Since we’re talking about consent, can we also get better at talking about relationships as a whole?

I’m in a new town again. This time it’s the old town, the one I once ran away from as soon as I got the chance. How clever.
 
I’ve settled in well but I notice the huge rifts everywhere. Between the young and the old, the people in town and the people in the suburbs, and between women and men. Huge gaps and an utter impossibility of bridging them.
 
But people still want to get together. People crave human warmth. But everyone is disconnected. Then something happens, hope grows, but everything goes wrong, and every time something goes wrong, somebody ends up bitter and sad and even more unable to trust. It’s a circle, it’s black and white – together or not, love or not. It seems like a permanent war zone.
 
I speak to someone who is lonely, I’m nice, they immediately project all their wishes and hopes on me. I can’t accept that – not because I don’t like them, but they are projecting, they don’t know me, this can only end badly when they are disappointed with my real me.
 
So my only choice is to stop talking to them. And someone is again left sad and bitter and trusts women/men/people even less.
 
So I tried to explain it to them (and me) like this.
 
There are five temperatures to a relationship.
 
Blue: We talk.
Green: We meet up and talk.
Yellow: We meet up regularly and talk.
Orange: Maybe sex happens.
Red: True intimacy, togetherness, maybe even actual love.
 
To move from one to another of these temperatures requires both parties to enthusiastically agree. And most importantly, both parties can be expected to be aware of this.
 
Consent is super important but this is more than that. This prevents either part from rushing ahead and wasting a chance – the other person probably was fine with being someone the person talked to and would have enjoyed to develop that, but had to run away when the other person moved the relationship forward on their own, without consent. And this might surprise you, if you’re a guy and think this only happens to men: I have been on the side of rushing ahead myself. In my head I have had hot and heavy goings-on with people who hardly knew I existed. If I had looked at it with this temperature scale in mind, I might have not wasted an opportunity.
 
What do you think? Would this help us to communicate? Be less at war all the time?
 
 
 

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