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Why are romantic relationships are treated so differently from every other relationship?


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Why are romantic relationships are treated so differently from every other relationship? E. G. Let's say you got a job offer in a far away country & decided to accept. If a friend or family member were to complain that it wasn't fair because you'd be too far away & that THEY didn't want to move there, so it was, therefor, wrong of you to go, I think everyone would agree that they were being a butthole to you. However, if you were in a relationship/marriage & a partner were to make that same statement to you, you'd be seen as the butthole for going. -_- That just seems so messed up to me. Anyone else have examples or thoughts on this?

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My guess is that it's really rooted in the long history of our anthropological and industrial development, I think. Marriage is really one of the oldest institutions in the world and was initially kind of a business transaction among the wealthier classes and a contractual relationship between lower classes where two people basically worked together to reproduce so they could meet their basic needs. The whole concept of marriage as a romantic thing in Western culture is pretty recent in the grand scheme of things, as it's only been around for 250 or so years, maybe. I also suspect that industrialization leading to increased alienation has created this situation where people are less able to be emotionally intimate with family and friends and are socialized to believe that only their romantic partner can tend to them physically and emotionally. You get this emphasis on a "soul mate" who can satisfy everything you could possibly desire, which would include sexual and romantic needs, and, obviously, everyone has those sexual and romantic needs, duh.

Not a well-studied anthropologist or anything but the topic does interest me so that's my kind of whack at it. Spouses are kind of viewed as this end all, be all relationship because of the historical precedent, and as much as capitalist industrialization has deeply upset the social functioning of society, I think we're reaching this strange point of hyper-individualization that it's encouraging people to re-conceptualize relationships and what they mean and whether or not sexual/romantic relationships are the Most Important Thing Ever or not.

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I'd add that a lot of people think romance has to include eventually agreeing to live together. Maybe you can get away with long distance for a bit but the expectation is you bind your life together like that. From that worldview agreeing to the relationship then saying,hey, I'm going to piss off to the other side of the world, that isn't going to go down well.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/16/2022 at 2:24 AM, Angrboda said:

If a friend or family member were to complain that it wasn't fair because you'd be too far away & that THEY didn't want to move there, so it was, therefor, wrong of you to go, I think everyone would agree that they were being a butthole to you

Its interesting to me that this isn't always true. In a lot of cultures there is an expectation that you should take care of older relatives. Some traditions are stronger about this expectation than others. If that way of thinking is common then not everyone would agree they were being a butthole. They might instead argue that you should stay close at least while your parents are still alive.

So maybe this expectation is less about romance being so different to the question of who you have a duty of care for. relationships where you are seen as having that duty are going to be less tolerent of moving away, say romance as an example but even more seriously the cultural expectations about taking care of your children. relationships like a lot of friendships where looking after someone is not as expected allows you to move away.

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Amatonormativity

Although I do think if someone moved far away it would be considered reasonable for close family to be upset. For example one of my friends sister contemplated moving to Australia, which is pretty much the furthest you can get from my country. And my friend was upset that if she stayed there they might only see each other a few times again.

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