What Is Relationship Anarchy? A Radical Method To Love & Friendship

It’s not really possible to give an outline of what the average relationship anarchist’s life might look like. “Typical is a myth. In reality, each of our lives is unique and one-of-a-kind, which is also true for people practicing relationship anarchy,” says Anna Dow, LMFT, therapist and founder of Vast Love, a coaching and counseling practice for people navigating nonmonogamy.

She continues, “A lot of people hear the word ‘anarchy’ and think of radical punk rockers with tattoos and mohawks. While that’s sometimes on point, the lives of relationship anarchists are also as varied as they come. Relationship anarchy is the ‘choose your own adventure’ version of relationships. It’s a belief in coloring outside the lines and going off-trail. When we expand our minds past the predefined boundaries, the possibilities can be endless!”

That being said, a common thread between all relationship anarchists is the time given over to communication. Dow says one characteristic that links together those who are well suited to RA is “strong communication skills, including the abilities to empathetically listen and to authentically express one’s feelings/needs in a direct way. If someone struggles with compassionately considering other people’s perspectives or feels guilt when expressing their own feelings/needs, they likely have some personal growth work to do before being optimally ready for sustaining healthy relationships in the context of RA.”

While it’s impossible to identify an “average” relationship anarchist, some of the ways in which it might look to live an RA lifestyle are to live with a mix of romantic and platonic life partners who are all equally responsible for maintaining the household and making big life decisions. Or to have two romantic partners who aren’t given more time and precedence in one’s life than one’s platonic friends. It can look like choosing to have children with platonic friends instead of with lovers. In short, the sky’s the limit.

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