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Non-alterous?

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Hi everyone!

So, after seeing this term on this forum I start wondering if I can be non-alterous somehow. But it's hard to find information about it.

So, it seems the term is recent. For the definitions I find, an alterous relationship or attraction would be somewhere between platonic and romantic; a definition that I don't like because it would place romantic and platonic on the same scale when I see them as different. But it seems to describe QPR. So I would describe alterous as being attracted or desire a relationship that is not conventional. And being non-alterous or analterous would be the contrary.

I also saw once a definition that I like of non alterous : no desire for a special relationship or connection with one person.

 

I personally find this term useful, because I can say that I am not interesting in a QPR, or a special one-to-one relationship that would be different from friendship. But I am the only one? Is there other person here who identify with this label? Do I understand it correctly? 

 

I think I saw @Mark talk about it here, so I'm interesed to hear them on this subject.

 

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The definition of alterous is...complicated, from what I can tell. Everyone is talking about vaguely the same thing, but the minute details can make a big difference. I prefer this definition because it avoids describing it as “between” platonic and romantic, whereas “between” can suggest a hierarchy of romantic > alterous > platonic. 

Quote

Alterous is described as neither being (entirely/completely) platonic nor romantic, & is an attraction best described as wanting emotional closeness without necessarily being (at all or entirely) platonic &/or romantic

 

I don’t want a qpr, but non-alterous doesn’t really resonate with me, because I have on occasion experienced alterous attraction (and also, when I did, it didn’t make me want some kind of relationship). One thing I can’t tell, are you using “non-alterous” to be different from “analterous”? I’m familiar with “analterous” being analogous to being asexual or aromantic, specifying that one doesn’t feel attraction in some way, but I don’t think I’ve seen other of them used to refer to a person not interested in a type of relationship. 

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On 9/5/2019 at 9:02 AM, nonmerci said:

Hi everyone!

So, after seeing this term on this forum I start wondering if I can be non-alterous somehow. But it's hard to find information about it.

So, it seems the term is recent. For the definitions I find, an alterous relationship or attraction would be somewhere between platonic and romantic; a definition that I don't like because it would place romantic and platonic on the same scale when I see them as different. But it seems to describe QPR. So I would describe alterous as being attracted or desire a relationship that is not conventional. And being non-alterous or analterous would be the contrary.

I also saw once a definition that I like of non alterous : no desire for a special relationship or connection with one person.

 

I personally find this term useful, because I can say that I am not interesting in a QPR, or a special one-to-one relationship that would be different from friendship. But I am the only one? Is there other person here who identify with this label? Do I understand it correctly? 

 

I think I saw @Mark talk about it here, so I'm interesed to hear him on this subject.

Who's him?

I would understand "platonic" to mean either "non physical" or "non sexual".(The former including the latter.)
Thus "platonic attraction" does not make much sense to me. Hence "quoiplatonic".
Whilst I do find "platonic relationship" to be a useful term.


I see "platonic" and "romantic" as different concepts which are not at all antonyms.
Effectively "between platonic and romantic" being about as meaningful as "between temperature and colour".
Nor do I see any reason a relationship cannot be both "platonic" and "romantic".


I do see "platonic" and "sexual" as antonyms. With terms like "platonicish", "partly platonic", "mostly platonic" being descriptive of a between.

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On 9/5/2019 at 3:02 AM, nonmerci said:

So, it seems the term is recent.

 

Yes, alterous appears to be from 2015. I've no idea how it's supposed to be different from "queerplatonic," the term introduced five years earlier, besides usually being accompanied by a more derogatory treatment of "platonic."

 

On 9/5/2019 at 3:02 AM, nonmerci said:

I think I saw @Mark talk about it here, so I'm interesed to hear him on this subject.

 

Mark is a them, not a him.

 

13 hours ago, Mark said:

I would understand "platonic" to mean either "non physical" or "non sexual".(The former including the latter.)

