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Galactic Turtle

Amatonormativity & Queerplatonic Relationships

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Hello humans. ^_^

 

TL;DR - I was wondering in general what everyone's thoughts were on amatonormativity being a concept that is adverse to queerplatonic thought OR if not for amatonormativity, do you think the categorization of "queerplatonic" would be necessary? 

 

I was actually in the beginning stages of working on a larger thought piece that is slightly related to the topic title but stopped short when I was reading the article for "queerplatonic" on something called "Aromantics Wiki" which is I suppose a sub-wiki for terms found within aromantic communities. I'm not sure who wrote any of this but it caught my attention all the same. The article brings up but doesn't actually go into detail on a thought that has been on my mind for a while: that the idea of a QPR and the idea of amatonormativity, both mentioned quite prevalently in aromantic spaces, are often in conflict with each other due to the way a QPR is commonly defined.

 

"A queerplatonic relationship," the article begins, "is one which is more intense and intimate than what most people regard as friendship." But then that is followed up with: "It can be characterized by a strong bond, affect, and emotional commitment not regarded by those involved as beyond friendship." This made sense in my mind that from the outside a relationship might be assumed to be one thing but it is really something else, and through this disconnect some feel the need to label a relationship as a QPR. 

 

However, while QPR's are often explained very differently from person to person, the go to description I usually find is "more than friends, less than lovers" or "a gray area between platonic and romantic." I think it is this type of sentiment that the article indirectly touches upon later when it says: "In her book Minimizing Marriage, contemporary philosopher Elizabeth Brake talks about a concept that is adverse to queerplatonic thought, naming it 'amatonormativity.'"

 

For those who don't know, amatonormativity is defined as the following: 

 

Amatonormativity: The assumption that a central, exclusive, amorous relationship is normal for humans, in that it is a universally shared goal, and that such a relationship is normative, in the sense that it should be aimed at in preference to other relationship types.

 

In other words, amatonormativity is addressing the type of relationship hierarchy that is behind the sentiment "more than friends" that is thrown around quite casually and that is why whoever wrote this Wiki blurb most likely said that the concept of QPR and the concept of amatonormativity go against each other especially when viewed in the context of aromantic spaces. I was wondering in general what everyone's thoughts were on amatonormativity being a concept that is adverse to queerplatonic thought OR if not for amatonormativity, do you think the categorization of "queerplatonic" would be necessary? 

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I had a little difficulty understanding what was being asked (lots of big words in there...), but I think I understand enough to express my uneducated opinions on what I think you're asking. 

 

So my understanding is that you're asking if amatonormality is harmful to or cannot exist with Queerplatonic-Relationships (QPRs), or at least the concept of QPRs?

 

This is... a very tricky question... I ultimately believe the level of harm it causes to QPRs is dependant on the person or people who follow this train of thought. The more social pressure there is to conform to their thoughts, then obviously the more stress someone faces when they don't submit to it. This pressure varies in intensity depending on the person or people too, so the mother to an aromantic individual would usually have greater influence than just some random person on the street.

 

However, where it gets even trickier is the fact that amatonormative thinking is for ALL people to seek romantic relationships, including both romantic and aromantic singles. I can imagine aromantics using the title of QPRs to publicly describe their relationship in order to, in some way, sate people who are applying this pressure (And again, the effect of this varies from person to person). Through this, we could even assume that sometimes amatonormative thinking even CAUSES QPRs at times.

 

I myself have been lucky to have avoided such people, although I haven't been in a QPR myself...

 

I ultimately believe that amatonormative thinking effects individual QPRs in such a variety of ways, dependant on so many variables, that to gauge an overall effect would be very, very difficult.

 

That's my uneducated thought anyway. I hope I got that part of the question right? (It's getting late at night and I'm tired...)

 

As for if amatonormative thinking creates the existence of QPRs as a response to them, I don't think so, at least not all of them. To me personally, I would use it as a label for a relationship that is modified form of a 'normal' romantic relationship (although I do see QPRs being more of a modified friendship, that's my opinion anyway). I would like to label my relationship as such regardless if people were pressuring me with amatonormative pressure (which I haven't encountered much of yet). As I said earlier though, i can definitely see it creating some QPRs.

 

Let me know if I misunderstood anything. I'm gonna post this and hope for the best.

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I don't see them as averse or conflicting. Amatonormativity is the general social perception that romantic relationships are more significant/important than other forms of bonding (it isn't even seen as particularly weird to choose a romantic partner over a family relationship, however the other way would be seen as weird)...plus the whole universal perception about romantic couples which totally excludes several different ethnic minority ways of life and historical knowledge. I think it is the definition of queerplatonic that is causing the issues. 

