doing its annual fundraiser to raise donations for server costs! See http://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/163251-aven-server-fundraiser/ for more details.  

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

TheWheatOne

What is the boundary between Queerplatonic and Romantic Relationships?

Recommended Posts

TheWheatOne

Several weeks ago, I learned that the Aven's wiki's definition of Queerplatonic explicitly did not include romance:

"A queerplatonic relationship is a relationship that is not romantic but involves a close emotional connection (platonic) beyond what most people consider friendship. The commitment level in a queerplatonic relationship is often considered to be similar to that of a romantic relationship. People in a queerplatonic relationship may be of any romantic or sexual orientation... A partner in a queer platonic relationship is called a zucchini."

Previously, I always took it as literal, in that it goes by its component definitions:

pla·ton·ic

pləˈtänik/
adjective
adjective: platonic

1.(of love or friendship) intimate and affectionate but not sexual.
"their relationship is purely platonic"

Nothing in that states romance is disallowed explicitly.

Furthermore:

queer
kwi(ə)r/
adjective
adjective: queer; comparative adjective: queerer; superlative adjective: queerest
1.strange; odd.
"she had a queer feeling that they were being watched"
Basically, queerplatonic an unnatural form of platonic relationships....

So here's how I interpreted it. "Platonic" was basically a catch-all term for any intimate and affectionate relationship not involving sexual deeds. Pets, parents, siblings, average friends, teachers, co-workers, and so forth, who we get attached to, talk with, do hobbies, hang out, join their clubs, teams, and so forth.

For example, there was a story of an old man that played chess with a teenaged girl that was otherwise asocial. Completely non-sexual, but they were intimate in terms of talking about their lives and values, and it became a loved experience.

"Queer" basically meant "not normal" or "unlikely" or "some weird version of..." whatever it was referring to.

For example, a straight person having gay sex with a female to male trans. Definitely weird huh? Or at least, unlikely.

Or how about a polygamy where there were several men and one woman? Strange marriage arrangement I'm sure (and most likely not accepted legally or otherwise in most parts of the world)

Combined, it basically meant queerplatonic was a form of platonic relationships (which were already intimate/affectionate) that went in paths not normally crossed. Abnormal shapings, unlikely shared dynamics, and so forth that you would not normally identify in a generic platonic relationship. To me this included romantic gestures (that is of course relative to the person and cultures involved)

But then comes along Aven's definition that threw me for a loop. It made it seem like both component definitions were wrong. That platonic was meant for ALL non-sexual relationships, no matter how business-like and casual and faint any of the bonding was. And that queer was basically a modifier to make it more intimate and intense, yet still exclude, specifically, romantic aspects. I was so baffled by this it took a few days to internally accept it as the standard used here.

So if this is the case for the real definition of Queerplatonic, what exactly is its boundary between what a romantic relationship is? Why was romance from it excluded?

TL;DR: Title^^^

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
passionatefriend61

"Platonic" is a shitty and problematic word in it's current usage and it's been totally bastardized over a couple thousand years, since Plato first talked about love in the Symposium. Read this: http://thethinkingasexual.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/platonic-love-is-a-problematic-term/

Basically, romantic-sexual society considers "platonic" relationships to be both nonromantic and nonsexual because they tie romance and sex together, which already falls flat when you acknowledge romantic asexuals. Romantic asexuals confuse the meaning, sometimes using "platonic" to mean "nonsexual" and other times using it to mean "nonromantic." For romantic aces, there is a difference between romantic nonsexual relationships and nonromantic nonsexual relationships, and it doesn't make sense to call both "platonic" just because of the no sex quality. Likewise, if you take into account sexual friendship--that which is sexual but nonromantic--the word "platonic" again becomes inadequate.

In the word "queerplatonic," the platonic part is understood to mean "nonromantic." Some QP relationships can actually be sexual. Whether or not there's sex or sexual attraction in QP friendships is irrelevant. The important thing about QP relationships is that they are totally devoid of romantic attraction. That's the only "boundary" separating queerplatonic relationships from romantic relationships. Romantic attraction. Everything else under the sun can happen in a QP relationship and it's not "romantic" as long as the two friends feel no romantic attraction to each other.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TheWheatOne

I'd further make the argument that almost all words have been "bastardized" from their root meanings. Its quite amazing when you look into etymology, and see just how insane the definition and usage of our words have changed, even if they are relatively young ones. However, for simplicity, I used the modern definitions of the component words, which is why I quoted and reasoned with it in that fashion. I'm actually quite surprised that Aven's definitions would dig that far into a word, which is both good and bad to me I guess, because it puts me and others into positions like these.

