Tracey Anne Duncan, January 13, 2021
Many of us are anxious to make change in our lives and in the world, what with far right fools looting democracy and the global pandemic and all. Except that we’re still stuck at home, with precious few opportunities for face time with like minded folx. One way to publicly disrupt the status quo in our own homes is to use the microcosm of our relationships to imagine a more empowered future. And the pandemic has put a strain on many of our romantic relationships, anyway, so we may need to rethink them. Could relationship anarchy help us liberate our relationships in 2021?
“Relationship anarchy” is a term coined by Andie Nordgren in his 2006 book, “The Relationship Anarchy Manifesto.” Nordgren isn’t a “relationship expert.” He’s just a guy who was trying to create conversation around having less hierarchical relationships. It definitely worked, because his manifesto went viral. Relationship anarchy was subversive from the jump, because instead of working within the relationship models imposed on us by cultural norms or trying to repurpose traditional psychological models, Nordgren took his inspiration from his politics.
“Relationship anarchy pulls its creed from classic political anarchy,” says Sabrina Romanoff, a psychologist in New York City. The underlying premise is that all relationships, regardless of their structure or label, should be unencumbered with traditional rules or expectations, Romanoff explains, and it is assumed that everyone involved is both capable of making sound decisions for themselves and also invested in making choices in the best interest of all.