Needs Help: Heterosexual Life Partners

Deadlock Clock: 17th Oct 2012 11:59:00 PM
Total posts: [63]
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The title "Heterosexual Life-Partners" presents a problem, I believe. It carries the Unfortunate Implications that homosexuals aren't capable of having platonic relationships.

I would propose that we simply change the title to "platonic life partners"...except it turns out that trope already exists! So, why don't we merge the two instead? They're practically identical, anyway — do we really need a separate trope just to list examples where the Platonic Life-Partners happen to have the same gender?

Edit: Ugh, wonderful, I messed up the markup title thing. Can that be fixed?

edited 11th Sep '12 2:52:08 PM by FoolsEditAccount

I opened a thread about this trope a while back, and though people convinced me the page wasn't as broken as I'd thought, it still does have a remarkably bad name.

Platonic Life-Partners is for male-female pairings where both people are straight and they have a platonic relationship. Heterosexual Life-Partners is the same thing for same-sex pairings. That's right - we use "heterosexual" to mean "same-sex."

The word "heterosexual" normally describes relationships that:

  1. are sexual
  2. include both sexes

Heterosexual Life-Partners, however, covers relationships that:

  1. are non-sexual
  2. include only one sex

Yeah, I know, the individuals are still each heterosexual, but it still leads to a counter-intuitive name.

People also keep misusing this trope for Homoerotic Subtext as though the name were ironic.

edited 11th Sep '12 3:11:00 PM by Routerie

[up]Yeah, I guess it's a tiny bit confusing, but the "heterosexual" part is explained in the definition - and it is an important aspect of the trope that the characters in the pair are supposed to identify as heterosexual, despite being in an asexual romance with someone of the same sex (making them heterosexual and bi-romantic in Ace parlance).

edited 11th Sep '12 3:55:21 PM by StarValkyrie

But the first paragraph says the characters don't have to be heterosexual. So if the characters each needn't be heterosexual, and they are definitely not heterosexual for one another, it really seems the wrong word.

And this trope isn't for asexual romance (bromance is a different trope's redirect). It's for a close relationship. Like True Companions, except with just two people, or like Platonic Life-Partners but with those of the same sex.

edited 11th Sep '12 5:12:21 PM by Routerie

5 shimaspawn11th Sep 2012 05:13:08 PM from Here and Now , Relationship Status: In your bunk
Yes, this is not in any way a homosexual relationship nor are the characters homosexual/bisexual/pansexual/etc. They are declared heterosexuals. They just happen to be life partners.
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
They are declared heterosexuals.

Except when they're not, as the trope description says and Routerie pointed out.
7 nrjxll11th Sep 2012 09:24:54 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
People also keep misusing this trope for Homoerotic Subtext as though the name were ironic.

Easily the biggest problem I've seen mentioned in this thread, at least in my personal experience.
By the way, what is the difference between when it's two guys (or two girls) and a girl and a guy? Just that the latter situation might have people in universe more inclined to try to hook them up? That it kinda subverts a stock trend more than the reverse situation?

Well, I guess I answered my own question. That does seem like it might not be very distinct though.

edited 11th Sep '12 9:37:21 PM by Arha

9 nrjxll11th Sep 2012 09:46:51 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
There's also the problems modern society has with accepting close male friendship (leading to things like people seeing Homoerotic Subtext in older works like The Lord of the Rings), which, if not always directly acknowledged in cases of this trope, at least influence it on some level.

edited 11th Sep '12 9:47:06 PM by nrjxll

Ack, so many people posting at once.

I'm only concerned with one thing: Do we need two separate tropes for platonic same-sex relationships and platonic opposite-sex relationships? I think they're similar enough that my answer is "no" — if you believe yes, could you explain why? (Well, I suppose technically the thing I'm concerned with is the title, but changing that involves a merger.)
I think there's something of a difference in that the assumed default for same sex pairings is, or was, assumed to be platonic. Whereas that's not so much the case for opposite sex pairings, where some level of attraction tends to be expected even if it's not acted on.
I don't see any reason to have this split. Platonic Life-Partners are two people who are together so often that one could easily assume they're a couple, but they're actually not. Heterosexual Life-Partners is the same thing — they're together so much that people could assume they were a (gay) couple, but they're actually not.

