brooksmoses: (Brooks and Suzanne)
[personal profile] brooksmoses
The word "family", in the sense of "chosen family" (which may or may not include one's "blood family"), can mean a lot of different things to different people. Likewise, especially in the poly world but even in the world of standard-appearing monogamous relationships, "partner" (in the relationship sense, not the business sense) can mean a remarkable lot of things.

As a result of some recent miscommunications, I'm chewing over what these mean to me, and I'm feeling very curious: What do these words mean to you, if and when you use them for your relationships? Do they have implications about what sorts of things you can rely on someone for, or what they can rely on you for? Are there expectations of willingness to perform emotional labor, or physical labor, or provide resources? (In exceptional circumstances? As a normal pattern?) Are there expectations of where the relationship fits in daily life? Of there being particular emotions that tend to come from the relationship?

Date: 2016-04-03 11:12 pm (UTC)
snippy: Lego me holding book (Default)
From: [personal profile] snippy
What do these words mean to you, if and when you use them for your relationships?
Family are the people I want to visit me in the hospital. Family are the people I would ask for help if I needed it (e.g., recovery from major surgery). Some family are partners. Partners are people I made a commitment to, the commitment varies but usually includes "I will do my best to continue our relationship in a mutually satisfying form" where the alternative is "I make no commitment to work things out if I decide it's time for me to not be in a relationship with you."

Do they have implications about what sorts of things you can rely on someone for, or what they can rely on you for?
I prefer not to have implications but to negotiate and state expectations, but sure, implications creep in. I think the big one for me is that family can ask. Family can ask for help, for social time together, for recognition and acknowledgement. And I will give serious consideration before saying no. Whereas with more distant/less intimate relationships my default answer is no, and a yes requires consideration.

Are there expectations of willingness to perform emotional labor, or physical labor, or provide resources? (In exceptional circumstances? As a normal pattern?)
I think there are expectations, on all sides, but from my side, I try to take people's demonstrated capabilities and willingness into account, and I try to be honest about what I am capable of providing. Generally YES all of these things are part of being in a more intimate relationship than that of friendship or co-worker, for example.

Are there expectations of where the relationship fits in daily life?
Not from me, because I am very clear about what I want in daily life and I communicate it. It's challenging to be in relationship with people who don't communicate the way I do, but almost all of my family/partner relationships are in that category.

Of there being particular emotions that tend to come from the relationship?
I at least like very much all the people in my family and I love my partners. I love most of my family. I hope they feel that way about me, but I count as family at least one person that is changeable and ambiguous due to mental health issues: sometimes zie hates me, and sometimes zie doesn't like me, and zie certainly doesn't want to spend time with me most of the time. Still family to me, though.

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