Labels, love, and protocol
I’ve always said that I hate labels, but that isn’t an entirely accurate statement. I hate arguments about labels. Get a group of poly or D/s people together, and ask what is the difference between poly and swinging, or sub and slave, and you’ll get a lively discussion, and in the end, even if you’ve converted someone to your point of view, you’ve accomplished nothing. Labels serve no practical purpose except one, to facilitate communication. When a two or more people have a discussion, they need to use lables, to not have to say, “this person that submits to me in most ways, but it was a negotiated thing, but I really do have a lot of control over her” and say “my submissive”. It is important in that context that all parties understand what the labels mean, but it doesn’t matter what the labels mean, only that the definitions match. That is where labels cause problems.
Love is a label, and a very inexact one at that. it’s a label for a range of emotions from lust to compassion, from desire to jealousy. More often than not, when one person says I love you, what they said and what the other person heard are two different things. At some point in a discussion or relationship, those definitions have to be laid out, they can’t be assumed. In a discussion, I feel that if the preciseness of the terms is important, then that needs to be laid out as well, but it doesn’t need to be discussed, whoever is leading the discussion needs to just pick a definiton. Then we can get down to the important topics.