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Explorations, Sex + Relationship Structures

Reflex

TRIBE Member
I guess I need to vent a little. I'm just curious as to how many others out there are in the same boat as me. btw, this is a little lengthy.

We have the following categories:

a) committed boyfriend/girlfriend (or variation) relationship. not
sleeping with or dating anyone else.

b) open relationship. still a committed relationship but both
parties have agreed that it's fine to date/sleep with others
under certain terms. but at the end of the day, there is still a
core couple.

c) people who date each other. no commitment, may or may not
be sleeping together, but still free to date others and do
whatever they want.

d) one-night stands.

.... and then there's me in my little boat.

now I'm not saying that these are the only types of relationships there are. what I’m saying is that these seem to be the only structures that most people seem to adhere to.

I don't want to be committed to anyone right now because I want to continue exploring and enjoying the freedom to play moments with people and see what forms those moments take. I'm talking about a variety of different experiences, whether they be intensely emotional, intellectual, spiritual, physical, or sexual.

I have made some amazing connections with people, but dating doesn't totally satisfy me because I find that many people tend to be very careful. There can be a lot of games, which can be fun as hell and keep both parties wanting more. I let people know that I am not looking for a relationship, so I usually only date people of the same mindset. Even though both parties know they desire to remain independent, there still tends to be some caution as to how much one can allow themselves to connect to the other person because there is the fear that one will mistake the affection and deepened interest for a desire to commit. Obviously if you are dating someone then you like them. Even so, it seems that so many people are too afraid or inhibited to commit themselves fully to a moment because they think this will mean committing themselves to the other person and to the structure of a relationship.

Then along magically comes someone who wants to and is able to give himself over fully and experience what's going on. An amazing connection is made, the cards are laid on the table that a commitment on my end is not desired and everything is said to be cool. The connection continues to deepen and now he says that it has gotten to the point where it's too deep for him to no longer have a commitment from me.

I suppose I kind of expected it, but I'm so frustrated because now I have this incredible relationship with this man whom I don't want to lose, but in order to keep him I have to choose to give up something very important to me. I'm upset, because I care very deeply for him but my independence right now is of utmost importance to me. He understands where I am coming from, and he is fine with me going off on adventures with random people and exploring, but he can't stand my having physical relationships with other people. And I understand that. So even though my independence is totally NOT about sex and physical intimacy, that's the one barrier that's standing between us. Who knows, I may not have the desire or opportunity to be intimate with another person while I’m with him, but I don’t want to cut myself off from any possibilities while I’m in this exploratory mode. Yes, there is a lot to explore within a relationship as well, and it’s amazing to experience another person, but I want to do that while still having the freedom to explore everything else. In becoming committed to one person only, I would have to take them into account when making certain decisions. This can be wonderful but it’s not what I’m looking for right now. So I'm losing someone really amazing.

I know this is long and ranting. My frustration is getting in the way of my ability to articulate my thoughts. My point is that I don't want any form of commitment to a person except for a complete and utter commitment to him in the moment. When I'm with him I am ONLY with him. When I'm not with him I may think about him but I make my decisions based on what's good for me and the people around me, not what's good for "us".

So relationships, either open or closed don't work because there is a commitment there at all times. dating is awesome but it seems people either don't allow themselves to totally let loose, or they eventually want a commitment. and one-night stands... well they’re just here because they’re a defined structure. They can be good and bad.

I bet most of you are totally confused and asking what the hell I just said …but does anyone else get it? It's like I want something that society doesn't have a definition for. not one I know anyway. and it's the hardest thing to explain because it doesn't quite fit into a,b,c or d. but at the same time it just makes a lot of sense for me. It feels natural. I’m just writing because it’s ridiculous how tricky the universe can be sometimes. Making two people fall for each other in every way and then realizing that your ideals just don’t fit. It’s frustrating. It sucks.

What do you guys think? Are you happy with the structures we’ve got? Or do you also feel like there’s more there that none of these quite encapsulate? I know that each relationship is unique and follows it’s own formula. But most people still define their relationships as fitting into one of these categories. It’s not a bad thing and I want to make clear that I am not condemning anyone who chooses one of these structures. But I find myself wanting something else.

Kirsten
 

deep

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Reflex
So relationships, either open or closed don't work because there is a commitment there at all times.
are you surprised by this?

the word relationship implies more than one party, interacting. Which in turn means you might have to occasionally think of someone other than yourself.

At any rate, for whatever connection you feel with this guy, it's pretty obvious that both of you want very different things and for one to give what the other wants would compromise central necessities.

But you're already realizing that with this externalization of frustration.

