I don’t appreciate when people assume that I just have a string of ‘casual’ relationships, because according to the dictionary:
relaxed and unconcerned. (false)
made or done without much thought or premeditation. (false)
done or acting in a desultory way. (false)
done or acting without sufficient care or thoroughness. (false)
not regular or permanent, in particular (false)
occurring between people who are not regular or established sexual partners. (false)
Casual. I hate this word. It seems that it is quite overused in the poly world as a descriptor BY those who are serial monogamists (and even by married poly folks). As if, because poly people have more than one partner, we couldn’t possibly be involved in serious relationships. This bothers me quite a bit. It’s an ingrained belief that there is and ever should be only one person for you. And that’s bullshit. How many people can honestly say they’ve *only* fell in love with one person in their whole life… that there was no one else besides the *one* person they chose to ‘marry’… We have many relatives that we love, we have many friends that we love, but we are only allowed one intimate partner at a time? I call bullshit. Bull. Shit. <— can’t say it enough.
Humans love making boxes and living within ridiculous, limiting rules. I refuse to buy into this. I am not limiting love. Love is limitless – it is not a finite resource or feeling. It is amazingly abundant and the more you give of it, the more of it you receive. Who doesn’t want that?!?
The term “casual relationship” implies that there is no respect for the relationship itself. I, for one, am not and refuse to be intimate with someone that I do not care about. I would imagine it is the same for most people, but because anything *more* than ‘casual’ comes with a whole bunch of other baggage (expectations, rules, etc) that nobody fucking wants… but you know… it doesn’t have to be that way. You can have a deeply emotional intimate relationship and not engage in an escalator (the idea that once you begin a relationship, to be successful, you must go from point A [dating] to point B [living together] to point C [engagement/marriage/etc] or any combination of those points) relationship. “How?” You ask…. simple: communication. By discussing boundaries, comfort zones, wants and needs that are appropriate for you and taking into account those of each particular partner, you shed the unexpected expectations that both of you automatically carry. And yes, we all have expectations and assumptions. The purpose of communication is to limit the misunderstandings that come from holding onto expectations and assumptions of/from/for your partner.
I want and have more than one loving, intimate relationship. I do not seek to ‘advance’ my position to ‘live-in partner’ with anyone. I love living by myself. I also love having a regular sex life. Being an independent person with the ability to go and do and run my household as I see fit, enables me to engage my lovers at the click of my calendar – without regard to others’ opinions, preferences, etc. This ability to move around is preferable to me. However, living this way absolutely does not mean that I do not love my partners. It doesn’t mean that our relationships aren’t mutually fulfilling or that they aren’t serious. Because they absolutely are serious!
I would encourage you to evaluate how you view your own and others’ relationships and if you consider them casual – and if so, what, exactly does that mean to you? Because according to the dictionary, none of my relationships lack concern, thoughtfulness, purpose, thoroughness, or regularity.
As always, having open and honest communication with your partners about what expectations they actually have with regard to the relationship will relieve a significant burden of anxiety about where you actually stand with someone. There is nothing more satisfying than being on the same page.
Feel free to comment with your 2 cents.