 

Yeah so the multiple different understandings of the word "platonic" are why I try to avoid it when trying to talk with any precision about these things. The way I would understand what other people are using the word "platonic" to mean in these contexts (re: "alterous") would be "nonromantic," although people don't always bother to clarify that, so I can't be sure. 

 

But then... if you're defining "alterous" as "neither romantic nor platonic [nonromantic]"... the main way for me to make sense of that would be (1) some kind of quoiromantic situation, where the romance-quotient (lol) is ambiguous or undetermined somehow, or (2) a general umbrella term for emotional attraction, where romantic-ness goes unspecified. But that doesn't seem like what people are getting at, either. I've seen aromantics get pretty emphatic that their alterous feelings are NOT romantic at all. In which case... I can make sense of that as (3) talking about an exact synonym for nonromantic emotional attraction (which other people also sometimes call "platonic attraction"), or (4) talking about a more particular subset of nonromantic emotional attraction, which feels different from other kinds under that same umbrella.

 

That last one is the approach that makes the most sense to me, conceptually. Yet it's also completely incompatible with how I usually see it talked about (see above, the text Raven quoted on alterous being non-platonic). It's all very confusing.

 

So, I mean. I don't use this concept, myself, or apply it to my own experiences. But that's because I'm confused by the framework people are using to even talk about it in the first place, not because any particular experiences are different. Identifying myself by the lack of it is something I would only do if it became inescapably prevalent and demanded of me.

 

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On 9/7/2019 at 9:06 PM, Coyote said:

Mark is a them, not a him.

Oups, sorry Mark. (Note to myself, always look the gender of the person before using pronouns; they is the neutral pronoun, that's it?)

 

Thanks for your responding, I don't have the time to answer right now but I will later.

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On 9/6/2019 at 7:49 PM, raavenb2619 said:

thing I can’t tell, are you using “non-alterous” to be different from “analterous”? I’m familiar with “analterous” being analogous to being asexual or aromantic, specifying that one doesn’t feel attraction in some way, but I don’t think I’ve seen other of them used to refer to a person not interested in a type of relationship. 

If I have to say a difference,  I'd say like you that analterous treat it as an attraction, whereas non-alterous insist more on the relationship.

 

On 9/7/2019 at 7:30 AM, Mark said:

I see "platonic" and "romantic" as different concepts which are not at all antonyms.
Effectively "between platonic and romantic" being about as meaningful as "between temperature and colour".
Nor do I see any reason a relationship cannot be both "platonic" and "romantic".


I do see "platonic" and "sexual" as antonyms. With terms like "platonicish", "partly platonic", "mostly platonic" being descriptive of a between.

I agree about romantic and platonic, but I don't see platonic and sexual as antonyms. Probably because I don't use it as Platon would have done, but I associate it with friendship. And in theory, there is no reason one can't be sexually attracted to friends. This is the whole concept of "friend with benefits".

 

On 9/7/2019 at 9:06 PM, Coyote said:

 

But then... if you're defining "alterous" as "neither romantic nor platonic [nonromantic]"... the main way for me to make sense of that would be (1) some kind of quoiromantic situation, where the romance-quotient (lol) is ambiguous or undetermined somehow, or (2) a general umbrella term for emotional attraction, where romantic-ness goes unspecified. But that doesn't seem like what people are getting at, either. I've seen aromantics get pretty emphatic that their alterous feelings are NOT romantic at all. In which case... I can make sense of that as (3) talking about an exact synonym for nonromantic emotional attraction (which other people also sometimes call "platonic attraction"), or (4) talking about a more particular subset of nonromantic emotional attraction, which feels different from other kinds under that same umbrella

I think the point is to distinguish between an alterous attraction and a squish. So I think it is your option 4, a desire/attraction for a non-romantic emotional relationship, different from platonic or romantic. I think there is more attraction than the ones we usually talk about, so maybe alterous is a good word for that.

