What is Relationship Anarchy?

Full Transcript:

Hi! I’m Kale. I’m going to talk about relationship anarchy today.

Relationship anarchy (or RA for short) is a a way of practicing relationships. The idea was developed in Sweden in the early 2000s, and the term relationship anarchy is credited to Andie Nordgren. RA is similar to polyamory, and some may say it falls under the poly umbrella, but there are some key differences.

Like some poly folk, RAs focus on consent, openness and honesty, believe love is not a finite resource, might have multiple simultaneous relationships, and are focused more on building relationships than only engaging in casual sex.

Where some poly folks and RAs may differ is that RAs reject creating rules and hierarchies, they limit expectations placed on other people and about how things should develop, they don’t differentiate between their romantic, sexual or platonic relationships. Also, a person could be sexually monogamous and still be a relationship anarchist.

So, let’s dig into those a little bit.

Not having rules.

Some, but not all nonmonogamous folk will have rules and hierarchies to create structure, to feel safe, to protect their relationship. RAs reject this idea, and feel that rules lead to control over another person and could create hierarchies. Instead, RAs search for ways to engage that respects someone’s autonomy and the choices they make for themselves. Then a person is feel to follow their own heart, and make their own decisions.

Limiting Expectations

RAs allow their relationships to develop independently of each other. Instead of a person ‘dating’ or being ‘just friends’, they have relationships that don’t need to be put in boxes. Freedom from expectations about what could, or should, develop means that there are no limits on what can evolve naturally.

No Difference Between Romantic, Sexual or Platonic Relationships

RAs don’t use labels such as wife, boyfriend or partner, and they also don’t differentiate between different types of relationships. Unlike most other types of relationships, RAs don’t value a person more because they are romantically or sexually involved.

For example an RA could live with someone who they are very intimate and romantic with, but whom they never have sex with, or they could have passionate sex and develop a deep heart connection with someone whom they will never share a living space with.

Sexually monogamous

A relationship anarchist could choose to remain sexually monogamous while having intimate or romantic connections with other people.

Here are nine points that Andie Nordgren first laid out in her manifesto in 2006:

  • Don’t rank and compare, value each relationship as unique.
  • Stay away from entitlement and demands, a history with someone is not an excuse to exercise control over them.
  • Be true to your own core values, and be around people who respect them.
  • Fight the heteronormative standard. You are living in opposition to a normative system that tells you how to live, people will question your choices. Work together to stand strong.
  • Don’t be afraid, act from the heart, and live spontaneously and without fear.
  • Fake it ’till you make it, decide what is best for you when you feel inspired, and stick with that when things are hard. Challenge norms, and talk to others who do also. Don’t feel guilty if you succumb to the pressure of those norms.
  • Assume people who care about you are acting with good intentions, and are not trying to hurt you. Give them lots of space to talk, explain and go over things.
  • Practice radical communication! You are trying a radical relationship style, and you need to be explicit and honest communication to break old patterns.
  • And my favourite quote: Relationship anarchy is not about never committing to anything – it’s about designing your own commitments with the people around you.

That was just a small intro into relationship anarchy. I can’t wait to make a bunch more videos about this. If you want to stay in touch, I’ll post Twitter and Facebook down below, and please subscribe to my channel. Thanks for watching. Bye!

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