 

Queerplatonic I guess should be vague or have many definitions as people will use what works best for them. 

On 07/02/2018 at 2:57 AM, Galactic Turtle said:

"A queerplatonic relationship," the article begins, "is one which is more intense and intimate than what most people regard as friendship." But then that is followed up with: "It can be characterized by a strong bond, affect, and emotional commitment not regarded by those involved as beyond friendship."

it is the 'most people regard as friendship' bit. Which sort of friendship are they referring to? I would say best friends is beyond 'normal' friendship, I'm sure there are some people who see good friends as being more than friendship if they are used to light friendships. So for those involved the basis of emotional commitment not being beyond friendship could mean it is a much more stable and dedicated relationship than a romantic one. See, friendship and how different people perceive it is the slippery term. Queerplatonic is sort of the same but different term to create a non-romantic equivalent of a romantic relationship while creating a separate term to move away from the confused perceptions of what friendship is to different people. 

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58 minutes ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

I would say best friends is beyond 'normal' friendship, I'm sure there are some people who see good friends as being more than friendship if they are used to light friendships.

 

It didn't say beyond "normal friendship" though. It said "beyond friendship." Heavy, light, and everywhere in between. I'll point at an original oreo and a double-stuffed oreo but still call it an oreo, for example. I call this girl Mo my best friend because we've known each other since before we could spell our own names but I feel as close to her as my other three close friends even if I open up to the four of them differently on different occasions usually on the basis of interests or experiences we have in common or on the basis of how I think they'll respond given their personalities. Does Mo see me as her best friend? Not sure. But in my head she's what comes to mind.

 

However I have noticed that people I know these days who struggled on the friendship front while they were in school do tend to be more emotionally "high maintenance" for lack of a better term. My one close friend talks about how anxious she gets when forming new friendships, always going out of her way to try to be extra entertaining or else they might lose interest and ditch her. She talks about how she wishes she had close friends (seeing as I consider her to be a close friend this hurts a bit) and that the one thing she wanted most growing up was that BFF who would go with her to all the places she wanted to go, have a secret handshake, share milkshakes with her at the diner, tell her exactly what she wanted to hear to make her feel better, be her constant echo chamber of validation, and really understand her. But even then that is friendship. She considers it as such. A very close friendship, but not "more than" friendship which is something that always trips me up: the "more than" as if friendship is somehow lesser or marginalized. *cough* amatonormativity *cough* 

 

59 minutes ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

See, friendship and how different people perceive it is the slippery term

 

This is also true but is something we inherently run into by defining QPR as a gray area. We're putting a cap on friendship, limiting its level of importance, and limiting its level of intimacy. 

 

1 hour ago, Apathetic Echidna said:

Queerplatonic is sort of the same but different term to create a non-romantic equivalent of a romantic relationship while creating a separate term to move away from the confused perceptions of what friendship is to different people. 

 

That's what I mean. Would the need to create a non-romantic equivalent of a romantic relationship exist if not for the impact of amatonormativity on any given culture? How are we defining romanticism? Are we defining it by stereotypical expressions of romance or are we defining it as the innate desire for or natural draw to a person(s) that would result in a partnering type of relationship distinct from one's friendships at large?

 

On 2/7/2018 at 8:14 AM, Digestive Biscuits said:

So my understanding is that you're asking if amatonormality is harmful to or cannot exist with Queerplatonic-Relationships (QPRs), or at least the concept of QPRs?

 

I'm more asking if the concept of a QPR (as defined by most people) would exist if not for amatonormativity and what is seen as the stereotypical (only acceptable) displays of romance.

 

On 2/7/2018 at 8:14 AM, Digestive Biscuits said:

I ultimately believe that amatonormative thinking effects individual QPRs in such a variety of ways, dependant on so many variables, that to gauge an overall effect would be very, very difficult.

 

Exactly. I think it impacts people differently depending on what they themselves define as a QPR which seems to vary greatly from person to person.

 

On 2/7/2018 at 8:14 AM, Digestive Biscuits said:

To me personally, I would use it as a label for a relationship that is modified form of a 'normal' romantic relationship (although I do see QPRs being more of a modified friendship, that's my opinion anyway).

