February 29, 2008

Blurring Lines

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 3:00 pm by Kathleen

I was talking with someone that I care deeply for, and who’s partner does not want us to have a relationship beyond friendship, and I had the urge to tell him that I love him.  We talked, and neither of us could really define the line between friendships and relationships.  Friends love each other.  It is, in fact, a big part of friendship.  The only difference that we could see is sex.  No sex for friends (in our case.  There are friends who do that, too.)

Seeking help, I turned to a friend on chat:

kathleen says:
Hey Steph, all sexual crap aside, what is the difference between friendship and romance?
Stephanie says:
Kathleen says:
you are sooooo helpful

Funnies aside,  it doesn’t seem to be a concept confined to poly, however as a polyamorous person, I am in a unique position to experience friendships as deeply as I want without the fear of hurting or alienating my husband.  I find this freeing and beautiful, and I am really glad that I have the opportunity to love and to express my love for this guy.  I will probably continue to tell him so from time to time – I told him today – and I expect nothing from him but his friendship until and unless his partner allows more.  For now, it is enough to love and to be loved, and to be a good friend to him in all ways.



  1. Jaime said,

    My husband and I are working towards the same relationship. We’ve been flirty and kissy with other people, but neither of us have taken it as far as sex since we’ve been married. Mostly I think it’s my fault with my constant unsureness over the whole situation. It completely messes with my brain because for every reason I think of not liking it, I think of a solution for it as well. I never question who he’s going home with, I never question his love and devotion for me and I trust him completely. I think that it is solely a territorial thing. Having been shat on before in relationships that I gave my everything to, I think I’m finding it difficult to give him the okay to do the things that were done without permission in the past. Please write more Kathleen. I want to be able to move past my insecurities and your posts are helping so far.

  2. Kathleen said,

    Jamie, thank you so much for commenting. It means so much to me to hear responses like this that I actually teared up for a minute or two. I am so glad to be able to help you!


  3. Temptress said,


    Being stuck smack in the middle of a situation where a member of our closed quad wants to not be Fi any longer… and an another member realized friendship turned romantic with a family friend, and has back away from it, I find myself in a difficult situation being a monogamous minded person in a poly family.
    (That is an explanation for another day)

    You made the comment… “We talked, and neither of us could really define the line between friendships and relationships. Friends love each other. It is, in fact, a big part of friendship. The only difference that we could see is sex. “

    Well I have to disagree.
    There are 3 types of love. Eros, Philia, and Agape.
    Eros is romatic sexual love. Agape is unconditional love, such as that for our children. And Philia has a more broad definition, but it is based on the love of friends. Freindship is divided into three types, based on the motive for forming them: friendships of utility, friendships of pleasure and friendships of the good.

    So that said…. Yes you can love your friends. You can have a deep and abiding love based in the realm of philia and this would be totally acceptable in an instance where not all members were open to polyamory.
    However, the love of eros in that situation can be and is rather disconcerting.
    I know this for a fact…. I for all intents and purposes was the significant other of the friend whose friend professed eros love for. It shook my world and has rattled me deeply. This has taken since Easter for me to feel like the ground is made of more than jello.

    Love in all of it’s forms is beautiful, but each has it’s place and it’s time. It is situational, and the dividing line is not sex but the form that love takes and what action you take with that love.

    My two cents.


  4. polybat said,

    Just started reading your blog and got to this post, it echoed with feelings I’m struggling with defining as well. I don’t think I can define the actual visible difference between friends and romance, but there are definitely people I would like to have sex with as friends and then others who I would want to have sex with in a romantic love sort of way. It’s just a different coloring to the feeling of “love” – a wholly inadequate word if ever there was one. There are so many different tones of love that we simply don’t have the language for. In that way there is a difference in the relationship, the level of intimacy and simply the way we feel when having a romantic attraction to someone.

    • polybat said,

      Totally didn’t read the other comments before I relied, just got swept up in thinking about the stuff I’ve been dealing with lately. Sorry to be redundant =).

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