There are many ways to have relationships these days. Monogamy is not the only option and more people are realizing that they can really have relationships in any way they choose, as long as the people they have relationships with are in the know.
Ethical non-monogamy includes a wide array of relationship styles and one that had become more popular among younger people is relationship anarchy.
Some consider relationship anarchy to be a relationship style. Others think of it as more of a philosophy.
What Is Relationship Anarchy?
When someone adopts the relationship philosophy of relationship anarchy they accept that every individual has the right to have relationships in any way they choose. All the “rules” of marriage, partnerships, and commitments that have been socially accepted in the past go out the window.
The idea is that everyone can craft their romantic and sexual relationship in any manner that aligns with their personal core values. They don’t rely on the norms of society to tell them what they should do.
When someone adopts the relationship anarchy manner of making connections, they are responsible to only themselves and the people who have relationships with them. Communication, freedom, and a lack of any hierarchy are some of the most important principles of RA.
All Relationships Are Equally Valued
Those who have the philosophy of RA believe that all relationships are valuable. They don’t put romantic connections as a priority in their lives as much as most of society does.
In most of the world, your spouse or significant other is most important in your life. You might even give up some friendships because you don’t have time for them or even because your spouse doesn’t like them.
Relationship anarchists would never even call someone their significant other because that suggests that person is of more value to them than others in their lives. The RA philosophy does not rank people in order of importance. All types of love from friendship to romantic to sexual are of equal value.
Relationship Anarchists Even Have A Manifesto!
Are you surprised that a group of people who called themselves relationship anarchists have a manifesto?
Andie Nordgren was the person who originally came up with the term “relationship anarchy” and they put together a manifesto and published it in 2006.
Here are some of the main concepts of the relationship anarchist’s manifesto, as outlined by Andie Nordgen.
Love Is Abundant
Nordgen maintains that love is not a limited resource and that you can love more than one person without minimizing the love you have for another. Every relationship between two or more people should be considered new and separate from other relationships.
There’s No Room For Entitlement
If you form a connection with someone or have a relationship with them, you don’t have any right to control what they do or who they do it with. Both of you are autonomous. Love doesn’t mean you have to change who you are or what you do for another person.
Decide On Your Relationship Values
It is up to the individual to decide on the core values that determine how they will allow people to treat them and how they will treat others in relationships. If someone doesn’t align with those core values, it’s okay to let that relationship go.
Accept And Love The Unexpected
Let your instincts guide you when you make connections. Don’t let society’s rules hold you back from finding love and friendship in places you might not expect to find it.
Learn To Trust First
Our world teaches us to be mistrustful from the beginning. Try to give trust first. That helps you from using validation-seeking behaviors. These kinds of behaviors can tear people apart.
Don’t depend on your senses to know what your partner is feeling. Ask questions. Tell them how you are feeling. Communicate before problems arise and problems are less likely to come up.
How Is Relationship Anarchy Different From Other Types Of Non-Monogamy?
The thing is, RA is not strictly non-monogamy. Although most people who are relationship anarchists are also ethically non-monogamous (ENM) there are some who are monogamous with one partner.
How is this possible?
The key to relationship anarchy is not to have multiple emotional and romantic attachments. Instead, it is to always question the norms of society. RA means consistent evaluation of your values and communication of your needs.
Someone who is a relationship anarchist can be monogamous or they can be somewhere on the ENM scale of relationship styles. If you meet someone who says they are RA, just ask them about their values. They’ll likely be more than happy to discuss them with you.
Misconceptions About Relationship Anarchy
Many people think of anarchy as being related to chaos. RA isn’t just a relationship style that lets people do whatever they want without any thought to anyone else. In fact, most relationship anarchists are very considerate of other people’s feelings and boundaries.
RA doesn’t mean you’re taking the easy way out. On the contrary, RA can take a lot of time and effort to make it work well. It won’t solve your current relationship problems and you will need to do a lot of personal work.
In relationship anarchy, there are no rules. But, you can set your own boundaries and you need to have respect for others’ boundaries. When you do things with people, spend time with them, or love them, it is because you want to – not because society says you can or you should.