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Is romance transactional?


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so I was rereading through some old aro blog posts and this idea really interests me. https://sildarmillionjournal.wordpress.com/2021/12/15/is-romance-transactional-in-nature/

In brief, quote from an article: 'Paul and Holly are bound to each other precisely because their intimacy is platonic, and therefore not transactional. '.

then sildarmillion says:

' I raised an eyebrow after reading this bit. I am not taking a stance on the question posed in the title of this piece, but is Renner implying romance is transactional? I would really like to hear from readers about their perspectives on this matter. Please comment on this post with your thoughts! '

Does anyone here have any thoughts about this idea.

My idea was that some of the transaction in romance might be that it borrows a script from past times where a lot of romance was transactional, being often about transfer of wealth and power (at least for many of the wealthy whos records stick around).

I would be interested to see if anyone here has any other thoughts on this.

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Well, for some people it is really important that the one they are romantically persuing is either pretty/handsome and/or has a nice, stable income. That does sound transactional to me, because that is (usually) not something people care about when they are making friends.

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So, with a few disclaimers that I only skimmed the article, its late, and I had a long ass day, my response would be is that different to many other relationship types? Renner says that "Paul and Holly don’t need each other for money or sex. Instead, when they are together, it is a choice, made for the pure pleasure of each other’s company. " But I might take issue with that not being classifed as transactional. Presumably they are both recieving pleasure in being with each other, and if this were to stop, than that relationship would end.  Sounds like a transaction to me.

While romantic relationships have and are very definetly been used as a method to secure wealth and/or power, the same can be said of plutonic relationships. The word courtier (i.e, one who attends a royal court) also means one who practices flattery. This lends itself to the suggestion that being flattering (and again presumably friendly) will gain you money and influence, with no romantic component needed.

My impression from media is that romance instead dials things like this up to 11. Rather than hoping for a small gift or a barony, that courtier is instead hoping for a crown. Rather than spending time with someone because you gain pleasure from being around them, you are spending time with them because... and this is where the Aro loses it*. Because they cant imagine not spending time with them? Because they gain excessive pleasure? Because they gain a different type of pleasure is likely more accurate.

Even the parent child relationship falls into this somewhat. The parent gains someone who will look after them in their old age, and the child gains a mentor, and someone to show them how to be an adult (ideally). So what exactly is it about romantic relationships specifically that one would think is different in this context?

* I need to put this response in the Aro moment thread, I genuinely spent a good 15mins trying to work out the end of that sentence. I have a feeling a none aro person would be able to finish it significently more easily.

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A romantic relationship, I was always taught, is supposed to have selflessness as one of the qualities to aspire to. But at the same time, both partners have to put effort in or it's just gonna feel one-sided. So I don't really view it as transactional.

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On 5/9/2022 at 10:52 PM, Sili said:

Presumably they are both recieving pleasure in being with each other, and if this were to stop, than that relationship would end.  Sounds like a transaction to me.

Fair point. This is something I didn't even consider, why is that not treated like a transction in the way that author considered the romantic transactions.

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I get the impression a little bit that this is equating compromise with transactional - perhaps the idea that 'normal' humans need a partner to build a 'proper' life, but in order to partner up you need to take on some responsibility for that person. Share chores, share money etc. Contribute. So you might get one that snores or likes odd coloured furniture, but you require a partner & so you put up with stuff with the agreement that the other person is also putting up with stuff.

What they fail to realise is that, regardless of aromanticsm or not, once you realise you don't need to live life a particular way then you can just live how you want, & you generally end up interacting with other people of the same mindset, & it's not compromising for some perceived lifestyle anymore, it's a happy continuous choice that everyone involved contributes to because they want to be there.

I think queer people are better at figuring this all out because we were never going to fit that old model anyway

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