 

On 9/7/2019 at 9:06 PM, Coyote said:

I've no idea how it's supposed to be different from "queerplatonic,"

How I see it, queerplatonic is used to talk about a type of relationship, not attraction. At least I never see queerplatonic attraction be used. Plus, I know queerplatonic is an established word, but I see a problem use a word with "platonic" in it for something like alterous, that is supposed to be neither romantic nor platonic. But this is just my point of view of course.

Thanks for the links, this is interesting.

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23 minutes ago, nonmerci said:

I agree about romantic and platonic, but I don't see platonic and sexual as antonyms. Probably because I don't use it as Platon would have done, but I associate it with friendship. And in theory, there is no reason one can't be sexually attracted to friends. This is the whole concept of "friend with benefits".

The definition "platonic" meaning either "non sexual" or "non physical" is what you typically find in English language dictionaries.

The usual way it's associated with friendship is the term "platonic friend".
The notion of "platonic" meaning "friendship" appears to have originated within the ace community.
 

Plato never made use of the term. TBH it has about as much to do with him as "romantic" has to do with the Romans :)

 

46 minutes ago, nonmerci said:

but I see a problem use a word with "platonic" in it for something like alterous, that is supposed to be neither romantic nor platonic. But this is just my point of view of course.

Thanks for the links, this is interesting.

It can be used for both "in between A and B" and "neither A nor B" which are somewhat different.

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On 9/13/2019 at 12:47 PM, nonmerci said:

I think the point is to distinguish between an alterous attraction and a squish. So I think it is your option 4, a desire/attraction for a non-romantic emotional relationship

 

Wait, hold on. Didn't @raavenb2619 use "alterous" for a feeling they've had that didn't involve wanting to form a particular relationship?

 

On 9/13/2019 at 12:47 PM, nonmerci said:

different from platonic or romantic.

 

What are you using "platonic" to mean here?

 

On 9/13/2019 at 12:47 PM, nonmerci said:

How I see it, queerplatonic is used to talk about a type of relationship, not attraction.

 

Generally. But people also do both.

 

On 9/13/2019 at 12:47 PM, nonmerci said:

At least I never see queerplatonic attraction be used.

 

"I kind of like queerplatonic as a definer for the attraction I feel to my zucchini" was the very first known online use. I've also seen it used more recently in other places, even on Arocalypse. I mean, I don't really get that either, but it does get used.

 

On 9/13/2019 at 1:46 PM, Mark said:

The definition "platonic" meaning either "non sexual" or "non physical" is what you typically find in English language dictionaries.

 

There's a problem with relying on those dictionaries or other conventional approaches though because a lot of English-speakers typically don't recognize adult nonsexual romantic relationships as a concept.

 

On 9/13/2019 at 1:46 PM, Mark said:

It can be used for both "in between A and B" and "neither A nor B" which are somewhat different.

 

Yeah... "a little bit romantic, but not completely" is worlds different from "completely off the scale." The way people fail to make any distinction between the two on this topic is like people failing to make any distinction between nonbinary people with totally-off-the-binary gender identities and nonbinary people who are half-man half-woman.

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5 hours ago, Coyote said:

What are you using "platonic" to mean here?

To be simple, for me platonic is to friendship what romantic is to romance. But I guess this is not how everybody use it. I have not your knowledge of history of the words and common use of terms. I am just influence by the fact that "squish" is define by "platonic attraction" which is defined by "the desire of be friend with someone".

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6 hours ago, Coyote said:

There's a problem with relying on those dictionaries or other conventional approaches though because a lot of English-speakers typically don't recognize adult nonsexual romantic relationships as a concept.

I'd have though if there were a need for a term to describe such relationships it would be expressed by allo aces. AFAIK they use "romantic", to describe such relationships.

 

What I think is more lacking is recognition (and terms to describe) non-romantic sexual relationships.
 