 

That seems to encompass both ends of how I've seen it described. Some people describe a QPR as something they might form with a friend they've had for a while who also isn't interested in dating/romantic partner who happens to have a life trajectory what would make it convenient to live together and have the other person as their main "go-to" for various things. Longterm and perhaps lifelong roommates as a result of convenience. (modified friendship)

 

Other people describe a QPR as a monogamous commitment, distinct and definitely "above" friendship. They buy a house together, sleep in the same bed, go on outings specifically designed and intended just for the two of them, possibly raise a kid and/or own a pet together, have each other as their number one priority... but because for some reason they don't view their relationship with this person as meeting all the criteria of a stereotypical romantic relationship one might see on TV whether that be through physicality, their openness at expressing undying feelings, or just their aversion to the concept of marriage, call it a QPR. 

 

So really I guess my confusion starts to how we're defining certain things. We fling around all these terms quite casually but unlike with asexuals constantly debating the definition of sexual attraction, the debate over these terms seems to be nonexistent making the whole concept murky and the only use of the term is what it means between the small group of individuals using it to define themselves rather than a practical term to be used across the board. 

 

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I think I understand what you're asking. My idea of what people call a QPR is close friendship. It's how I have always viewed friendship with people I'm close to, long before I heard of QPR's, amatonormativity and aromanticism. It's only in recent years that I've started to realize and accept that most people's idea of friendship is very shallow compared to mine.

 

The phrase "just friends" makes me squirm. A friend is a big deal to me, not something to label with a "just" in front. I think QPR's wouldn't really need a name if most people didn't treat friendship like a shallow disposable thing.

 

"Friend" has such a broad range of definitions that ranges between "someone you really care about", to "that random person you play chess with once a month and never speak to otherwise". I've resorted to calling my closest friends family, because there isn't another term I'd use.

 

But I've heard of other people who call their friends family, and they would still do things like move away without even asking them how they feel about it. I have a long rant about friendship in my signature, so I guess I won't elaborate more on it here. :P

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On 09/02/2018 at 3:40 AM, Galactic Turtle said:

It didn't say beyond "normal friendship" though. It said "beyond friendship."

yeah, I chucked in the 'normal' as I think there was a perception of what a friendship should be in the understanding of that definition that has a loophole big enough to drive a semantics truck through.(these are all rhetorical and just to make a point) I know of people who are housemates with friends, so is living together 'beyond friendship'? I know people in friends-with-benefits relationships, there is an entire topic on how those generally don't even resemble a friendship.....

I know of two different couples who are married for reasons unrelated to romantic love *cough* citizenship *cough* is that beyond friendship when they remain friends but the government thinks they are married?

Basically I just have an issue with the wording of the article, especially as it is representing itself as a concise definitive article which might be the first and last point people go to to learn the meaning of the word queerplatonic relationship. I assume there wasn't a polite disclaimer telling people that text is just a guide and to always refer to how the person using it defines the term as the better definition? that just leaves it open for ignorant people to argue with people in QPRs :( 

 

On 09/02/2018 at 3:40 AM, Galactic Turtle said:

Would the need to create a non-romantic equivalent of a romantic relationship exist if not for the impact of amatonormativity on any given culture?

I guess the fact that we are in a quite romantic-centric culture forces us to use separate words to get recognition and understanding. I guess it is kind of cyclic, as in the past something like marriage was generally for reasons besides romantic love so the couples that were based in romantic love ended up with their own separate terms (like 'love match') that were used to augment conversations so that the relationship was made clear to the listeners who may have other assumptions. Now we have to do the same thing to talk about our relationships if we don't want other people making assumptions. Personally I probably wouldn't be bothered to be specific enough to dissuade outsiders assumption, but there is no way I am ever calling anyone my zucchini. 

 

As for the definition, it would be the second one as generally when saying romance we are talking about romantic attraction. If you check out the topic here http://www.arocalypse.com/forums/topic/200-where-is-the-line-between-sexual-and-romantic-behaviour/ there seems to be a general consensus that certain actions are generally less important than the perceptions, intentions and feelings behind them in defining whether something is romantic, neutral, friendly or sexual. 

 

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On 2/9/2018 at 12:03 PM, SoulWolf said:

I think I understand what you're asking. My idea of what people call a QPR is close friendship. It's how I have always viewed friendship with people I'm close to, long before I heard of QPR's, amatonormativity and aromanticism. It's only in recent years that I've started to realize and accept that most people's idea of friendship is very shallow compared to mine.

 

The phrase "just friends" makes me squirm. A friend is a big deal to me, not something to label with a "just" in front. I think QPR's wouldn't really need a name if most people didn't treat friendship like a shallow disposable thing.

