What if there was no line between different types of relationships?
First of all, what is relationship anarchy? I posed this question on Reddit when I realized I had been using the term without fully understanding what it meant.
The short version that I liked best was:
It’s the idea that relationships don’t have any predefined rules other than what two people agree to.
Another person gave a more detailed personal example:
I’m a Relationship Anarchist, and I have intimate friendships, casual fuckbuddies, friends I snog at times, deep romances that aren’t sexual, deep sexual connections that aren’t romantic, and so on. At parties I like to flit around the room like a butterfly, snogging friends and hugging people and sitting in people’s laps and braiding people’s hair. None of them have to be defined as my “partner”, or have a specific pre-defined standing in my life — the main thing that matters is that everyone involved is happy with the situation. I have a life partner and we live together, and we’re both completely happy with our interaction with other people, without necessarily having to define what each person we’re intimate with means to us.
So where do I fit into all of this?
Philosophically I believe Relationship Anarchy (RA) makes sense to me. In practice that’s not the lifestyle I live, although in many respects I want to.
I know some people who are able to blur the line between romantic and non-romantic interactions (I felt it inappropriate to ask whether that’s also the case between sexual/non-sexual interactions). Or perhaps they just have different concepts of what constitutes romantic interactions.
All of this conceptually feels normal to me, but as a matter of practice feels completely foreign. Part of it I think is simply social conditioning. The other part though is perhaps social fluency? I don’t even know how to form a deep connection with another person other than going through the path of romantic interest. Part of me is unsure whether I’m even capable of forming a deep connection with someone without also developing at least a desire for intimacy (which may or may not include sex). Having a desire and acting upon it are of course 2 different things, but it feels like many times I many times I keep my distance because of a fear of creating an awkward situation for the other person. (I don’t think I’ve ever felt that something someone else did was awkward for me, so my fear revolves around my perception of what someone else might feel)
I’m not sure whether I’m actually an RA. I don’t even know how to broach the topic with any platonic friends about whether they’d be interested in being non-platonic without causing awkwardness or worse coming off as creepy.
For those that are RAs or at least practice certain aspects of it, how does that conversation even begin? Or does it just happen naturally?
In online dating I can filter down to only people interested or at least open to polyamory which has a community ethos of communication and discussing these kinds of topics, but it feels odd to talk about these things with people I already know as friends, so to avoid making things uncomfortable for them I generally don’t bring it up.