What I'd like to know is if platonic equals nonromantic in its root meaning, why not simplify it by using the less historically complicated modern word of "nonromantic"?(romance is of course also bastardized in its medieval knight narrative adventure roots, but its far more deeply accepted in english as a completely different word/meaning now). By continuing to use platonic, it switches in meaning from nonromantic to nonsexual and back too easily, and it just becomes confusing, especially with uninformed people who have no distinction at all between romantic and sexual orientations and other related terms (which also have their own fundamental root complexities, verses modern usage and other cultural-specific slang, such as in the internet).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
passionatefriend61

Well, I DO use "nonromantic" and "nonsexual." All the time. In writing and speaking. Because that's the only way to be accurate.

The original meaning of "platonic" is neither nonromantic nor nonsexual, actually. Plato's idea of perfect love/relationship wasn't about being nonsexual OR nonromantic with a friend but building a relationship that is aimed at something higher than the body. It was never about taking sex out of the picture. It was about loving knowledge with your partner, instead of getting wrapped up in sexual desire and idolatry of your partner. Go back and read the Symposium if you want to really get it. Plato was actually a big advocate of homosexual pederasty, and that's what he was ultimately thinking about when he outlined his idea of love (though I believe he talked about heterosexual relationships too). That's why it's especially weird and funny that the modern usage of "platonic love" is supposed to be both nonromantic and nonsexual.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
virtua

Though they appear to be similar, queerplatonic and platonic are actually two different words describing two different experiences.

The term queerplatonic appears to have first come from the user meloukhia in this discussion back in December of 2010. In that discussion, you'll see that the "queer" in queerplatonic refers to the word queering, which means "to reevaluate or reinterpret a work with an eye to sexual orientation and/or to gender by applying queer theory," and not the word queer, as explained by the user kaz here in this post. Thus, queerplatonic is about "queering platonic relationships." It was a word created by those who wanted a term for an in-between and gray area type of feeling and relationship that is not romantic but is not necessarily friendship - at least, in the way friendship is commonly viewed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TheWheatOne

Okay, I have a fairly good grasp of how queerplatonic is used and rooted now thanks to you both. I probably won't prefer to use the term much anymore, as its getting too complex for my tastes, and will probably just react to it only when disagreements arise if I see it used by others.

What I'd like to see now is how romance and other such romantic terms, orientations, feelings, and so forth, are bordered by other terms then. I keep seeing its a relative term defined by the user by many places around both here and other parts of the internet, but that sorta makes it hard to communicate common attributes towards it in speaking of it.

What are the commonly accepted attributes then, so I know how its bordered to nonromantic relationships of any kind? Should I make a separate thread about that? It seems to be fairly common a question, so perhaps there are some good threads out there already, but so far, by what I've seen its been mixed in answers (obviously, since its so relative), so perhaps some untangling here would be good, in how exactly "romance" is viewed in terms of its evolution. I doubt we're going by roots here, or we'd have romantic novels be about knights going on adventures today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
passionatefriend61

I maintain that you will not and cannot find a universal definition for "romance" or "romantic" relationships vs. nonromantic relationships, because it doesn't exist. It's a subjective feeling that can be expressed any way a person wants, and those modes of expression do vary. For many romantic-sexual people, romantic relationships are sexual by definition, and yet most romantic asexuals prefer nonsexual romantic relationships and do feel a difference between their "romantic" feelings and nonromantic feelings, even in the absence of sexual attraction to partners. Aromantics of all sexual orientations can want and form nonromantic partnerships and other gray-area friendships that are super intimate and emotional that can look identical or very similar to other people's "romantic" relationships from the outside, but internally, they don't feel romantic to the people in the them.

I don't know what else to tell you. Human beings don't need to all experience relationships and feelings the same way, nor do we need rigid definitions of feelings and relationships to get what we want. All you have to do is communicate specifically about behaviors that you want and don't want in whatever kind of intimate and/or primary relationship(s) you desire. Find someone who's a match to what you want, who you care about, and call the relationship whatever you want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TheWheatOne

Then how the hell do I get people to answer my questions concerning these?! There is a whole category of romantic novels, and even gay literature to get examples from (for normative relationships), yet when I asked about what I wanted about nonsexual romantic friends or "queerplatonic" (in how I used it), posters were giving me answers that were very off base with what I wanted, to be frank. There were a few good ones, but they were more like a luck of the draw, and even they were not exactly what I wanted to read and study. I couldn't find in the end what I was seeking for the types of relationship. Instead what I got was a semantic battle and in-depth explanation with what I wanted, which I thought could be told in minimal fashion in just a few key words. I know weird relationships are not as common, but I doubt I'd have this sort of trouble with more concretely accepted label definitions.