I digress. I appreciate you're trying to steer this towards an academic discussion rather than a critique of what decisions you've made. I will contest however that sometimes what is most natural (read : automatic) for us is not necessarily a hospitable path. Whether that should be interpreted as a signal to create a new path fitting for your leanings or whether it might require some changes in perspective on the part of the individual is a question for each person to answer themselves.
 

Reflex

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by deep
are you surprised by this?

the word relationship implies more than one party, interacting. Which in turn means you might have to occasionally think of someone other than yourself.

At any rate, for whatever connection you feel with this guy, it's pretty obvious that both of you want very different things and for one to give what the other wants would compromise central necessities.

But you're already realizing that with this externalization of frustration.

I digress. I appreciate you're trying to steer this towards an academic discussion rather than a critique of what decisions you've made. I will contest however that sometimes what is most natural (read : automatic) for us is not necessarily a hospitable path. Whether that should be interpreted as a signal to create a new path fitting for your leanings or whether it might require some changes in perspective on the part of the individual is a question for each person to answer themselves.
No i'm not surprised. :) I know what it means to be in a relationship. I know that it requires thinking of the other person. It is obvious that this is a time when I feel I have to think of myself first. I'm sure that sounds selfish to many, but it's honest. I don't believe that I could get into a comitted relationship without sacrificing certain ideals at this point.

But I don't think I implied that I didn't want to interact with the people I get involved with. I was hoping to express the opposite in that I want to be able to interact on every level with them. I want to be able to grow with them and do the things you are able to in a relationship except without the comittment of a relationship. (I am using the term "relationship" in the way I classified it earlier, not in reference to it's literal meaning btw)There is a level of comittment that exists and that I do encourage in that we want the best for each other and we want to encourage growth and caring in the other person. I suppose I'd like to be able to have multiple relationships. That's the problem.

I'm not just realizing all this stuff now. It's been coming together for awhile, and I've been tossing it around for awhile. But the articulation of it is still pretty fresh. This is the first time I've sat down and tried to write about it. It doesn't just apply to this one guy, and this one situation. This isn't a heartbreak thread. It's more about my frustrations with how we always feel we have to classify what we have with others. The guy is a demonstration of how it affects my life. Although this situation did not hatch these thoughts, it has made me realize how important they are to me. It spurred me to try and activate a discussion to see if anyone else is going through the same thing.

Of course what feels most natural is not necessarily an indication of what is the right path. That's why we were given the gift of being able to think before we act. Thank you for the advice. I assure you I am doing a lot of thinking ;)

And yes, I guess this does sound kind of academic, because I am talking about societal structures. But I'm basically just trying to make something very complicated as clear as possible. Though it is always welcome, I'm not looking for an academic discussion, just an honest one.
 

Soundstream

TRIBE Member
I add one more type:

e) A MOTOS (member of the opposite sex) who you are such good friends with that everyone of your friends assumes you are BF/GF. You do everything couples do together, including dressing in matching/co-ordinatring outfits when you go out. Buy each other random gifts. Flirt with each other extensively. But you never have sex , even though you think that both of you want to (but neither wants to initiate it).

I've been in this type of relationship all my life with lots of girls. And the worst side-effect is that to the outside everyone assumes you two are together, so nobody tries to pick you up because they figured you are "attached".

Cheers ... Ian :)
 

squirrely

TRIBE Member
i like to think that when you find the "right person" then you *want* to commit yourself wholly to them.


then again, i am chronically and hopelessly monogamous. i tried the "un-defined" thing this summer and i just got really slutty.


it's tricky.


but i think you are brave for refusing to adhere to a relationship paradigm that doesn't quite do it for you. ya gotta stay true....
 
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OTIS

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Soundstream
I add one more type:

e) A MOTOS (member of the opposite sex) who you are such good friends with that everyone of your friends assumes you are BF/GF. You do everything couples do together, including dressing in matching/co-ordinatring outfits when you go out. Buy each other random gifts. Flirt with each other extensively. But you never have sex , even though you think that both of you want to (but neither wants to initiate it).

I've been in this type of relationship all my life with lots of girls. And the worst side-effect is that to the outside everyone assumes you two are together, so nobody tries to pick you up because they figured you are "attached".

Cheers ... Ian :)

So in other words, put up with every binding aspect of a relationship and remove any chance of sex.

Ian, for god sakes listen to yourself man.
 

Soundstream

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by OTIS
So in other words, put up with every binding aspect of a relationship and remove any chance of sex.

Ian, for god sakes listen to yourself man.
Yes, that is EXACTLY correct! I call it a "relationship, without the sex".

But I continue on with these types of relationships as if I am a donkey/mule and the girl is dangling a carrot (sex) in front of me and I continue on with hope that one day a real relationship will happen.

I actually don't mind it as much as you might think, but I agree, the concept serves me no benefit.

