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  #51  
Old 06-03-2014, 04:53 PM
AlbertaRaven AlbertaRaven is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperskeptic View Post

What do you think of the idea of 'relationship anarchy'? Does it make sense? Is it tenable? Do you want to start storming the barricades of off-the-shelf thinking in relationships? Or do you want to resist, to hold on to something you see as good in more conventional categories of relationship?

Do 'polyamory' and 'relationship anarchy' really come to the same thing? Or is 'relationship anarchy' - as I suspect it might be - more radical than 'polyamory' is generally conceived to be, questioning assumptions even those committed to polyamory often still make?

And is 'anarchy' really the best term?
I dig these questions. I like all the conversations that happen about labels in this forum; language is so important, isn't it?

That said, I think we rely too much on labels for comfort. Or rather, I personally don't like to rely on labels for comfort. I shouldn't say it's a negative thing, because it's not. It is what it is. Conventional categories and polyamorous categories are meaningful and helpful. Just not for me right now.

I like the idea of RA and I think that it fits under the umbrella of polyamory, which is huge. To me, poly is simply making your relationships work in your own way without regards to social rules. RA is one way of doing that. I don't think it goes "further" than poly because there are as many definitions of poly as there are practitioners.

I think I'm doing relationship anarchy without having consciously decided to. I don't like hierarchy and I don't want to label my relationships. I don't want to follow any of society's rules for their own sake. I'm making my relationships up as I go and it's working really well. James and I and Elemental and I are taking care of each other and communicating well and being open and honest, all without the need for labels or an approved structure.

That said, someone mentioned above (sorry I lost the exact quote) that labels are useful for things like online dating. I totally agree. I have to use labels when I'm talking about James and Elemental because otherwise it would be a five minute conversation to explain what we're doing. So I've just been saying "partners". Although I do like "special gents" as well . If I was to describe them specifically on my OKCupid (probably wouldn't, that seems like TMI for a basic profile), I'd call them romantic partners.

Final note: the word 'anarchy', of course, is most often associated with politics. For people who are using 'anarchy' to describe themselves, they might have to explain how their own anarchy is linked or separate from political anarchy. That's just a normal part of the way we use language: it's ambiguous, like, most of the time. No big deal, IMO.
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  #52  
Old 07-19-2014, 03:03 PM
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I am curious about something - how do Relationship Anarchists regard cheating, for the most part?
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  #53  
Old 07-19-2014, 04:17 PM
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My identity as a relationship anarchist is in its infancy, so I can't really speak for anyone else, but the only way for my partners to "cheat" on me in my consideration is to be dishonest with me or omit information from me that is pertinent to my bodily health.
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  #54  
Old 07-19-2014, 04:50 PM
InsaneMystic InsaneMystic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
I am curious about something - how do Relationship Anarchists regard cheating, for the most part?
I'd hazard a guess that there's not a universal view among anarchists about much anything.


From this specfic RA here... copy and pasting from what I said in another thread:

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Originally Posted by InsaneMystic View Post
I don't think you owe the partner of the cheater anything, so that bit can be safely disregarded. The duty of keeping the promise and not hurting the other partner lies with the cheater, not with the one they cheat with.

What is not as easily disregarded, however, is the risk involved. How high is the risk you will end up lying to the other partner? (i.e., do you know them personally, especially as a friend? I'd personally rate that as a huge no-go - any lies you end up telling yourself will ethically discredit the arrangement.) Do both you and the cheater have a realistic idea of the potential drama this can cause? Are you ready to live with that risk, and humbly accept the damage it can cause you (i.e., prepared to not hit back if the cheatee chooses to beat you up, and treat their blows with acceptance, forgiveness, apology, and a promise not to turn them into the cops over a few bruises and a broken bone? Big go for it, IMO, if that's the case, but I doubt many people have it in them to swallow their pride that much.)

From a simple risk/gain point of view, I don't think there are many scenarios where I could ever see myself going along with it. I'd likely insist that the other partner should be informed about it right from the beginning, if for nothing else than the plain and simple sake of sheer convenience (risk minimization, ease of time scheduling, etc.).