1 hour ago, nonmerci said:

To be simple, for me platonic is to friendship what romantic is to romance. But I guess this is not how everybody use it. I have not your knowledge of history of the words and common use of terms. I am just influence by the fact that "squish" is define by "platonic attraction" which is defined by "the desire of be friend with someone".

The adjective form of "friend" is "friendly".
With platonic lacking an obvious noun form.
I don't understand how these words have become linked.

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Alright so, I’m joining this topic because I’m not sure I wrap my head around all of it either. This all seems to be dealing with differing ideas about what “platonic” actually means, right? I’m trying to suss this out:

 

 

—people who describe something as alterous tend to see platonic as being to do with friendship only 

 

—people who disagree with the above usage see platonic as its own separate thing, on a different level to either friends or romantic partners, and therefore to them alterous is redundant?

 

I agree that there seems to be a linguistic inconsistency with romantic ->> romance and platonic ->> friendship. 

 

Another wrinkle in all of this is that the term queerplatonic also linguistically implies that it is something different from platonic. So what makes it “queer?”

 

When dictionaries say platonic defines something non-physical or non-sexual, we should maybe consider the societal context, where people usually don’t separate romantic and sexual attraction, or for that matter any other attractions. 

 

My understanding of queerplatonic relationships is that they lack to some extent romantic attraction but contain one or more other types (emotional, aesthetic, sensual, sexual, etc.). Unless I’ve misunderstood and there are some people in QPRs who are not attracted to their partners in any way?

 

So here’s a shot in the dark, could platonic then refer simply to any relationship that does not contain attraction? In this case, alterous and platonic could coexist, where both describe something “else” but only alterous can go along with queerplatonic. 

 

Although don’t some people use the term platonic attraction? That really throws a wrench in my idea...

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12 hours ago, Coyote said:

Wait, hold on. Didn't @raavenb2619 use "alterous" for a feeling they've had that didn't involve wanting to form a particular relationship?

Yep. Quick recap, I use platonic attraction/squish to refer to when, for no discernible reason, someone I’ve never met seems super cool and I want to be friends with them. I also use platonic attraction/squish to refer to when I want to spend more time with a close friend (and sometimes go from being comfortable with platonic and physical affection to sometimes wanting to initiate it). I use alterous attraction to refer to when I have a specific feeling of attraction that’s neither platonic or romantic. It’s involved some of the stereotypical infatuation associated with romantic crushes, but had a friendship/nonromantic component. And in all of those cases, I haven’t wanted A Relationship (TM) (although I used to think I maybe sort of did want A Relationship (TM)). 

 

44 minutes ago, treepod said:

This all seems to be dealing with differing ideas about what “platonic” actually means, right?

And also what friends means, I think. I can see the two examples you give as resulting from a miscommunication/discrepancy on what friendship/platonicism is. 

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7 hours ago, nonmerci said:

To be simple, for me platonic is to friendship what romantic is to romance.

 

Okay. What are you using friendship to mean? (Here are five different ones that I know of)

 

6 hours ago, Mark said:

I'd have though if there were a need for a term to describe such relationships it would be expressed by allo aces. AFAIK they use "romantic", to describe such relationships.

 

Sure, but what I'm getting at is -- if "platonic" means "nonsexual" and "sexual" encompasses "romantic," then you're never in a position to need to distinguish between "nonromantic nonsexual" and "romantic nonsexual" -- but for those who do recognize the romantic nonsexual possibility, then the specifically romantic/nonromantic distinction becomes important, and that's how you'll see some people using it, as a consequence.

 

Though, again, to reiterate, because of this mess, I just say "nonromantic" if I mean nonromantic.

 

1 hour ago, treepod said:

—people who disagree with the above usage see platonic as its own separate thing, on a different level to either friends or romantic partners, and therefore to them alterous is redundant?

 

Do they? I'm not sure I've seen that. Here, maybe, although I'm not sure of that.