Right now I'm at the point where I feel like there really are no books or studies with the relationships I have in mind. So far I've basically had these confusing in-depth discussions about exactly what each person is using the terms as, which gave me a ton of trouble regarding incest, aromance, celibacy, chastity, abstinence, sex, intimacy, sensual and so forth. I had several long PM chains about it, and it got so exhausting I quit AVEN for a while. One or two semantic discussions are fine, but this was just too much. I'm glad at least some people made fun charts to let me link quickly instead of arguing with others, so they knew what I agreed with.

I ask for just a little more concrete usage of queerplatonic and romantic, and when the former gets too complex for me to consider using in my search (root knowledgeable, nonsexual, nonromantic), I can't even find out what romantic means either. What the heck? I understand relative usage and malleability of a term, but if it has so wide and different a usage, then its worthless to me in my search. I might as well pick a random romance novel and hope that it contains what I seek. Had I not researched well enough, or the poster who warned me with spoiler text, I'd have wasted time reading six books of character development to get to an ending that basically said "the way we feel about each other wouldn't work out". I'm so glad for her warning, and it made me wary of buying other books that people suggested with other malleable terms. At least the money I would have spent instead went to a new pen tablet, so there is one positive I guess.

I'm not attacking you. I actually think you are right, but right now I feel frustrated at how much I have to write to get my feelings communicated about what I'm looking for. I guess I really just have to give up. While I don't think I'm a special snowflake, I doubt I'll be able to find like-minded authors to give me insight into how they made their own books regarding their ideals and feelings about it, as well as use it as example narratives to follow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
passionatefriend61

And what I'm trying to tell you is that you don't need other people to give you their definitions of what "romance" vs. "friendship" vs. "queerplatonic/primary friendship" is in order to decide what it is YOU want. What other people think and how they define the different relationship forms for themselves has nothing to do with you and your relationships. You can answer your own questions, that's the point. And that's what you should do. Decide what romance is to you, what queerplatonic means to you, what friendship is to you, and then make decisions about what you want.

Make a list of everything you want in an intimate, significant relationship--behaviors, feelings, terms of involvement, etc--and then decide what that kind of relationship is to you, based on how you feel.

Romantic relationships are defined by romantic attraction and nothing else. So contemplate your feelings vs. your idea of what romantic attraction feels like and decide, if you can, whether you experience romantic attraction or not. Queerplatonic relationships entail a deeper, stronger emotional bond and emotional attraction than normally happens in normative "friendship," and often, queerplatonic relationships function as an aromantic person's primary relationship or partnership. Friendship is a broad term that covers an assortment of nonromantic relationships. They're each defined by feelings, and feelings are purely internal. That's why no one can give you a universal definition of each relationship form. We can only talk about our own feelings, and people's feelings vary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TheWheatOne

You basically repeated what you said before. However, it did reenforce my final thoughts that such self-defined labels have far less value to use in communication, given if you cannot easily exchange the info contained in it, and constantly have to get in such prolonged battles of what it means for every single person, its just not worth to effort to even care about within daily use of the English language. I literally left this site because I couldn't take all the essay-length comment chains created by the chaos within all these subjective terms. All of these labels might as well be from some ancient fantasy language that no one can agree on in translation and with no course of etymology or decoding established. I already thought this all, as it developed over time with regards to all the terms I learned on this site and across the internet, but I guess this is the nail in the coffin.

I now see why so many people are confused at what they are, and what they feel, and what they want to do, and all the direction they are given is "do whatever you want, just label yourself how you feel like, its different for everyone". Its really pissing me off over the long-term. I can't find what I want, and communication is a major pain. Nature's way of setting the courses for people's normal sexual cycle really is a blessing this way, they don't even have to think much about this stuff, and just do what nature tells them to do and seek within their relationships, instinctively.

I give up completely on my search and studies within these terms. I'll just start from scratch and only have myself to rely on in the books I write about the kinds I seek. I'll take your advice to heart and go by how I want to label everything.