Also, I agree with MusicalRose.

Cheating == dishonest breach of a relationship agreement... whatever the specific agreement in question is.

Obviously, sexual/sensual/romantic stuff with people outside the 'ship is not automatically cheating (well, duh! seeing as we're all poly here ), nor vice versa - if there's an agreement on whatever other thing that doesn't involve relationships with other people at all, and one partner breaks it and is dishonest about it, then yes, they've been cheating, and I'd personally be pretty pissed at them if they were in a 'ship with me.
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  #55  
Old 07-19-2014, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicalRose View Post
. . . the only way for my partners to "cheat" on me in my consideration is to be dishonest with me or omit information from me that is pertinent to my bodily health.
Quote:
Originally Posted by InsaneMystic View Post
Cheating == dishonest breach of a relationship agreement... whatever the specific agreement in question is . . . if there's an agreement on whatever other thing that doesn't involve relationships with other people at all, and one partner breaks it and is dishonest about it, then yes, they've been cheating, and I'd personally be pretty pissed at them if they were in a 'ship with me.
Okay, well yes, I do have a clear understanding of what cheating is. However, in light of the following contributions to this thread, which I quoted below, I have other more specific questions (to follow the quotes).

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildflowers View Post
I think both RA and poly provide a strong impetus to examine what your assumptions are about relationships, and evaluate how valid or useful they are . . . allowing relationships freedom to develop in whatever direction seems to work . . . The key is that you have freedom in your relationships, but you also allow it to others, so you can't throw bombs into their traditional structures just because you don't want one.
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Originally Posted by hyperskeptic View Post
. . . assuming a reasonable person of good will makes a principled commitment to living by the idea of relationship anarchy, how viable might that idea turn out to be?

For the sake of argument, I'm taking at face value Nordgren's statement that RA is about commitments to other people based on principles or, as the Manifesto would have it, "core values".
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Originally Posted by Eponine View Post
RA aims at dissolving the rigid relationship categories . . . One of my SOs has said that RA means a "bottom-up" approach to do relationships: Forget about all the pre-set categories and what a relationship is "supposed" to look like; instead, just work out the terms and conditions of each individual relationship based on the participants' unique needs. Hence the "customized commitment" idea in the RA manifesto.
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Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
The core concept which most people agree on is to exist without the burden of external rule; all other discussions usually build from that foundation. The hope is to live a genuine existence, to develop ones own values and traditions based on how they see the world. Relationship anarchy, as with anarchy as a "political stance", should be approached as a guiding principle more than something to actually attain . . . As long as I strive to let people be who they are, live by my own values, do no harm, and respect the fact that my fellows should be enjoyed - not controlled, I think I'm doing alright.
Quote:
Originally Posted by InfinitePossibility View Post
To me, anarchy is a pretty simple concept. It is nothing more than the idea that nobody needs to be in charge . . . applying that idea to relationships, I guess that I would take it mean that the key thing with relationships is that a freedom must exist to set things up so that they work for the people involved. Through discussion, reflection and a critical look at how the relationship is going and what is wanted from it, people should be free to decide for themselves.
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Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post
. . . anarchy . . . just means that one is shrugging off the agents of authority that predetermine one's life. It means the shrugging off of the traditional order of things.
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Originally Posted by LadyLigeia View Post
. . . Relationship Anarchy involves the emancipation of love from all hierarchical, social, and power imbalances . . . Relationship Anarchy promotes judging your relationships soley on their individual qualities and depth.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlbertaRaven View Post
I don't want to follow any of society's rules for their own sake. I'm making my relationships up as I go and it's working really well. James and I and Elemental and I are taking care of each other and communicating well and being open and honest, all without the need for labels or an approved structure.
Basically, most of the people who have posted in this thread see RA as a stance or philosophy that is about living up to your own standards/guiding principles/ethics rather than following someone else's rules about how to conduct relationships. So...