 

1 hour ago, treepod said:

Unless I’ve misunderstood and there are some people in QPRs who are not attracted to their partners in any way?

 

It's not necessarily dependent on attraction, no. Many definitions of queerplatonic emphasize the strength of the bond, the partnership configuration, the nature of the relationship, etc. With that said, a lot of people have approached the term very differently, and there's no one consistent definition that everybody agrees to across the board, so don't expect consistency.

 

1 hour ago, treepod said:

So here’s a shot in the dark, could platonic then refer simply to any relationship that does not contain attraction?

 

Well, no, because relationship =/= what attraction you feel within that relationship, and also (like you said) there are types of attraction which themselves get deemed platonic. I mean, technically, sensual attraction that's nonromantic/nonsexual* is "platonic," and it'd be a bit silly to say "okay the whole relationship is not platonic anymore because one person felt an inner unspoken impulse to cuddle" and so on. 

 

*depending on what definition of "platonic" you're using.

 

42 minutes ago, raavenb2619 said:

Yep. Quick recap, I use platonic attraction/squish to refer to when, for no discernible reason, someone I’ve never met seems super cool and I want to be friends with them. I also use platonic attraction/squish to refer to when I want to spend more time with a close friend (and sometimes go from being comfortable with platonic and physical affection to sometimes wanting to initiate it). I use alterous attraction to refer to when I have a specific feeling of attraction that’s neither platonic or romantic. It’s involved some of the stereotypical infatuation associated with romantic crushes, but had a friendship/nonromantic component.

 

huh. When I meet someone who seems super cool and I want to be friends with them, I call that thinking they seem super cool and wanting to be friends with them. I'm also more inclined to describe that impression in terms of characteristics of the person themselves -- ex. "she's really charming," "I liked their vibes," "I think we're on the same wavelength," "co seems like a rad person," etc. Then again, when I get those impressions, I don't necessarily see that as a "for no discernible reason" situation. There is a discernible reason, and it's that I like interacting with the person.

 

Anyway -- so you say here that you use alterous for a feeling that's "neither platonic or romantic" ... in that it differs from the platonic attraction by... including infatuation? Meaning "platonic" for you necessarily is mutually exclusive with infatuation?

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19 minutes ago, Coyote said:

huh. When I meet someone who seems super cool and I want to be friends with them, I call that thinking they seem super cool and wanting to be friends with them. I'm also more inclined to describe that impression in terms of characteristics of the person themselves -- ex. "she's really charming," "I liked their vibes," "I think we're on the same wavelength," "co seems like a rad person," etc. Then again, when I get those impressions, I don't necessarily see that as a "for no discernible reason" situation. There is a discernible reason, and it's that I like interacting with the person.

I get what you're saying, but I think we might be describing different things. I've definitely had at least one (small) squish where me and this other person were on opposite sides of a large room with a bunch of other people and for whatever reason they caught my eye and I felt like they were a cool person? I didn't interact with them in any way, and considering that I ended up leaving the room after about half an hour and never saw them again, it's entirely possible that they didn't ever know I existed because there was literally no interaction, and yet, small squish. There are definitely squishes that develop once I know someone to some degree, but they feel basically the same in character to squishes predicated on literally zero interaction, so I think they're the same experience. 

 

The other reason that I call these feelings squishes and not just "wanting to be friends with them" is that I used to think they were crushes. When I figured out I was ace, I mistook my squishes as crushes and thought I was demiromantic for about a year. When I realized I was aro, one big shift in my thinking was realizing that my "crushes" were actually squishes, which also made a lot of things make a lot more sense. To me at least, a squish is different from "this person is really nice" or "this person is interested in the same things as me", which is why I use a specific word for it. 

 

31 minutes ago, Coyote said:

Anyway -- so you say here that you use alterous for a feeling that's "neither platonic or romantic" ... in that it differs from the platonic attraction by... including infatuation? Meaning "platonic" for you necessarily is mutually exclusive with infatuation?

