It’s been really nice to see non-monogamy gain traction these last few years. I’ve enjoyed seeing depicted across many mediums in different capacities. I wish all those experiences were positive, inclusionary and didn’t focus on sex, but those are discussions for another time. Rather than concentrate on what many are aware of, I thought I’d focus on how I personally practice the subject. Note that these thoughts, courses of action and reflections are unique to me, and others who practice this can and will do things differently with varying results.
Relationship Anarchy (RA) is the practice of doing away with some or all aspects of “tradition” or formalities as relates to romantic relationships. To be frank, all of that was burned to the ground in my case. In my RA, there aren’t any titles, expectations, feelings of entitlement or pressure. This is not always the case with other kinds of relationships. Even polyamory can be subject to the above examples.
Now, I don’t want you to get me wrong. I’m quite sure some of you reading this may see my words above as a way to shirk responsibility, commitment and treating a person with basic human decency and respect. That’s where you’re wrong, buckeroo. I do not believe formalities are necessary to treat a person in the same manner in which I would like to be treated. Furthermore, love, intensity, adoration and commitment still exist here.
So why RA? To understand that, we have to go back to when I practiced polyamory. During my time there, I reasoned that I was still behaving within the confines of monogamy, albeit in several instances. An aspect of that confinement that perpetually rubbed me the wrong way was the existence of expectations. Expectations aren’t a bad thing. I just believe they can only come after precise communication between all parties and the setting of boundaries. Left unchecked and undiscussed, it’s easy for them to become feelings of entitlement. It was my personal opinions concerning entitlement that pushed me into the arms of RA. I believe that entitlement runs rampant in many relationship orientations. “We are together, so I am entitled to your time.” “We are together, so I get to know what you are doing with your time.” “We are together, so I am entitled to your body.” It is important for me to say that yes, you can definitely remove entitlement from other kinds of relationships, but it was important I go about things in my own way. Relationships are what you make them to be through discussion. I also think it is important to lead with intent and purpose. By “leaving” a poly mindset through thoughts and action, I was able to “enter” a mindset more identifiable with RA.
RA, to me, is the celebration of agency and bodily autonomy. I don’t want my partners feeling obligated in any shape, way or form. I want them to put themselves first on a continuous basis. They are to allocate their time, attention and energy how they see fit. I want the individuals who have allowed me the privilege of being in their lives to follow dreams, realize their respective potentials and see projects from start to finish. I harbor these sentiments free of expectation while welcoming change at any moment. Job halfway around the world? Go do it! Want to pour yourself into your art and hone your skills? Make it happen! Remember that dream you had about backpacking in some foreign country for months on end? Send me photos of your travels, please! We will see each other when we see each other. I am often confused by how people judge the time they get from other individuals. What I mean to say is that I don’t see a whole lot of difference between 15 minutes of time vs several hours or even days. To go on, whether or not we are doing an activity while out or just cuddling at home is of no importance to me. Time has been given and it is the most precious of commodities. I am endlessly happy to have it at any length or “quality” from my partners.
By now, you’re probably wondering how this all works.
I start with communicating my relationship orientation, needs, wishes and desires while requesting that potential partners do the same. Then, and only then can expectations occur: after discussing the framework of our relationship. I also want to state that these notions I’ve shared above aren’t the equivalent of what is usually described as “low-maintenance” as it is easy to see it as such. Maintenance is actually very required for this work efficiently. That maintenance comes through what I like to call “running inventory.” How are we? Are we good? Does something need to change? Do you feel good about us? Some relationships require less or more maintenance, but maintenance nonetheless.
RA is not for everyone, but it’s for me. I feel free. I feel cherished. I feel loved. What I can tell you is that there are amazing human beings in my life. One such person lives in New York.
We see each other once a month and have been together for four years.
Stay kinky. Be good.