Let's say there is a person who practices polyamory and has always understood and agreed with the idea that poly relationships require full disclosure about what is going on and complete honesty with their partners or lovers. But they are starting to feel hemmed in by all the dogma that gets thrown at them by many polyamorists who insist poly should be a certain way. And they long ago let go of the need to fit into societal expectations about relationships! So, they start to look into Relationship Anarchy as an ideal, because this person likes the idea of no externally-enforced rules about how to conduct their relationships. Okay...

Let's also say that this poly person is pursued by someone who is legally married but not in an open or poly marriage. The married pursuer has no intention of opening their marriage, but because of certain circumstances in their life, is quite unhappy in their married life. Let's say this person's been married 25 years or more. They married young, the love is gone, there are commitments or properties from which they cannot easily extricate themselves, and they feel trapped and suffocated by having conformed to external expectations so long ago, so they look for happiness with someone else in secret. Basically they desire to make choices that are outside the expectation for marriage, and wish to create their own parameters, direction, and terms for this second relationship (as in Relationship Anarchy), because they see potential for not just sex but love as well in this second relationship, and hope to find the happiness they do not get in their marriage. However, they would still be living within the confines of the first, very limiting marriage that brings no happiness or satisfaction, and somehow balancing that marriage with the clandestine affair in their life.

If the poly person -- the one who is now beginning to embrace Relationship Anarchy because they are tired of other people's rules telling them what to do or how to be in relationship with someone -- agrees to have a relationship in secret with this married person who is essentially cheating, and also feel that the cheating person has their own choices to make and no one else can impose rules on that person (to be simplistic), how would that stance be viewed by most Relationship Anarchists, in that kind of scenario?
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Last edited by nycindie; 07-19-2014 at 08:23 PM.
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  #56  
Old 07-19-2014, 08:22 PM
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I think at a basic level that relationship anarchist position wouldn't have a problem with that (from what I understand) so long as the individual isn't themselves lying. They can choose to get involved with liars, as long as they themselves don't get to a position of dishonesty.

On a personal level, I wouldn't choose that. People that are are not brave enough to be their real selves end up causing problems, pain, and drama.
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Last edited by MusicalRose; 07-19-2014 at 08:29 PM. Reason: Sorry typos.
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  #57  
Old 07-19-2014, 08:28 PM
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Good question nyc ... I'm not a Relationship Anarchist myself so I wouldn't be qualified to answer ... but I might guess that the answer will be based on the pro's and con's for the would-be RA person given the specific circumstances, rather than by any "rule or principle" about cheating in general per se.
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  #58  
Old 07-19-2014, 08:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicalRose View Post
I think at a basic level that relationship anarchist position wouldn't have a problem with that (from what I understand) so long as the individual isn't themselves lying. They can choose to get involved with liars, as long as they themselves don't get to a position of dishonesty.
I haven't read up on RA myself, other than what I've read here, but are you saying that honesty is a basic tenet of RA?
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  #59  
Old 07-19-2014, 08:43 PM
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I don't have an in-depth knowledge of it myself, but I did read someone else saying I think in this topic that honesty was one of the standards of consent, and that consent is required for RA. But I'm not an expert and am just starting to explore the idea myself.
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  #60  
Old 07-20-2014, 06:50 AM
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I'm surprised by how close I come to being a relationship anarchist I thought I wouldn't fit the description that well.

I would never date a cheater, but it's not about the person being cheated on… well actually it is, my empathy extends to so many people, I would never want to put somone in a position I wouldn't want to be in. So back to my original thought… It's not so much about the person being cheated on as it is about lying in general. I value honesty and openness and would not want to spend time with someone who is capable of lying like this… in essence they'd be living a lie. And if I was ever to meet their spouse, I'd have to make a choice about being honest myself or becoming a liar for someone else. The choice wouldn't be difficult but I wouldn't want to face the consequences.

I was cheated on in a poly relationship, and although I've been a bit hysterical about STD's since, the sex wasn't what hurt or bothered me the most. It was being lied to (by both parties, as I knew them both) and that Salamander didn't respect the agreements he had chosen to make with me. So like others, I'd define cheating as not being honest about the relationship. So cheating is whatever breaks the agreements made in a relationship. Hmm… this means that if someone has three relationships that person would have three different definitions of cheating actively in use. Interesting thought.
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