Cheers ... Ian :)
 

deep

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Reflex
I was hoping to express the opposite in that I want to be able to interact on every level with them. I want to be able to grow with them and do the things you are able to in a relationship except without the comittment of a relationship.
I understood that, I just think that it's mutually exclusive. That's why I asked the question : do you think it will ever come to be that people open up all available emotion if they don't feel some degree of security (usually created by exclusivity) with the person they're opening up to?

I suppose I'd like to be able to have multiple relationships. That's the problem.
Perhaps in a few generations. I think at the present what most seek out of relationships is fundamentally classic.

And that's speaking on an emotional level, not an intellectual level. I'm sure that many can appreciate the notion of open relationships etc. when it comes to academically discussing it, but when it comes to emotional needs I think most are still looking for a counterpart.

This is the first time I've sat down and tried to write about it.
I think that's a good thing, it puts things in concrete terms rather than the nebulous nature they usually manifest themselves as emotionally. It at least more definitely states what it is you're looking for to help clearly navigate through what's available.


And yes, I guess this does sound kind of academic, because I am talking about societal structures. But I'm basically just trying to make something very complicated as clear as possible. Though it is always welcome, I'm not looking for an academic discussion, just an honest one. [/B]
I don't do anything other than honest. Quite frankly your original post struck me as being a bit chicken little - wanting all the benefits of emotional depth without any of the investment (which can include commitment).

I appreciate that you're wishing that there were more readily acceptable forms of relationships that are more in line with what you want. Again what I suggest is that it may be mutually exclusive to desire emotional depth with someone when a lot of our psychology is geared towards the necessity of people feeling unique and special.

I don't find anything wrong with open relationship proponents suggesting that a lot of times people use relationships to fill in the gaps created by their personal insecuities. At the same time, I think that a lot of these things deemed insecurities are basic characteristics in the way people construct their self esteem and view of the world.
 
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SelfExel

TRIBE Member
Reflex:

I completely understand what your saying and what you want, It's a beautiful idea, having a complete fulfilling relationship with many people. The problem is that not everyone has this notion, even I who can understand the principle, don't really think I could handle it. Like if I started to love someone with a passion, I don't know if I could handle her telling me about the guy that fucked her silly(which is what should happen, total communication). Then I consider why I could not handle it, it mainly stems from petty ideologies like insecurity, selfishness, jelousy and others which I don't feel like getting into because it's 3 in the morn. So in conclusion I tell you this, stay true to what you want, if a compromise makes you feel like your losing out on something important or special don't do it, but do remember that sometimes a compromise can take you to places you did not know were there.
 

deep

TRIBE Member
I honestly do believe that regardless of whatever idealistic notions people may have, their emotional resources are finite. Meaning what they can give out to someone is ultimately limited. We'd like to believe that we have an endless supply of emotion to give to people but any student of psychology or even their own emotional history knows that our emotions obey basic economics.

The more people our limited emotional "reserves" are divided up against, the less each gets. I think it's important to recognize that the majority of people expect out of their "partners" (however you may define that) something more meaningful than what a friend or casual acquaintance can allow. In that sense there is an ultimate upper limit to just how many people you can divide your limited resources with.

Whether one person can totally satisfy your needs / you can totally satisfy theirs is an age old question, whether 2-3 might better do the job is a new one, but beyond that I question the meaningfulness of.
 
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Subsonic Chronic

TRIBE Member
Kirsten, you gotta do what's best for YOU. And it's not selfish at all to think this way sometimes.

If you go and commit to this guy because he's asking you to, you're going to find that sooner or later you're going to wish that you hadn't - not because he's a bad person, but because you don't want to limit yourself to just one relationship of that nature - it's not what's best for you. You're going to become bitter, and this bitterness more likely than not is going to be directed at this person who asked you to change your ways for him.

You sound like you've put a lot of thought into what you want out of your relationships right now, and that's great. So what if there's no name or title for it, it's how you feel, so it's what's important. That's also really cool that you're explaining this to the people that you're meeting and forming these relationships with... so that they don't have any unreasonable expectations from you.

Stay true to yourself first and foremost.
 

Zorro

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Soundstream
I add one more type:

e) A MOTOS (member of the opposite sex) who you are such good friends with that everyone of your friends assumes you are BF/GF. You do everything couples do together, including dressing in matching/co-ordinatring outfits when you go out. Buy each other random gifts. Flirt with each other extensively. But you never have sex , even though you think that both of you want to (but neither wants to initiate it).

I've been in this type of relationship all my life with lots of girls. And the worst side-effect is that to the outside everyone assumes you two are together, so nobody tries to pick you up because they figured you are "attached".

