Golden rule vs Platinum rule in relationships?

  • slowprogress

    Posts: 38

    Jun 27, 2016 5:20 AM GMT
    My friend has started hooking up regularly with one of our younger mutual friends (20, and my friend's 32). For him it's just sex, but the younger guy has a massive and rather-public crush on him; everyone including my friend knows it, and the kid talks non stop about it. He told me that they've had the "it's just going to be sex, not dating, alrite? are you sure you're ok with it?" talk prior to it starting, but told me that of the 3 other people he has confided in about this development, 2 insisted to him "wow that's horrible, you're taking advantage of his feelings!"

    I asked him if he would be ok with a sex-only arrangement with his ex (whom he is still madly in love with) while mutually seeking other lovers, to which he was undecided, leaning towards no. One of those "i know it'll hurt me later, but i want to" situations. I then asked him if he'll be ok with someone putting him in a situation of facing such conflicting desires, to which he said he doesn't mind the choice. I said that I wouldn't offer an arrangement to someone that I wouldn't accept myself (golden rule). Even if I might accept such an offer, often in these situations people, myself included, will choose the thing that harms them emotionally, hence consent is a grey area that can totally be exploited for selfish reasons (often people invoke consent like a get-out-of-jail-free card for ethics).

    It's like I'm a bartender trying to earn money, and an alcoholic in rehab is asking for a drink, says he's fine, that I should respect his wishes as an autonomous human being. I would tell the guy "sorry, go home", but my friend would - in his words - have a conversation with him to find out if he's really fine, and then possibly let him drink, because the platinum rule is to "treat others the way they want to be treated", and the only way to know is from what they tell you. I responded that the world is complex, people lie, even to themselves, almost all abusive relationships are consensual, and that the only way to be accountable to one's actions is to measure it to how one really wants to be treated, even if they say otherwise.

    Thoughts?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 27, 2016 1:45 PM GMT
    run with a different set of friends till this goes it course.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 27, 2016 1:59 PM GMT
    Not cool. Some guys are more sensitive than others and/or don't know how to disassociate their emotions from sex. I am a very sensitive guy and I need love, chemistry, affection first for sex to work for me. I've tried hook ups and friends with benefits. It's just not me. Could be he is just young and naive but it is not cool to play with someone's emotions just because you want to get off

  • Jun 27, 2016 2:29 PM GMT
    icon_cry.gificon_cry.gificon_cry.gificon_cry.gif
    ooooh my tears ....i hate abusing youngsXXXXXicon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gif
  • Destinharbor

    Posts: 4433

    Jun 27, 2016 4:05 PM GMT
    I see your point but wonder if it is a bit patronizing. Sure, a 20 year old may not have developed a great sense of romantic caution but isn't that what being young is about? It sounds like your friend is being honest with him and the two choose to be on this path so how can you then superimpose your sense of what's good for either of them? And who knows, your friend may change his mind when loved unconditionally by a good guy. I've known plenty of 20 year old guys who are accomplished and educated and emotionally mature and capable of deciding for themselves what they want. Or he may decide for himself over time that he wants more and move on. And even if the guy's disappointed in the long haul, who are you to say that your older friend can't be kind and let him down easily. I would say he certainly has that responsibility if it comes to that. And reminding him of that responsibility might be just as far as you need to go in inserting yourself into their relationship.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 27, 2016 4:15 PM GMT
    I can't say that it's necessarily "wise"... and there's a good chance it'll become messy, but since these are adults who've already laid their cards on the table, not much else can be done. If you've expressed your disapproval and they keep going, that's on them. Sometimes the only way to learn is to touch a hot stovetop and suffer the burn. :: shrug ::
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 28, 2016 11:02 AM GMT
    You've got some interesting perspective on this and I will contemplate longer... I like your description of Golden vs Platinum rules. But one comment I would say is that the Alcoholic metaphor is a bit strong. We dont really know what love is, but I am not sure I would class it as a chemical addiction. I think it would be better to contextualise the metaphor as a hairdresser and client. Your an experienced hairdresser, a client walks in and wants a style that you don't think is right for him. Do you give the paying customer what he wants or send him to the door without service. (As I wrote this Britany Spears came to mind with her famous head shaving incident... the hair dresser technically refused to do it... so Britany did it herself messes with my own metaphor of course... lol). At any rate... The young guy is getting what he wants. He has some craving for the older guy and the older guy who has been honest about his feelings too. At 20 years old, the young guy can afford to get what he wants and also perhaps learn some life lessons along the way if he learns to resent the one sided nature. Hair grows out again... and in love, the heart repairs itself with time too. And despite the older guys callous attitude... Love grows. Its more likely he gets hooked on the young guy and his heart is broken when the next flavour of the month arrives. Its just sex... he is not committed either.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 28, 2016 6:26 PM GMT
    You've obviously really given it some thought, and I appreciate that you're causing your friend to scrutinize his own choice, rather than impose your opinion as absolute. I would personally agree that what's going on is a bad idea. You make valid points that I believe are worth consideration. However, I have to think that what's more applicable here is that... (to be blunt for the sake of clarity, not rude)... You're not the moral police, for your friends. You're free to do what you want, like call his choices into question, or even stop spending time with him/them, but they are also free to do what they want. Even if that means taking (legal) advantage of someone's crush to get some.

