What Is Relationship Anarchy? Principles And Methodology

Written by Harini Natarajan

If you want to live a (peaceful) non-monogamous lifestyle, embracing the concept of relationship anarchy might be a good idea for you. After all, expecting all couples to accept the idea of a monogamous relationship is unpractical and impossible. Everyone’s relationship needs and self-care goals are different – what may work for some may not work for others. This comprehensive guide will explain what relationship anarchy is and how it can positively impact your relationships.

What Is Relationship Anarchy?

The concept of relationship anarchy, coined by queer feminist thinker Andie Nordgren, revolves around the philosophical idea that societal rules should not restrict our relationships.

Relationship anarchists tend to focus more on the relationship’s significance than getting stuck on specific titles, such as partner, friend, or spouse. In a relationship, anarchy stands for the freedom to customize. People should be allowed to reorganize the most meaningful relationships in their lives, whatever way they choose.

There is no need for couples to rank romantic or platonic relationships, stick to one romantic partner, or marry the partner to get society’s approval. They do not feel like they ‘owe’ the other person anything apart from the expectations agreed between the two parties.

The concept questions the traditional relationship set up and eliminates the restrictions posed on conventional relationships in many ways and forms. Its core values include freedom, communication, and non-hierarchy.

Now, let us dive deep to understand how relationship anarchy actually works.

How Relationship Anarchy Works In Practice

Relationship anarchy enables you to define your sexual or romantic relationships as per your core values. Both the parties involved take inspiration from their needs, wants, and desires to craft the relationship instead of bowing down to societal rules and norms. Here’s how this relationship strives to work:

  • Seeks to blur the lines between platonic friendship and romantic relationship.
  • Active practitioners do not succumb to ranking relationships in order of importance, based on love or sex.
  • Tends to reject the traditional prioritization of romance over friendship or view monogamy as the holy grail for relationships.

Here are the core tenets of the Relationship Anarchy Manifesto created by Andie Nordgen. Let us quickly go through it to help you seamlessly navigate this seemingly complex relationship style.

The Relationship Anarchy Manifesto

The Relationship Anarchy Manifesto found its beginnings way back in 2006 when Andie Nordgren published a pamphlet called ‘The Short Instructional Manifesto For Relationship Anarchy.’ Here’s what it states:

1. Love Is Abundant And Every Relationship Is Unique

This questions the idea that love is a limited resource that can only be real if restricted to a couple. In simpler words, you can love more than one person.

It highlights that the love you feel for one person in no way reduces the significance of the love that you feel for other(s). This concept asks you to avoid ranking and comparing one relationship with the other as every relationship is important and independent of the others in its unique way.

2. Love And Respect Instead Of Entitlement

This tenet explains that you need to respect others’ independence and self-determination. Controlling or coercing them is neither healthy nor practical. Do not overstep your boundaries. Instead, focus on understanding how to let the relationship flourish, keeping up its integrity. By staying away from entitlement and demands, you can be sure that the relationship is truly mutual.

3. Find Your Core Set Of Relationship Values

This involves the person asking themselves the following questions:

  • How do you wish to be treated by others?
  • What are your basic boundaries and expectations in relationships?
  • What kind of people would you like to spend your life with?
  • How would you like your relationships to work?

The end goal is to identify your core set of relationship values. 

4. Heterosexism Is Rampant And Out There, But Do Not Let Fear Lead You

This tenet encourages you to stop worrying about what others might feel regarding your relationships’ validity, especially if you are not taking the standard route. Instead of fear driving your relationship, let mindfulness and positivity drive it forward.

5. Build For The Lovely Unexpected

This is all about being spontaneous and expressing yourself, without the fear of punishments or a sense of burdened “shoulds”. 

6. Fake It Till You Make It

The underlying principle is to think about how you would like to see yourself act. You can use the ideas to create simple guidelines and stick to them when things are rough. Seek support from others who challenge the norms and gain strength when things get troublesome.

7. Trust Is Better

Instead of second-guessing your partner, it will help you if you choose to trust them. It leads you to a positive path and creates a supportive environment. This strategy enables people to talk, explain, and be responsible in the relationship. Always remember your core values, and you are good to go.

8. Change Through Communication

Communication and joint actions that drive change and break the stereotypical mold lie at the center of this tenet. It focuses on the fact that radical relationships must have conversation and communication at heart – not as a state of emergency brought out to solve “problems”. The more you communicate and be explicit, the better your relationship will be.

9. Customize Your Commitments

The final tenet focuses on trust and commitment between the two people for the relationship to work. It talks about designing your commitments with the people around you and freeing them from dictating norms and commitments that brand love to be ‘real.’

As long as you are explicit about the kind of commitments you want to make, you will be able to navigate this type of relationship without any hassle.

Numerous misconceptions plague this concept. Scroll down to find out what they are.

Debunking The Common Misconceptions

  • Incorrect Understanding Of The Relationship: When people hear the term ‘relationship anarchy,’ they often think of a lawless and chaotic state of affairs. While there are no set rules and norms to follow and you just make the rules along with your partner, always keep in mind the needs, wants, and desires of both parties.
  • It Feels Like A ‘Get Out Of Jail’ Free Card: Most people feel that the participants engaged in this relationship type get a ‘license’ to do anything and everything without considering other people’s needs, wants, or desires. However, this is far from reality. On the contrary, relationship anarchy requires sincere work, dedication, communication, trust, and commitment.

The Takeaway

Relationship anarchy can help strengthen the bond and bring people closer. It provides people the room to create their markers for a successful relationship. It allows for greater freedom to express each other’s wants, needs, and opinions without judgment, fear, or constant need to seek validation.

If you are thinking of taking the plunge and charter into the RA territory, follow the RA manifesto and trust your instincts and see your life change positively for good.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

How do you practice a relationship in anarchy?

There are no set rules for practicing anarchy in a relationship. However, you can follow the Relationship Anarchy Manifesto by Andie Nordgren to start on the right track.

Can relationship anarchy create a world without heartbreak?

No. Relationships cannot promise a world without heartbreak. However, it can create more room for the partners to understand each other and live with greater freedom, love, and trust.

What is solo polyamory?

Solo polyamory refers to multiple intimate relationships with people but leading an independent or single lifestyle. They may not engage in traditional relationship milestones, such as living together or sharing expenses.

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As Chief Editor, Harini sets the tone and editorial direction for StyleCraze to deliver engaging, interesting, and authentic content revolving around women's health, wellness, and beauty. She has over 14 years of experience in content writing and editing for online media. She specializes in the areas of Beauty, Lifestyle, and Health & Wellness and is proficient in Medical Sciences (Biology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Biochemistry). Her background in Biomedical Engineering helps her decode and interpret the finer nuances of scientific research for her team. Harini is a certified bibliophile and a closet poet. She also loves dancing and traveling to offbeat destinations.