relationship anarchy is not limited to non-monogamy

Anja Ciupka, Love Is Not Exclusive

Lately, I’ve been receiving a lot of surveys about non-monogamy that provide a multiple choice list to choose your “style” of polyamory. All of them have listed “relationship anarchy” as a choice. I’ve also been in quite a bit of discussions where people casually mention that the ethical non-monogamy they practice is relationship anarchy. And every time I’ve heard something to this effect, I’ve cringed.

Because I don’t believe that’s wholly accurate. It implies something that I have not experienced as truth.

You don’t have to be non-monogamous to be a relationship anarchist.

I’ve seen many ethically non-monogamous people classify their relationship style as relationship anarchy, and some put it under the non-monogamous umbrella only. But I know people who are monogamous who are also relationship anarchists – because multiple romantic relationships is not a prerequisite to having designer relationships.

Relationship anarchy challenges the notion that romantic and/or sexual relationships are paramount – that all relationships exist side by side, not on a spectrum where one is higher than another. Those in the relationship determine the parameters of said relationship, but that doesn’t “naturally” mean that one connection is more important than another.

So if you believe that all relationships are different yet not inherently tiered, then why would you assume that only those who have multiple sexual/romantic connections are the only ones who can practice this? The logical conclusion would be that anyone who has relationships at all can practice relationship anarchy.

You can have the bandwidth to *only* have one romantic or physically intimate relationship at a time, YOU CAN BE MONOGAMOUS, but still build designer relationships where one person is not the end all be all, top dog, primary in the hierarchical system – where romantic/sexual relationships do not supersede other emotionally entangled/invested ones; where financial assets, memberships, beneficiaries, traveling companions, +1’s, nesting partners, whatever! are not limited to spouses, romantic partners, or family; where you cringe at the words “significant other” because your whole tribe is your “significant otherS.” It’s possible.

Hell, isn’t the underlying premise of relationship anarchy is that damn near anything is possible if you are willing to throw off society’s expectations, cultural norms, and perceived defaults of how to do things?


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