Perhaps I'll just make simple terms, like stranger, acquaintance, family and friend to refer to basically everything, and if people question why I'm using friendship incorrectly when showing one example to be very intensely romantic, or people in a sexually active marriage, I'll just say they're using it incorrectly, and that I'll passively assume they should go by my standard when speaking to me about it, nor will I explain the specifics about it to them, and they'll have to figure it out, since I've learned its easy to know what I'm talking about without any knowledge of me beforehand. In fact, I'll use this personal standard when answering other peoples questions. Its not like that won't invite befuddlement, because obviously they'll see my standard automatically and communicate by that toward me specifically.

To me, those who love each other are friends, no matter how sexual or romantic or married or platonic or intimate or sensual or family related it all is to everyone else. To me, I'll simply label them as "friends".

When someone asks somewhere, "I just got friendzoned, what should I do, I feel this unrelinquished love, and it pains me every time I look at him and see his new girlfriend. Should I just leave him and move on?"

I'll answer, "That sounds great that you're friends with him, just tell how you feel and maybe you can go out together with them both so you get to know her too. You shouldn't leave a friend just because he finds another that he has a great time with. I have lots of friends at my club and eventually we all warm up to newcomers too."

Don't worry though, if people specifically say in their threads that they are going by their own standards in these terms, I'll be sure to automatically know how to discuss it with them by their own standard instead of mine, such as saying they'll use queerplatonic in their own way, then see them discuss having great sex with their mentor, but that they'd like to get to know them more in a romantic dinner, and talk about having children with them, without marriage, in queerplatonic parenthood, and ask how she should go about doing that. I will DEFINITELY KNOW how to reply and answer.

However, if I, for some obscure reason don't know what people are thinking when they say any of these terms in their own way instead of mine, I'll just say "whatever you feel like, its how you define it and go by it, not us". That will definitely help them still, because obviously there is no standard to call upon and agree on beyond our personal usage of these words. Dictionaries aren't needed for these terms either, they're just for stiff control freaks who can't handle the freedom of personalization of our words. I'm sincerely glad I get to classify all of these words in my way now.

It truly does feel freeing actually, to not have to ask all of these kinds of questions on what applies to what, when I can instead just make up my own system for everything. It will definitely make it easier for me to understand my own stories and descriptions, that I had so much trouble understanding fundamentally by having to constantly go to a thesaurus and look up any word's history and usage.

I seriously mean it. It feels so grand just to call upon my characters' relationships without sex or romance or incest or marriage or polygamy or platonic or queer thoughts getting in the way, and they can all just call each other friends and family without one care about whatever anyone else says in society. They can just sleep and eat with each other, live together, and so forth, in one loving group that needs no other complex labels or specific lines of thought, as to what they should think in detail within those simple words.

And whenever someone says "Are you a couple?" between two of them as early teens, they'll just look confused and say "A couple what?"

"Girlfriend and boyfriend" says the questioner.

"Oh yeah, were friends." They'll smile and kiss each other on the lips.

The roster will be called and they'll answer even with the same last names, and that same questioner will ask, "Oh, I didn't know you were married so young! Is that even possible?"

"Oh, we'd like to but, you know, the law doesn't really like family marrying together. Its kinda weird though, cause they let one of our dad's marry our mom afterward." They won't give one shit. Not one, at the the confusion displayed by that person, and they'll go on their merry way like nothing was out of place, except a bit sad at how discriminatory and selective the law is to them, when all they want is to share financial accounts by signing a piece of paper.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
virtua

I think part of the issue is that there is a mainstream, generally accepted definition used in common discourse and a subjective definition that varies depending on the individuals who use the word.

As an example that I think most of us will be familiar with, take the word "feminism." It has a mainstream, commonly accepted definition that basically boils down to "the theory of/collection of movements advocating for the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes." (Note: I'm not sure if there is agreement within the mainstream definition of whether it is a theory or a collection of movements.) However, the subjective definitions vary widely with everyone having their own definition of what feminism is, what it really stands for, which group has misconceptions about it, etc.

Despite this wide variation and disagreement over what feminism really is and what it stands for, I do think effective communication can be achieved on this topic; after all, feminism isn't the same as the temperance movement or an anti-communism movement nor is it a synonym for "education" or "workers' rights" or "abortion" or "animal rights." Some of these examples might be random, but my point is to show there is an aspect of that definition of feminism that we all recognize, no matter what our individual definitions of feminism are. We know feminism isn't about animal rights or temperance or anti-communism or worker's rights, and while there may be overlap between feminism and some of these other topics, we know that they're not the same thing. We know that at its core it has something to do with gender/sex and trying to even the playing field to achieve fairness, whether that's through substantive equality, equal opportunity, or something else.