Given that and the slightly confusing trope name (which comes from a Jay & Silent Bob bit), I completely support merging into Platonic Life-Partners and making the current name a redirect.

edited 12th Sep '12 7:35:49 AM by Escher

I see advantages in merging the pages, but I also see why they're currently separate.

Both tropes are departures from audience expectations. Platonic Life-Partners is a departure from Will They or Won't They? - the audience assumes the male and female lead must get together, but that does not happen in these cases. Heterosexual Life-Partners is a departure from regular Good Friends - the audience assumes they are regular buds but they are actually unexpectedly extremely close.

So if we leave the pages as is, Platonic Life-Partners examples should focus on the complete asexual nature of each relationship, while Heterosexual Life-Partners should focus on how very close the partners are.

(Of course many examples on both pages are now ZeroContextExamples...)
[up] That might be too subtle a distinction.

edited 12th Sep '12 8:51:09 AM by Escher

[up][up]I think that's a false distinction and based on the assumption of heterosexuality which some of the examples prove can't actually be assumed with this trope. I think we should merge these two under Platonic Life-Partners.

edited 12th Sep '12 10:19:31 AM by StarValkyrie

Hm. Should I add a crowner, or do we need to discuss this more?
A merge by itself won't solve the problems with misuse so whether it gets merged or not, there also needs to be a rewrite - some sort of guideline for how to write an example. Platonic Life-Partners instructs people to really think about whether a pair of friends fits but it could probably be clearer in both tropes - maybe they should talk in depth about a couple of examples that do fit or maybe try to explain asexual romantic relationships (which is NOT bromance). I'd also like to see an explanation of what content should be added to examples besides the character names since I'm not fully clear on that either.
(We also have a page for literal asexual romantic relationships - Chastity Couple - but no one seems to be mistaking Heterosexual Life-Partners for that.)
[up]I don't think that's the same thing. The way I'm reading the definitions and examples given, Heterosexual Life-Partners and Platonic Life-Partners are tropes about identity (thus the focus on the sexuality of the partners) whereas Chastity Couple is about behavior.

edited 12th Sep '12 4:44:45 PM by StarValkyrie

...Doesn't Platonic Life-Partners explicitly say it's for non-romantic relationships, while Chastity Couple is the romantic equivalent? That's the difference, not the identity of the characters.
[up]The closest I see to that is the characters claiming to be "just friends" but that's not the same thing and actually is kind of the opposite of, or at least seriously downplaying, this trope which is probably why it later insists otherwise when explaining why the Harry & Hermione example isn't this (though I'm not sure that example is very good - it does illustrate an important distinction, but it implies that Harry & Ron would fit, which I don't think they really do but I suppose YMMV). It's not romance like rose petals in the bath or candlelit dinners, but it is more-than-just-friends and if there's a good in-between term for that, I'm not sure what it is.

Possibly an important note: In addition to association with gay marriages, Life Partner as a term is different in British English - 'partner' being a very common catchall term for husband/wife/unmarried-spouse/etc.

edited 12th Sep '12 7:41:28 PM by StarValkyrie

^^ Yes, Chastity Couple is romance but no sex. Heterosexual Life-Partners and Platonic Life-Partners is closeness but no romance. All three are no sex.
23 Tyoria12th Sep 2012 11:10:20 PM from Portland, Oregon
rationally insane
I'd oppose a merge. The fact that a same-sex platonic couple and an opposite-sex platonic couple should fundamentally be the same thing does not mean they are handled the same in practice. The heterosexist implications of those differences are documented by the wiki, not invented or enforced by it.

Although I think the name Platonic Life-Partners is better used as a supertrope for platonic life partners of any gender and sexuality combination. Having "platonic life partners" be the name for opposite-sex non-couples and "heterosexual life partners" be used for same-sex non-couples — who are not even necessarily heterosexual, just platonic — does not make a great deal of sense to me.
24 nrjxll13th Sep 2012 01:12:17 AM , Relationship Status: Not war
[up]I support both elements of this post.
Another alternative could be making them into two types of the same trope. They are very similar, and I think most the differences could be dealt with in a type 1- type 2 kind of description.

Page Action: Heterosexual Life Partners
22nd Sep '12 6:04:38 AM
What would be the best way to fix the page?
At issue:
The title carries the Unfortunate Implications that homosexuals cannot form platonic relationships. Furthermore, the trope is extremely similar to Platonic Life Partners.

Total posts: 63
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