Hi! I'm Kale. I am going to talk about how relationship anarchy differs from polyamory in how it levels out social hierarchies.
Polyamory is a relationship style where people have romantic relationships with more than one person. It is a form of ethical nonmonogamy, and is based on consent.
Polyamorous people might choose to have hierarchies within their romantic relationships, or choose not to. However, most poly folks will still follow the monogamous norm of ranking romantic relationships above aromantic ones. This is where relationship anarchy differs.
Relationship anarchists don't categorize their relationships based conventional standards. For example, whether their relationship is romantic or aromantic, sexual or not sexual, whether they live with a person or do not, or whether they have had a relationship with them a long time or for a short time.
So, what does this actually mean?
I have been asked before, if I don't rank any relationships in my life, is a new friend is as important to me as the people I love? Or do I have to love everyone the same?
Short answer: no. I still have people that I care about more than other people, that I invest more of my time in, that occupy an intimate space in my life. The thing is, each relationship I have is allowed to develop independently of my other relationships.
What happens when I meet someone new?
There is Potential
If I meet a new person, our relationship has the potential to become anything. It is up to the two of us, and where our needs and desires overlap. There aren't check marks next to roles that are already filled in my life.
The relationship can become something that works for both of us. The possibilities are only limited by what we each want. If we decide to be intimate, that does not mean we have to have sex (but it could!). Behaviours arentt intrinsically linked to one type of relationship or another.
All the Assembly Required
The structure of a relationship could take any form, it's not dictated by normative models of how people are supposed to act. You get to decide together! If a person isn't pigeonholed as a boyfriend or 'just a friend', they don't have to act in ways that boyfriends and just friends are supposed to act.
I make conscious choices about who I spend time with. There is no obligation, I don't have to spend time with a certain person because it is expected. I spend time with people because it makes me happy.
What Does That Look Like
To imagine what that could look like, step outside the box and keep stepping. Think of snuggling a friend you don't have a sexual relationship with. Or buying a house with them, or raising kids with them. It is exciting to meet a new person. You don't have to immediately start asking 'where is this headed?'.
Saying 'have no expectations' is a lot easier than having no expectations. However, if you start from a place where your path is not predetermined, it makes it a lot easier to let go of how things should turn out. It allows you and people around you to act from a place of freedom and inspiration.
So, what about sex?!
Okay, sex! With all this stuff I've been talking about, it means that the most important relationship in your life could be with someone you never have sex with. It is hard to understand in a world where sex is of the utmost importance. For most monogamous and poly folk, romantic sexual love still rules over all other types of love.
This is not necessarily true for relationship anarchists. A relationship anarchist could live with one person, have sex with them, and raise kids with them. Or, they could live with one person, have sex with someone else, raise kids with a third person. Make sense?
If you feel like this is a strange idea, then imagine this. You have a friend you hangout with all the time. You are always there for each other, you go on vacation together, you are inseparable. Then one of you gets involved in a whirlwind romance and suddenly the two of you hardly see each other.
Isn't that weird? But that's how it is 'supposed' to work. If you are focused on finding one specific type of romantic love, you might miss out on all the other great loves in your life!
I hoped this helped a little to understand how RAs might engage in their relationships. If you want to keep talking about this, please post a comment below or join our Facebook group. And subscribe to my channel to get future videos. Thanks, bye!