Cheers ... Ian :)
That sounds like it belongs in a Metrosexual thread. ;)
 

physix

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Reflex
What do you guys think? Are you happy with the structures we’ve got? Or do you also feel like there’s more there that none of these quite encapsulate? I know that each relationship is unique and follows it’s own formula. But most people still define their relationships as fitting into one of these categories. It’s not a bad thing and I want to make clear that I am not condemning anyone who chooses one of these structures. But I find myself wanting something else.
In my experience, any sort of alternate
structure only works when it simply happens.

you don't have definitions.
you don't have rules.
you don't have, even, an understanding.

it simply is.

the best relationship i had was a 2 year relationship
where there were no rules. We never made any b-c
we never found the need to... it simply was. I didn't
sleep with others not b-c that was how our relationship
was defined, or b-c he said i couldn't, or anything like
that. I didn't sleep with others simply b-c I didn't want
to. And when I did, finally, want a trist with someone
else, he was surprisingly ok with it. And vice versa.

Anytime you set a structure or define parameters
or say you can and cannot do this or that, I think
the natural spirit of folks will tend to want to rebel
against it. And it's our conscience that "decides" or
determines whether or not we'll actually do it or not.

That's simply been my experience, tho. I'm sure others
have had wonderful experience with even the most
strict structures.
 

Evil Dynovac

TRIBE Member
Good god after reading all this I am seriously glad to be married.

deep, the idea of a finite emotional limit is sound math I guess. It beggars the question: have you hit that limit? In all my years I never did so please understand why I hold your idea suspect.

Soundstream. Give your head a shake.

Reflex, you're writing a book on relationships but you are not the main character. You've started catagorizing what exists while giving no thought to what you actually want.

Don't quantify man! Laying out what could be is like being a butler for someone else's life! We own the relationships in our life so we deserve to define them, no?

Two weeks into meeting my Isabella I find out she's banging this other dude. That's all good because I defined our relationship like Reflex did, all nice and socially aware like. I accepted that we weren't tight-tight and so all kinds of contrary shit was fair play. I was happy to be so illuminated with all the fucking knowledge I had regarding modern relationships. For like five minutes I felt urbane.

Until I said to myself this is total ass and I've become a spectator in the relationship I wanted to be in. So I walk. I tell her to have a happy birthday and I walk away from my wife. Of course she ain't my wife yet but it only emphasises my point. I walk and she runs after me, telling me that I was right and that this relationship I conceive of is better than the one we are both living.

You own the relationships you make with other people. At the end of the day you are the archetect of your own happiness, and being social creatures our happiness usually involves other people. There should only be one kind of relationship... the one you want and therefore create now!

Am I making any sense here?
 
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Subsonic Chronic

TRIBE Member
^^^ good points. (edit: to physix)

sometimes the best thing to do is to just let your relationship be as it is, and not to try and define it (a lot of the time you have to explicitly keep yourself from attaching any labels to it). as soon as you try to define it, you then start changing the relationship to fit the definition that you've given to it, and that's when things like jealousy and unmet expectations come into play.
 

MoFo

TRIBE Member
I've learned to go with gut instincts.

I agree with you though. When I have these casual relationships with people, they tend to be with people who are in the same mindset. But then something happens and the ball gets rolling. Someone gets too close or someone feels that it's getting too close for comfort.

Which in my mind is ridiculous because I'm not going for one of the four labels you mentioned anyway. It's something undefined. People regard things with such sureness and it irks me. Black and white with no grey.

You're right: sometimes what you want cannot be expressed with a label but with the actions that define it. I am the same: I want to experience friendship, physical satisfaction, affection, bonding, intellectual stimulation with these people. With ALL these people.

I've come to realize that the reason why I have many friends and lovers now is that I have a keen sense of what I want despite not being able to articulate it with words. It's quite utopic in a sense to be able to be ignorant to the rules and supposed stipulations.

Many people question why I seem to "get too close" so fast. Well, it's not that I am trying to have a boyfriend. I just feel more passionate about people than the reciprocal forces. And I think you are like that too: you can have the extreme emotions but still live your life as a functioning single person. I don't see any harm in that except for the fact that you're going to come across as either cold or clingy in situations. There's the damn black and white conundrum again.

I say life is too short to dilly dally with playing games. That initial awkwardness and "relationship" building should take not even 2 meet-ups. After that, move on. And let them think what they want to think, really.

I also think that society (worse word in the universe but fitting) puts too much emphasis on the importance of love and relationships. God, every fucking song out there is about some break-up or some kind of mattress mambo. Maybe I'm just cold but if you try and it doesn't work, then fuck them. Looking out for #1 and being sincerely happy about independence and self-acceptance should be the way to go for most people. Kirsten, I think that's a real messy situation but I think you already know what's best for you. You wouldn't have mentioned the problem if his proposition wasn't a problem. Gut instinct.
 
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