 

Yes, these were my thoughts. When I first heard about a QPR I was under the impression it was talking about best friends. To me, friendship in and of itself is a relationship. It only gets sidelined because of the general culture and generally friends don't point out the relationship that rests between them. For example, I've been friends with a girl for... 20 years now? Not once have I asked her what she thinks about our relationship, what we can work on in our relationship, or where she envisions our relationship going in the future. I don't particularly find it necessary, but these conversations are commonplace (from what I've heard) in romantic relationships. I really think a great amount of friendships would benefit from similar discussions but... oh well.

 

When I first heard of a QPR I thought to myself "well that sounds nice." When really what I thought was nice about it is the acknowledgement, discussion, and celebration of friendship. But when I stared at my friend as she was sleeping (TOTALLY NOT CREEPY I MEAN WE WERE SLEEPING IN THE SAME ROOM IT'S NOT LIKE I BROKE IN MUAHAHAHA) I tried to like... feel something different than what I've always felt for her as if me feeling a different way about her would make what we have more valid. But then I grew to realize that I was forcing the issue due to the fact that I've always operated in an amatonormative world and I guess... wanted to show the world "hey, look what I have, be jealous!" I worked out for myself that I personally didn't need those discussions to happen, that I was happy the way things always have been, that I was happy considering her my best friend, and had no desire to be "paired up" with her like a QPR heavily suggests. I feel no need for partnerships in life for my emotional benefit which is how I came to the conclusion that I am aromantic. I love my friends!!! I'm planning to be friends for life with one or two of them. They're very important to me! But calling them my partner, even in those times we do live together or even if we lived together for years and years and years seems.... unnecessary? Obviously not everyone feels the same way but...

 

... I do think in general there might be a conflation between romantic attraction and romantic expression. I often see people saying "I want a QPP who is this specific gender, is in this specific height range, who will take me out on dates, kiss and cuddle me, live with me, raise a kid with me, and never date anyone else but it's not going to be a romantic thing because he'll be my QPP, not my boyfriend." And then I'm just left all ???? An emotional partnership can contain any list of activities but from where I'm standing it's the desire for that partnership that makes something romantic even if it's not like the type of romance you see on TV. Every other person defines a QPR a different way so of course I'm not talking about all of them, but there is a noticeable portion I've seen (more on AVEN) where this is the case. The on the opposite end of the spectrum I think people slap a QPR onto things just to make their friendship seem more important or valid because in the modern day most people brush it aside like a simple, temporary thing that doesn't matter in the scheme of life nearly as much as a romantic partner would.

 

On 2/9/2018 at 8:50 PM, Apathetic Echidna said:

I know of people who are housemates with friends, so is living together 'beyond friendship'? I know people in friends-with-benefits relationships, there is an entire topic on how those generally don't even resemble a friendship.....

 

Usually I'd say something is "beyond friendship" or (preferably) "of a different nature than friendship" when there is desire by the people involved to define what rests between them as not just a relationship, but an emotional partnership. It's the aspect of partnering that I never really understood in romantic relationships. I've lived with friends on different occasions but it was because it happened to be a convenient solution. When my friends had to move out or when I had to move out in each instance it wasn't seen as a betrayal or a severing of something we'd built together. As long as the lease is taken care of then everything was fine. I've had other friends who fool around on occasion. They have fun. But it's not viewed as a partnership. When one person involved did enter a relationship they simply stopped sleeping together, friendship still solid. I know other people who meet up with people for no other reason than to have sex. Then when they don't feel like having sex with each other for whatever reason, they let the person know and all is well. But in partnership whether it's between two people or a poly situation, there is always something there resting between the people to signify their emotional partnership (as opposed to a partnership of convenience).

 

On 2/9/2018 at 8:50 PM, Apathetic Echidna said:

I know of two different couples who are married for reasons unrelated to romantic love *cough* citizenship *cough* is that beyond friendship when they remain friends but the government thinks they are married?

 

That's what I was hinting at above. Marriage wasn't really thought of by most as synonymous with love until pretty recently. Marriage in and of itself is a legal partnership.

 

On 2/9/2018 at 8:50 PM, Apathetic Echidna said:

Basically I just have an issue with the wording of the article, especially as it is representing itself as a concise definitive article which might be the first and last point people go to to learn the meaning of the word queerplatonic relationship. I assume there wasn't a polite disclaimer telling people that text is just a guide and to always refer to how the person using it defines the term as the better definition? that just leaves it open for ignorant people to argue with people in QPRs

 

Yeah I really have no idea where this Wiki came from, it just stood out to me because I was researching the topic and I was like "hey wait, that's a thought that was crawling in the back of my mind!"

