Question of the Week: March 21st, 2017

Whom have you used as a model of what a relationship should look like?

I believe that my relationship models mostly came from friends.  And not from friends talking about their relationships, but merely by witnessing them in relationships.  The result was that I didn’t really understand what couples do when they’re not around friends.  I didn’t know how long it took them to reach the point where I was seeing them together.  I wasn’t sure why it was they got together, or split apart.  If any friends ever had first dates that failed, I never heard anything about it.

About Siggy

Siggy is an ace activist based in the U.S. He is gay gray-A, and has a Ph.D. in physics. He has another blog where he also talks about math, philosophy, godlessness, and social criticism. His other hobbies include board games and origami.
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4 Responses to Question of the Week: March 21st, 2017

  1. DasTenna says:

    Witnessing others (friends and family, but to some part also TV-couples :/ ) was mostly my way to learn how things do or don´t “work”, too. Not only concerning relationships, but social interactions in total. I watched, saw the results and made my conclusions – “That went bad, so I shouldn´t act like that.” or “This behavior is likely to hurt people, so it means this is stupid and I won´t do this.” That´s the reason why I didn´t live as dangerous as my brothers did 😉
    I didn´t talk to anyone about dating, break-ups or relationships because it didn´t interest me, and thus had no idea what made the difference between “best friends” and a “couple”. I could never imagine being with someone I didn´t like and who didn´t share at least some of my interests. Never understood and still don´t understand what brings people together if not shared interests.

  2. Ettina says:

    For me it’s mostly been my parents, who have been happily married for 30-some years. If I were romantic, I’d be aiming for a relationship like theirs.

  3. luvtheheaven says:

    I didn’t really model my friendships after anything, but when wondering about romance, especially before knowing asexuality nor aromanticism were options, I definitely looked to a combination of TV, and my aunts/uncles or friends parents who seemed happily enough married. My maternal grandmother/grandfather seemed like an abusive, miserable marriage and my parents were also clearly pretty atypical in many ways, having been separated since right before i turned 4 and yet not ever making their divorce legal and never even seeming to date or move on or… like… they basically seemed nonamorous by default, like they did marriage and kids and now were done. I think that impacted my ideas of what relationships might be like more than I realized it would… because I’m aro-spectrum enough and so asexual that I really did need some kind of model….

    I’m reminded though… I think Sciatrix wrote something years ago on the concept… I can’t find it though. But also this: – the idea of adults in my life modeling, probably unintentionally, that grown-ups don’t do friendships, they do romance INSTEAD did make me want-to-want romance in a normative way, because otherwise I’d be ALONE, and so… yeah there was that from all my adults in my life, especially my parents and maternal grandparents, at least one of whom I saw every day of my childhood… and who seemed to not have ANY friends, at all. But even teachers at school didn’t appear to have lives that included friends, and idk…

    I was influenced extremely heavily by fiction too though, and I won’t take that lightly. I got into fandom around age 14 maybe and once I got into vidding at age 16, popular songs and their lyrics really really influenced what narratives I thought were typical for how people feel in relationships or about attraction, and also the stories of how relationships go. The lyrics matched TV shows well, and I figured TV couldn’t be THAT unrealistic when so many songs are sung about “you” and “me”, about supposedly autobiographical feelings/events.

  4. Blue Ice-Tea says:

    Way back in high school I had a friend who radically changed my way of looking at relationships. He regularly asked people out on “dates” – not for romantic or sexual purposes, but as a way of getting to know them better and making friends. He believed in spending quality one-on-one time with the people he cared about, sometimes wrapped in deep, intimate conversations. When I asked him if this didn’t infringe on his relationship with his girlfriend, he explained that, to him, each relationship was like a bundle of “straws”. A few select sex-romance straws were reserved for his girlfriend only, and served to mark the relationship as special, but apart from that there were very few limits on the amount of time, commitment, or intimacy he could share with someone. It was his feelings that guided the relationship, not arbitrary social conventions.

    I also admired his girlfriend’s attitude to these friendships. She didn’t get jealous or worry that one of the friends was going to “steal” her boyfriend away from her. She understood that love is infinite, and that he could have any number of platonic relationships without detracting from the romantic relationship with her. She encouraged us to get to know each other, because she cared about us and knew that our relationship would make us both happier.

    Together, these friends set a standard for me of how friendships should be conducted and how they should fit with one’s romantic partnerships. I’ve tried to emulate both of them, and to stay open-minded about my own relationships (romantic and platonic) and about other people’s relationships (romantic and platonic).

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