    It sounds like all you should do, is what you've done already. Make your opinion known, and then allow life to take care of the rest.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 28, 2016 10:41 PM GMT
    I say use him. It'll be a good lesson for him later on. Hahaha I'm mean ... but hey, that's reality.
  • slowprogress

    Posts: 38

    Jun 30, 2016 1:55 AM GMT
    vasilis saidYou've got some interesting perspective on this and I will contemplate longer... I like your description of Golden vs Platinum rules. But one comment I would say is that the Alcoholic metaphor is a bit strong. We dont really know what love is, but I am not sure I would class it as a chemical addiction. I think it would be better to contextualise the metaphor as a hairdresser and client. Your an experienced hairdresser, a client walks in and wants a style that you don't think is right for him. Do you give the paying customer what he wants or send him to the door without service...


    Ah that's a much better example haha. Yeah my friend basically sprung it on me in person during dinner, so I didn't have any time to think about it, even though he really wanted to win my approval through debate lol.

    It's kinda frustrating because this friend is so honest about what he does (including all our other friends he's slept with), but seems disingenuous in the way he justifies it. He's the kind of guy who tries to deconstruct everything and claims "common sense" doesn't exist apart from a thing to stigmatize those who don't think in a certain way. So when others use common sense arguments like "c'mon, he's 20, you know how it's going to turn out", he will claim not to know, that we shouldn't generalize, etc. Drives me up the wall haha
  • mcbrion

    Posts: 305

    Jul 03, 2016 3:46 AM GMT
    vasilis saidYou've got some interesting perspective on this and I will contemplate longer... I like your description of Golden vs Platinum rules. But one comment I would say is that the Alcoholic metaphor is a bit strong. We dont really know what love is, but I am not sure I would class it as a chemical addiction. I think it would be better to contextualise the metaphor as a hairdresser and client. Your an experienced hairdresser, a client walks in and wants a style that you don't think is right for him. Do you give the paying customer what he wants or send him to the door without service. (As I wrote this Britany Spears came to mind with her famous head shaving incident... the hair dresser technically refused to do it... so Britany did it herself messes with my own metaphor of course... lol). At any rate... The young guy is getting what he wants. He has some craving for the older guy and the older guy who has been honest about his feelings too. At 20 years old, the young guy can afford to get what he wants and also perhaps learn some life lessons along the way if he learns to resent the one sided nature. Hair grows out again... and in love, the heart repairs itself with time too. And despite the older guys callous attitude... Love grows. Its more likely he gets hooked on the young guy and his heart is broken when the next flavour of the month arrives. Its just sex... he is not committed either.


    It is great to believe that the heart repairs itself, but for many people, that simply is not true. For many people, the path to love is a mishmash of thrown together concepts, with no experience to support it. This is why so many people are bitter and have given up on a relationship: they didn't start out grounded with good ideas about love (reading Jane Austen would, as Mr. Takano wrote in the New York Times today, help people to look at Love through different eyes), and they continue to make the wrong choices and the same mistakes. I'd like to believe the heart repairs itself, except that it only does that with wisdom and insight - not merely by the passage of time. Time is simply time. It does not confer wisdom.
  • badbug

    Posts: 800

    Jul 05, 2016 6:49 PM GMT
    We dont really know what love is, but I am not sure I would class it as a chemical addiction

    Everything in your brain is chemicals, ipso facto a desire for love is a desire for the experience those chemicals provide. Mystifying love is great when it's great, but not so great when it is not.

    It's like I'm a bartender trying to earn money, and an alcoholic in rehab is asking for a drink, says he's fine, that I should respect his wishes as an autonomous human being. I would tell the guy "sorry, go home",

    Perhaps you should re-examine what being an autonomous human being is and what having a job is. If you're a firefighter, would it be suddenly appropriate for you to decide what buildings deserve to burn and what deserve to be put out? What if you work at McDonalds or say own the McDonalds and a giant fat person you know to have a heart condition frequents your restaurant because it is closest to her house?

    I think you seem to be viewing this from the perspective that you know best. Perhaps this relationship saves him from a worse one? Perhaps having his heartbroken today teaches him something about himself? Perhaps the alcoholic goes on the last bender and then sees the light? Perhaps he walks down the street to the next bar and gets knifed? Perhaps an infinite amount of things.

    he will claim not to know, that we shouldn't generalize


    I don't post gifs but if i did, it would be of Morgan Freeman saying: "he's right you know".


    Your friend is likely acting un-ethically or atleast using his advantages over this person for his own personal gain, this seems to be clearly the case. The problem seems to be, your discounting of that person's ability and right to endure that. Some people like being abused or like being in fucked up relationships, need to be. You can't know if this 20 year old is like that. You can't know if he'll just go out and find someone else that he seemingly can't have because that is the most important quality he seeks in a lover.

    It's possible your friend is being a jerk but that only person truly suffering is himself because he is wasting time with someone who would never want to be with him if he wasn't a jerk. Maybe it is your friend that will fall in love only for this 20 year old to leave because love is not what he is after if it is requited. As you said, things are complicated and people lie to themselves/don't know themselves.


    As far as golden rule versus platinum rules goes, clearly you can't treat people only how you like to be treated. That's insane. What if i am a masochist and you are not? Does the golden rule not include the platinum rule? Does ones desires being expressed not deserve to be heeded in a relationship?

    Anyways interesting post.

  • highforthis

    Posts: 680

    Jul 06, 2016 4:29 AM GMT
    slowprogress said... hence consent is a grey area that can totally be exploited for selfish reasons (often people invoke consent like a get-out-of-jail-free card for ethics).


    Oh man, if I had a dime for every time someone on this forum says "he's an adult" to justify some questionable or exploitative arrangement