Sort of, but not exactly. My squishes on close friends might involve a minute amount of platonic, nonromantic infatuation, in the sense that I want to spend lots of time with them and have philosophical conversations and stuff, but my alterous attraction definitely has a distinctive element of infatuation. The first time I felt alterous attraction (which was after I knew I was aroace), I panicked for a second because the infatuation was definitely closer to the stereotypical romantic infatuation you see in media than anything I'd ever experienced. However, it was decidedly nonromantic in nature, and my feelings for the person I was alterously attracted to were definitely nonromantic. The infatuation was...adjacent to stereotypical infatuation, I suppose. Some element of "their sense of humor is superb, and they can't quite finish their jokes without cracking up, and their smile is just so endearing, and their hair is just incredible" (to badly channel some infatuation-driven comments), but without any connotations of romance. Something similar to, but distinct from, my squishes. 

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3 hours ago, Coyote said:

Okay. What are you using friendship to mean? (Here are five different ones that I know of)

I would your model 3 of friendship, in a way it doesn't exclude the first one.

More precisely,  for me a friend is someone I enjoy company,  and who is there for me if I have problems (and I am there too if my friend has problems of course). The second point is important to distinguish from an acquaintance. I also add that I can see my friend as an equal, in the sense that there is no authority relationship as you can have with your parents for instance ("equal" was probably not the word but I can't find the English word for "sur le même plan"). See what I mean?

 

About this point in your (good) article...

"Presumably, under this model, if two people are friends, but they both(?) start feeling another form of attraction, then that (itself) changes the nature of the relationship (as opposed to a change in bonds, behaviors, commitments, etc.). It is unclear to what degree this attraction needs to be mutual or needs to be openly acknowledged in order for this change to take place."

 

It's true that I see a lot of people saying that the feeling leads to qualify something as a QPR or not, and I believe it's true, as it is for romance. However, I don't think that the feeling alone is enough to change the nature of the friendship into a QPR : I ththink there has to be a discussion between the two person involved, so they both agree to label their relationship this way. Just like romance, you can't be a couple if the other person don't agree with it. But of course this is my opinion. Thinking in terms of attraction and feelings is helpful to me, but I make a distinction between attraction and relationship, feeling and actions. You can be attracted a certain way without getting involved in a relationship, the same way you can be friend with someone without feeling squishes.

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On 9/15/2019 at 11:28 AM, raavenb2619 said:

I get what you're saying, but I think we might be describing different things. I've definitely had at least one (small) squish where me and this other person were on opposite sides of a large room with a bunch of other people and for whatever reason they caught my eye and I felt like they were a cool person? I didn't interact with them in any way

 

Yeah? I'm including stuff like that.

 

On 9/15/2019 at 11:28 AM, raavenb2619 said:

However, it was decidedly nonromantic in nature,

 

Okay. I hope you understand my confusion, then, when people call a decidedly nonromantic (and presumably nonsexual) feeling "not platonic."

 

On 9/15/2019 at 3:05 PM, nonmerci said:

("equal" was probably not the word but I can't find the English word for "sur le même plan")

 

Put on the same level.... Okay, yeah, that makes sense.

 

On 9/15/2019 at 3:05 PM, nonmerci said:

I would your model 3 of friendship, in a way it doesn't exclude the first one.

More precisely,  for me a friend is someone I enjoy company,  and who is there for me if I have problems (and I am there too if my friend has problems of course).

 

Okay. So if that's what friendship is, and if "platonic" is the adjective of friendship, then--

 

On 9/13/2019 at 12:47 PM, nonmerci said:

I think the point is to distinguish between an alterous attraction and a squish. So I think it is your option 4, a desire/attraction for a non-romantic emotional relationship, different from platonic or romantic.

 

...what do you mean by calling alterous "different from platonic"?

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