Relationship Anarchy – Multiple Relationships with Consent

When in a relationship, it is the love between the two that binds them. But, why does it have to be only two in a relationship, why not three if not more? This question is what gives rise to the term relationship anarchy. The neologism, relationship anarchy or relational anarchy, also shortly referred to as RA, questions the very idea of real love which is limited to two people in a relationship at one point of time. In fact, RA suggests that true love can be possible with more than one person at a time. Seems like Keira Knightley is only exploring the realm of relationship anarchy then!

The Ideal Relation

If my statement doesn’t seem far fetched, an ideal relationship, or the love that blossoms between two people, runs on a certain set of rules and regulations-

  • be loyal to the person with who you are into a relation with at the moment
  • you are not supposed to love or enter into into a relation if you are already seeing someone else or are already married
  • compromising in a relationship is inevitable, it is the price we pay for being together

The above set of rules and regulations are what define a monogamous relationship, the ideal relationship that is deemed fit by the society. Break these rules, and you are a sinner. Loyalty, faith, possessiveness, trust and to certain extent, even obsession are what define true love, and it is possible if we adhere to the above mentioned societal rules about an ideal relationship.

Open Relationship

Humans need constant change, in everything, so why not the way in which we maintain a relationship. May be this kind of thinking is what led to polyamory, or more simply known as an open relationship.

Polyamory or an open relationship is defined as being in intimate relationships with multiple partners at the same time. So, is it not sedition? I actually missed a crucial part in the definition, which is ‘consent‘. Everyone involved in the relationship would have to express their consent about having multiple partners. If approved, it’s no sedition.

Relationship anarchy also follows the same lines, with subtle differences though.

Relationship Anarchy

True love does not happen just once at one time and with one person – this is take of relationship anarchs. They believe that being in love with multiple persons at the same time is possible. For anarchs, love has no barricades and no rules, and the intimate feeling can be shared with more than one person at a time.

Not necessarily do the relationships need to be physical but, one can share the same attachment and emotions with another.

Polyamory v Relationship Anarchy

As mentioned above, both the terms are more or less the same but, RA is different. How is it different?

In polyamory, you are in multiple relationships with consent but, the relationships are categorized into outside marriage, friendship, physical relationships and so on.

In RA, there is no such categorization. No partner is primary nor secondary. So, multiple affairs, friendships, sexual relationships etc can all be had at the same time.

Basically, there are no commitments in RA.

Principles of RA

Unlike the societal rules of an ideal relationship, relationship anarchy is based on a few principles-

  • loving more than one person without categorizing them is possible
  • love has to be selfless and should not set boundaries in each others paths
  • no need to compromise for the individuals you love, only learn to respect their views
  • do not do anything in the relationships because you have to but, do it because you want to
  • learn to fight the norms of monogamy

Just like any other relationship out there, be it heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual or lesbian, relationship anarchy also exists. At least one thing with RA is that no one feels cheated as there is the most important consent and openness about the relationships from all the partners involved.

8 responses to Relationship Anarchy – Multiple Relationships with Consent

  1. In the world of RA, how are children raised if no commitments are made???

  2. RA sounds like the lifestyle being lived by many single mothers & absentee fathers.

  3. Perhaps RA is meant only for those who dont want kids because to have kids it should be with someone willing to commit to help raise them. Either that or be established in a community that provides a commited support structure in which the children can grow up in. Children require commitment.

  4. For people to have the capability to comprehend RA, first they need to emerge out of the conditioning they are born and grown into. Else, this whole concept looks sickening especially for the individual who believes in the ‘current’ definition of an ideal relationship

    If you are able to free your mind and think from an outsider’s perspective, you will begin to observe that the society we now live in is shaped based on the thoughts of a few individuals who led the change from a society in the ancient times. It’s just that we ‘call ourselves civilized’ now. Those individuals were misunderstood, detested and branded as rebels by the society of that time because of their so-called radical thinking. Proponents of RA would face the same situation.

    Society had been changing and will keep changing all the time, and it is sure to take another turn in the near future.

    Moving to relationships, all through a person’s life, he/she is bound to go through certain emotions depending on the characteristics of the individual and situation he/she is in. The current relationship order dictates certain implicit rules and the individual is made to adhere to a certain path , which is deviant from his natural course. This deviation obstructs THE NATURAL FLOW OF EMOTIONS and creates stress, which is an unhealthy emotional state for the individual and in turn for the entire system.

    Compare this with RA system, which lets every person ‘live the moment’. He/She lets the emotions run the natural course as one is not ’emotionally chained’ to any commitments. We may be able to own possessions but not the emotions of people. It is utter foolishness to think that marriage or similar commitments help us do so.
    They just help create stress for the deepest desire in all of us is FREEDOM.

    But moving to RA requires a higher level of consciousness starting with a whole new conditioning right from birth. I’m not sure if the entire humankind is ready for such stuff now. But someday, it has to take shape.

    The term relationship anarchy may have negative connotations at the moment but it’s sure to do more good than otherwise.

  5. Everyone should be truly free to seek the kinds of relationships in which they can best function and, in turn, be happy. An adult should be free to share love, sex, residence, and marriage with ANY consenting adults.

  6. I made a Specific Point about how RA deals with the having and raising of children. Living in the moment is is great, but to think you can escape all forms of commitment in relationships is not wise. If you cannot answer a specific question about children, then the philosophy is unevolved.

  7. You are right about the committed support structure, the concept of ‘commune’ proposed by Osho is what i would agree with. Dusky Dolphins follow the same.


    If the concept of family can be established, so can the concept of commune. what it requires is free-thinking individuals, which is a rare species at the moment.

  8. Interesting post!
    However, the author doesn’t quite understand what Relationship Anarchy really means. There are a lot of misconceptions in this article that I have addressed in a post on my blog http://missionra.tumblr.com. One of them being that the author confuses Relationship Anarchy with Polyamory.

    It’s great that Relationship Anarchy is being discussed, however, it would be even better if it was to be understood (:

    Thanks for the article!

    Dorian Friedrich Air

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