Relationship Anarchy Discussion: October Edition

Kale of Relationship Anarchy and I have been hosting a discussion group in Vancouver in conjunction with some Facebook group-based community (Relationship Anarchy, Relationship Anarchy Vancouver). Our sixth (!!!) discussion was wonderful; we touched a lot on creating a supportive space in future discussion groups. Here are the general notes on what was covered.

Label Use

~ the more we try to come to common ground about what the labels mean, the more we feel restricted by them
~ with the rejection of labels seems to come in-fighting and disagreement in groups
~ touched on the BDSM community’s handling of starting to let go of labels to define kinks
~ labels can help us find “our people”, in some situations
~ an intentional rejection of the implications that come along with the labels is important activism
~ prefixing any description of yourself with “I think” in order to broaden the definitions and take ownership of your perspective
~ using labels to describe our people can be a consent issue; agreement on the words used to describe someone is important
~ does this even matter if it’s really none of their business?
~ small talk is hard to navigate when you don’t want to do the emotional labor of explaining

Support Systems for Practicing RA

~ opposite time: how do we as individuals feel supported in group setting discussing our relationship choices?
~ talking about how great everyone is doing at the thing is alienating
~ sharing ways to work around the system and make sure that the people you’re involved with are taken care of/managing to circumvent the laws in place
~ self-compassion and solidarity with others who are struggling with how to go about this
~ we have a desire for more diverse relationship models in normative media
~ talking about our non-romantic/non-sexual relationships in discussion groups as much or more than the romantic/sexual ones
~ personal anecdote: finding time with loved ones: schedule chicken sucks and no one wants to do it.

Intimate Relationships

~ aren’t necessary for someone to do relationship anarchy
~ terms of intimacy should be negotiated
~ commitment vs: exclusivity: commitment is adherence to a cause or activity while exclusion is restrictive

Transitions

~ flow vs. termination
~ how do we navigate changes in our relationships with compassion and care?
~ more communication about expectations means less surprise means transitions move more easily. everyone is informed
~ taking away the “bomb” of a “breakup” can be a relinquishment of control over whether the person is in your life or not
~ the concept of failure within relationships is hard to deal with, and scary
~ what are things we are doing by default that we want to change in specific relationships?

The discussion groups occur once a month on the first Tuesday at the Tipper Restaurant and Review Room.

Relationship Anarchy Discussion: September Edition

Kale of Relationship Anarchy and I have been hosting a discussion group in Vancouver in conjunction with some Facebook group-based community (Relationship Anarchy, Relationship Anarchy Vancouver). Our fifth discussion was much smaller, and more intimate, which was nice. We were able to dig into a few specific things more deeply. Here are the general notes on what was covered.

What is RA?

~ is it a jumping point off of poly?
~ solidarity is born from self-governance
~ where do allegiances lie regarding terms, and why?
~ cause for pause, and active choices instead of falling into patterns
~ vigilance in communication
~ appeals to the confusion that relationshipping at people naturally fosters
~ requires an analysis of priorities

Labels

~ there is narrative baggage around what the words mean
~ discussing the intentions people have towards each other, and accepting those things may change
~ expectation diffusing/fostering: when are they used and why do we use them?
~ the words that are normal in non-monogamous circles sometimes aren’t known to the general population, so descriptions can make conversations easier

We are super privileged to be able to talk about our non-monogamy openly.

Relationships Changing

~ we hope that things that are not continuing or changing doesn’t mean that there’s been a failure on the part of the individual experiencing loss
~ value placed on the longevity of a relationship is an old idea
~ attachment to the relationship or the person being a certain way in our lives can be oppressive

The discussion groups occur once a month on the first Tuesday at the Tipper Restaurant and Review Room.

Relationship Anarchy Discussion: August Edition

Kale of Relationship Anarchy and I have been hosting a discussion group in Vancouver in conjunction with some Facebook group-based community (Relationship AnarchyRelationship Anarchy Vancouver). Our fourth discussion was a mix of overview, light philosophizing, and delving into more complicated ideas. Here are the general notes on what was covered.

How is RA different from Polyamory?

~ sexual or romantic monogamy is possible within RA
~ poly isn’t necessarily with more rules than RA
~ poly can be pretty couple/pair-bond centric
~ RA is a deliberate abandoning of templates; poly prioritizes the romantic and the sexual still.
~ both offer an opportunity for women to have more agency
~ are people who gravitate towards rebelling progressively move the bar further out/leaning further left over time?

The “I” vs the “We” – when does it apply to RA?

~ there is disinterest in the group with identifying as “I” before “we”
~ solopoly vs RA: some parallels, but some major differences as well
~ anarchy can be very “we” focused philosophy

Narcissism and Us

~ is RA a new fancy way of executing Narc behaviours?
~ how do the power dynamics that are implied in society affect the ways we execute relationships
~ people lacking compassion to their partners can excuse behaviours by claiming RA
~ pathology and Narcissistic Personality Disorder: is it helpful or a blame-game?

How do we do RA well?

~ empowering partners to do what they want to be happy
~ ask for what you want/encourage your partners to ask for what they want
~ what are our agendas, if we have them, and how do we safely articulate them?
~ KNOW THYSELF

Love Languages and their application to RA

~ sometimes they’re different with different people
~ sometimes things people do we hate are actually their love languages
~ the book is narrow; the ways we show care is really subjective
~ it seems like there’s a rapid-fire of love language-ing in the beginning of connecting with someone
~ it can be figured out what people want in care language by what they complain about

Relationships ending vs changing

~ anarchy is about the order that evolves from chaos
~ is the glue holding the relationship together enough for them to treat each other with respect in the transition?
~ how do we treat people when we aren’t particularly happy with them?
~ wtf do we do when we’re old?! how to project into the future of your care in end-of-life
~ is it a failure if we grew/changed as we went in the connection? nope.