Though it will take extra communication and extra time to explain what we mean when we use the word feminism, it is still possible to use the label to communicate effectively because there is still an aspect of the word "feminism" that we can all recognize as being part of its definition. And I think that can be true for every word.

I ask for just a little more concrete usage of queerplatonic and romantic, and when the former gets too complex for me to consider using in my search (root knowledgeable, nonsexual, nonromantic), I can't even find out what romantic means either. What the heck?

Having said the above, I'll give you a concrete, "mainstream," generally accepted usage of queerplatonic and romantic.

Queerplatonic doesn't really have a mainstream definition because it rose from parts of the asexual and aromantic communities, but a concrete definition of it is: a relationship that involves a deep emotional bond transcending what most people would think of as friendship, yet is not romantic

Romantic: feelings that may involve extreme nervousness at first, infatuation, constantly thinking about and fantasizing about whoever one is romantically attracted to, joy from being around them, disappointment and other negative feelings when they're not around, feeling affectionate and wanting to express that affection towards them, deep caring, and being highly aware of their presence and in-tune with them

If you were meaning a romantic relationship, a mainstream definition of that would be a relationship where all parties have romantic feelings for each other, regard each other as romantic partner(s), and behave in a way that distinguishes (not necessarily placing the romantic partner in a "higher" position, but just in a different position) them from their other relationships.

I think those are some concrete definitions that the majority of people can mostly identify with, but even among the majority, there are going to be aspects that don't fit the way they experience these things. Obviously, it's going to be different - sometimes exceedingly different - for everyone. I think part of this issue lies in the fact that these definitions are describing very personal feelings; though I do believe people can recognize aspects of a word in a mainstream definition, it's difficult to want to if they feel it boxes themselves in and dismisses or limits their own experiences.

In short, I think we can all do better at recognizing the mainstream, generally accepted definitions for words and agree that they do work for certain people, but at the same time, we can work toward more effectively communicating our own experiences better (no matter who we are, whether we're the majority or the minority) and just listening to each other. It might take longer and more effort, but in the end, it will improve our ability to communicate and to connect and ultimately, to understand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Aqua-ace

I've been struggling with the same set of questions that TheWheatOne asked. I ended up coming to the conclusion that I might never understand what romance actually is, nor the border between platonic, and nonsexual romantic relationships, because romance is a subjective and abstract thing. I found a lot of what was said in this thread useful though.

By 'platonic', I mean nonsexual nonromantic close relationships, and I didn't know until this post that a lot of people define platonic as either nonsexual or nonromantic, not both.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TheWheatOne

Romantic: feelings that may involve extreme nervousness at first, infatuation, constantly thinking about and fantasizing about whoever one is romantically attracted to, joy from being around them, disappointment and other negative feelings when they're not around, feeling affectionate and wanting to express that affection towards them, deep caring, and being highly aware of their presence and in-tune with them

Thank you, this is what I was looking for! It does seem general enough and it fits with how mainstream seem to talk about it, when looking through it in detail. As for queerplatonic as a word, its kinda still in the grave for me, given how several people were confused onsite and offsite when I used them in different definitions, including the non-romantic one.

As you said in the rest of your post, I actually had very similar feelings, and a fairly intense debate about say feminism or other interest groups should be used as labels in a more wide or strict or casual a fashion. I think I ended up losing that debate simply by length, and I accepted it in the end as an open-ended word that seemed to have no concrete core, given how so many sub-groups wanted it defined differently. I sincerely wanted it to have a more neutral strict definition, so that people could stop using it as an insult for the more vocal extremist members, but well yeah, its a graveyard word in my mind now. I won't use it seriously beyond casual practical use.

Anyway, perhaps I may still use romantic in my search criteria, and to describe relationships, but for now I just want to rest. I'll take off "WTFRomantic" from my A/Sexuality: profiling to the side. I believe its too hard to define when it cuts off between how other people use romantic here, and it will just get confusing. And going by my own system now, it doesn't have a use anyway.

By 'platonic', I mean nonsexual nonromantic close relationships, and I didn't know until this post that a lot of people define platonic as either nonsexual or nonromantic, not both.

Nor did I. I'm glad I started this thread at least, to see how 'wrong' I was in my personal usage of it. I was so baffled at people's confusion when I started using that word more frequently. Although by this point in the discussion here, I'm being told that I can use it by my own relative thoughts about it, so if I do start using platonic again, I'll go by what I think its about. It will make things easier when I don't have to think about my own words too much, as being wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.