 

On 2/9/2018 at 8:50 PM, Apathetic Echidna said:

I guess the fact that we are in a quite romantic-centric culture forces us to use separate words to get recognition and understanding.

 

Yup. Not really "forces" people but... would make them more inclined to for sure.

 

On 2/9/2018 at 8:50 PM, Apathetic Echidna said:

As for the definition, it would be the second one as generally when saying romance we are talking about romantic attraction. If you check out the topic here http://www.arocalypse.com/forums/topic/200-where-is-the-line-between-sexual-and-romantic-behaviour/ there seems to be a general consensus that certain actions are generally less important than the perceptions, intentions and feelings behind them in defining whether something is romantic, neutral, friendly or sexual. 

 

Thanks! I'll make sure to read through this. I'm just like.... SO ANNOYED that this doesn't make sense to me. xD 

 

I'll look for threads on romantic vs. platonic behavior too. Right now my thoughts are that, due to how romance is often portrayed, I think many forms of romantic expression are seen as lesser than, diminished, or nonexistent. 

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1 hour ago, Galactic Turtle said:

For example, I've been friends with a girl for... 20 years now? Not once have I asked her what she thinks about our relationship, what we can work on in our relationship, or where she envisions our relationship going in the future. I don't particularly find it necessary, but these conversations are commonplace (from what I've heard) in romantic relationships. I really think a great amount of friendships would benefit from similar discussions but... oh well.

Yes! Friendships are relationships, and I also think it'd be good (and healthy) to have those kinds of discussions about them. I've done this with a few people. I'm not entirely sure, but, I think in at least one case the other person thought it was a bit weird for us to talk about our friendship like that. I think it's weird not to.

 

1 hour ago, Galactic Turtle said:

I often see people saying "I want a QPP who is this specific gender, is in this specific height range, who will take me out on dates, kiss and cuddle me, live with me, raise a kid with me, and never date anyone else but it's not going to be a romantic thing because he'll be my QPP, not my boyfriend." And then I'm just left all ????

I don't understand this either. I can only consider a QPP with someone I already know. I can't even imagine wanting something that close with someone imaginary... especially having specific requirements like that. The only one that makes any sense is height - having a similar height is useful for standing hugs... :rofl:

 

2 hours ago, Galactic Turtle said:

An emotional partnership can contain any list of activities but from where I'm standing it's the desire for that partnership that makes something romantic even if it's not like the type of romance you see on TV.

I've always thought of having a best friend as a kind of partnership. I guess there's different kinds of partnership.

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3 hours ago, Galactic Turtle said:

I tried to like... feel something different than what I've always felt for her as if me feeling a different way about her would make what we have more valid.

aww, reading this made me feel sad. Yeah, I think this is amatonormativity influences pushing into your head. Though I kind of recognise the sentiments, I have sporadically referred to my long time best friends as 'cousins' when talking about them to other people, so I guess adopting family labels for them is sort of a protective validation of their best friends status that keeps comments such as 'just friends' from being thrown around. 

 

3 hours ago, Galactic Turtle said:

I often see people saying "I want a QPP who is this specific gender, is in this specific height range, who will take me out on dates, kiss and cuddle me, live with me, raise a kid with me, and never date anyone else but it's not going to be a romantic thing because he'll be my QPP, not my boyfriend." And then I'm just left all ????  ... there is a noticeable portion I've seen (more on AVEN) where this is the case.

Yeah, I even participated on some of those forum topics of 'what do you want in a QPP?' or 'Describe your dream QPR'. I swear they are mostly fantasy, more like 'list your high standards ideal'. I think I worked up a list on AVEN with about 20+ points at one point, requirements needed for an ideal partner, but then I put a truthful option at the bottom, so either this imaginary person who probably could never exist or a dog. seriously, basically any dog.  I remember reading the other entries and it definitely shows more about the people who write the lists and the sort of future they want ~ though there was one list that I think was a poorly veiled description of a boy band member, so I guess fangirling seeped its way in as well. 

 

3 hours ago, Galactic Turtle said:

That's what I was hinting at above. Marriage wasn't really thought of by most as synonymous with love until pretty recently. Marriage in and of itself is a legal partnership.

yeah, but now it is generally seen as fundamentally romantic and any marriage not based in romantic love seems to be scorned. I cringe almost every time someone asks a married couple 'how did you meet?' and means 'describe how you fell in love' but that might just be because I had to hear friends make up conservative saccharine romantic lies to tell strangers.  

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