I have a few new things to talk about, especially the folks who asked questions (privately, apparently no one wants to be public about this stuff).  First, though, because I keep getting caught up in terminology, I figure I should set up a glossary for the blog.  This is not definitive and definitely not normative, but I get enough poly-wankery arguing about terms in person and definitely want to head it off here.  Not least because if I describe something as a “date” or say I’m “seeing” someone, that person is almost certainly reading this blog and I want them to know for sure what I mean.

capital-R relationship is what I have with someone with whom I am romantically involved and who gets to have input on my life decisions.  I have one of these with Carrie and (currently) no one else, and don’t intend to establish more, but if the vagaries of the world and emotion stuff me into another one I will roll with it. This probably corresponds to “primary” the way that a lot of people use it but pfeh.

A date is, for me, any time that I meet someone when one or more of us has romantic and/or sexual intentions (hereafter referred to as romanticosexual).  I’m only really sure I’m on a date if one of the following is true:

  • I have clear intentions
  • The other person states their intentions
  • One of us uses the word “date”
  • We end up making out (note that this can retroactively make a friendly meeting a “date”)

Dating is the state of having been on one or more dates with someone and being likely to be on one or more future dates.  This state is compatible with states like “friendship”, “in a relationship”, “friends with benefits”, etc.

Polyamory is not used on this blog to refer to “any relationship which is not monogamous”, which is, I think, sloppy.  Polyamory is significantly more specific.

Poly/open is the construction that I use when referencing non-monogamy in general as opposed to polyamory in specific, because there is a difference, and I’m still mildly uncomfortable identifying as “poly” due to baggage the word brings along.  I will use “polyamorous” to describe myself for convenience, but it doesn’t quite fit, IMO.

Relationships are a superset of the above capital-R relationship, and include anyone I’m dating as well as friends with-or-without benefits, family members, etc.

Romance is a fuzzy word that I’m using as a catchall for the difference between friendships and someone that I’m seeing or dating which is not accounted for by sex.  I don’t have a clearer wording here, but feel free to suggest.

Romanticosexual is my own portmanteau with relatively obvious meanings that I coined because every time I tried to use dating to mean anything except 50’s-style shake-and-a-burger-and-a-movie-and-a-makeout-in-my-dad’s-car-style stuff someone wanted to pick a fight with me about it.  So, fine, “dating” means what it means above and this gets to be my catch-all word and no one can argue with me about it because I fucking made it up.  It gets a little under 20,000 hits on Google and most of those are non-English.

I am seeing someone that I am dating and whom I have been dating for some arbitrary number of dates that is more than one but probably less than five.

Sex, when not being used to refer to a person’s physical sex, means any time two people have physical and that contact involves one or more genitals.  I would happily refine this if someone has input, but whatever I use has to be universal wrt gender and has to include things that are not PiV or PiA intercourse.

This is a living document and will be updated as appropriate.


10 thoughts on “Glossarylalia

  1. The fact that “capital-R relationship” and “Relationship” mean something different from each other seems like asking for trouble. At the very least, what do you do when speaking aloud?

  2. Ah… sorry, I’m familiar with the “actually saying ‘capital-R'” convention– I just didn’t realize the capital letter at the beginning of “Relationship” was just because it was at the beginning of a sentence. That was what confused me.

  3. A friend-suggested update to the “sex” definition is “something involving at least two of nudity, genital contact and orgasm”, which has some obvious loopholes but is worth considering.

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  5. I may well steal/borrow all or portions of this… more likely use it as a template for my own proclivities and intentions. In no other endeavor do there seem to quite as many Inigo Montoya moments (“you keep using that word…”) as in interpersonal relationships, and I have often thought an agreed upon, and when possible, shared, vocabulary would be a great foundation for any budding relationship.

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