Cosmopolitan, “Here’s What to Know About Relationship Anarchy”

The only rule is that there are none.

By Veronica Lopez, October 15, 2021

When you think of anarchy, you probably think of black eyeliner, punk rock, and someone who doesn’t subscribe to any type of hierarchy or rules. Relationship anarchy isn’t totally far off from that definition. (Except for the eyeliner, obvi. Unless you’re into that!) It’s actually a different approach to relationships and non-monogamy altogether, intentionally defined loosely so that relationship anarchists can define it for themselves.

What is relationship anarchy?

Coined by Andie Nordgren in a pamphlet in 2006 (later published online), relationship anarchy—or RA— is a relationship style in which there are no rules or expectations other than the ones the people in the relationship decide upon. So, basically tossing traditional societal ideas of what relationships “should be” and defining them for yourself, with your partner(s).

“RA is a philosophy where people follow their own core values to create individualized relationship agreements rather than relying on social norms,” says Dr. Heath Schechinger, co-chair of the American Psychological Association Division 44 Committee on Consensual Non-Monogamy. “People who embrace this approach to relationships tend to value autonomy and non-hierarchical relationship practices.”

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