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Tag Archive 'passionate friendships'

Apr 20 2009

Whadayacallit Relationships in Midlife Dating

Published by under Advice

Please help. I’m searching for a good, funny, accurate name for this relationship, so common in midlife dating. It is a relationship with a built in limitation – geography, marriage to someone else, not-enough compatibility beyond sexuality, whatever. Sometimes the limitation is named. Sometimes it’s implied. The relationship always includes sex.

It isn’t casual and yet it’s not a full relationship. It is always limited in some important way. It is always smaller than full out commitment.

Maybe it ought to be called a relation-ette, like dinette or raisonette. I don’t especially like STR, or Short Term Relationship which sounds about as passionate as a financial instrument. And besides, sometimes these relationships aren’t always short term. They can last for years. I’ve interviewed people who’ve had discrete affairs, which have lasted as long as ten years and which included monthly trysts and even “business trips” that were really erotic vacations.

There is a French phrase for a friendship with tenderness, safety, sex and love, Amitie Passion, but I want an English term. I thought about “Limited Partnerships” as a term, but again, the phrase sounds so Wall Street, even though I like it because it captures the idea of intentionally built-in limitations.

These are definitely not casual relationships. We’re not talking about casual sex although the fact that they include sex is central to what they are. If we are bound to be single for many years between 40 and 60 or more, we are still going to want to have a sex life. One woman, recently divorced said that despite it all, she and her husband had a good sex life. “I didn’t believe how hungry I got.”

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