How to engage with others about what we want

~ immediate communication is usually better
~ labels are just words we use to talk about ourselves, so we use them
~ COMMUNICATE. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT
~ community building makes connections that are meaningful/sustains them

The discussion groups occur once a month on the first Tuesday at the Tipper Restaurant and Review Room. The September discussion may be rescheduled or skipped as a result of Kale and I both travelling.

Relationship Anarchy Discussion: July Edition

Kale of Relationship Anarchy and I have been hosting a discussion group in Vancouver in conjunction with some Facebook group-based community (Relationship AnarchyRelationship Anarchy Vancouver). Our third discussion was riveting again. Here are the general notes on what was covered.


What does equality in relationships mean?

~ what do people mean when they ask “is everything equal”?
~ people deserve base-line respect, but responsibility to the care of that individual is subjective
~ value of agency vs. maintenance of the current state
~ why isn’t someone asserting their boundaries a positive thing when it involves a “no”?

We don’t ask these sorts of questions about non-romantic relationships, do we?

~ what do we discuss with any connection outside of romantic and sexual?
~ “how do you like to do ‘relationships’”?
~ does this mean we just fish in the pool of our immediate vicinity because it is less emotional labour?
~ giving things breathing room to see how they develop
~ basing interactions on consent
~ neighbourhood watch for grown-ups: small communities make for expectations of accountability
~ rejecting normativity is a thing we’re allowed to do, as is rejecting community.
~ it’s a privilege to be able to opt in or out of community; for some it is life or death

Libertarianism vs Anarchy in Relationships

~ the difference between “we don’t need the government, we’re fine” and “we don’t need the government because we got this. together.”
~ things are hard when you don’t acknowledge your impact on others
~ “you can do what you want and we’ll protect your rights” vs. “your decisions affect everyone, therefore everyone has a say in your decisions”
~ distinctive features: when did the line get crossed from one to the other in situations?
~ the semantics of language are an important component to communication
~ the conflation of democracy with fairness
~ social contracts: do people get to matter if we don’t care about them?

Sexual intimacy with “friends”

~ sex can be like mario kart, sometimes; it’s an activity we do together
~ how to people have friendships with genders they are sexually attracted to?
~ “Queer Platonic Relationship Request Form”
~ wtf does “friend” mean?! the word is losing meaning with the casualness that we use it
~ the “just friends” insult: as if that’s inadequate or not enough
~ establishing meaning when introductions are made
~ how does the “care queue” work, and how much/little do we care about/like people and why isn’t that okay?
~ how do we balance finite time with what we want to do?
~ Dunbar’s Number
~ establishing the differences between people who are the most important and people who we put most of our energy into
~ bookmark friends: someone you can pick up with right where you left off even though varying lengths of time has have passed.
~ distribution of emotional labour

The discussion groups occur once a month on the first Tuesday at the Tipper Restaurant and Review Room.

Relationship Anarchy Vancouver: June Edition

Kale of Relationship Anarchy and I have been hosting a discussion group in Vancouver in conjunction with some Facebook group-based community (Relationship Anarchy, Relationship Anarchy Vancouver). This was the second one, and I decided to take some notation on the topics we covered to promote the conversation continuing online for those who could not attend. Here is a list of the questions we proposed, and some of the things we covered while in discussion.

What does commitment mean within RA?

~ what people want to be okay with vs. what they are actually okay with
~ what does commitment mean to each individual
~ relationship escalator mitigation
~ stasis can kill relationships
~ recognition that every day, someone showing up means they want to be there
~ measuring love in relation to measuring importance
~ defining the “start” or “finish” of a relationship

What is the relationship between relationship anarchy and political anarchy?

~ philosophical anarchism
~ RA : is it about doing what you want and defining it the way you want, or is it about actively rejecting the structures that are in place? or both?
~ moving at the pace of the slowest person re: progress through getting to an RA model
~ breaking down norms vs. “YOU DO YOU”
~ self-awareness privilege: it helps to recognize
~ a future where monogamy is not the norm, and poly/RA is
~ we are thankful for previous generations allowing for non-monogamy to manifest
~ decolonized relationships: what would relationships look like without colonization, and how do our norms affect indigenous peoples?
~ everything we do is a political act, including the things we do NOT do
~ the productivity of narrowing the definition to a point vs allowing it to expand
~ radical = being true to yourself/authentic as possible

What do we do to communicate the value of our connections/the people we are in relationships with?

~ long distance relationships: sustainable when we don’t adhere to the ways we show love as implied
~ how valid are the 5 love languages?
~ working towards shared goals/bolstering each other to succeed: as long as there is direction, moving towards something
~ figuring out communication styles, and striving to secure validation is occurring and people are heard

How do we open others’ minds to RA?

~ website, articles, basically just the internet
~ set the example. unapologetically.
~ do things on the internet, tell everyone about them
~ cerebral conversations can exclude; be mindful
~ the difficult conversation formula

How does one “nope out” ethically?

~ EL and what an individual can live with
~ sometimes, the audition period is short, and it’s not personal
~ active listening
~ passive communication is the norm: more ways to be radical is to be DIRECT
~ check one’s privilege regarding implicit power dynamics and be grateful for the opportunity to learn
~ enthusiastic consent

The discussion groups occur once a month on the first Tuesday at the Tipper Restaurant and Review Room.