If you’re new to non-monogamy, it’s often hard to wrap your head around all the new jargon that doesn’t exist in monogamous relationships. So, when it comes to relationship anarchy vs solo polyamory, you’ll often see them referred to as the same thing. But are they? And if not, what exactly is the difference? Is it possible to be both? Here’s my take on these autonomous relationship identities.
Relationship anarchy is about applying the principles of anarchist philosophy to all the connections in your life – partners, lovers, friends, family, etc. This approach means removing all assumed hierarchies, rules and expectations and customising your relationships with each person to suit what you want through love, respect and communication.
In a world where we are used to expecting certain entitlements with specific labels, like husband or wife, such an approach to relationships can seem scary. However, relationship anarchy can be a very intentional way of co-creating your connections, allowing you to choose what works for you and what doesn’t.
What is solo polyamory?
Solo polyamory is a form of polyamory that focuses on being open to multiple committed, loving relationships while also maintaining a lot of personal space for yourself. Solo poly people often choose not to cohabit and combine finances with a romantic partner but instead live alone or with friends or family.
Most of the ideas around solo polyamory are linked to the relationship escalator. This social script prompts us to think that a romantic connection is only of value if it includes sexual exclusivity, cohabitation, marriage, etc. Solo poly folks reject this concept, valuing their relationships as they are and not requiring any escalation.
Relationship anarchy vs solo polyamory: what’s the difference?
When it comes to relationship anarchy vs solo polyamory, one of the most significant differences is that relationship anarchy is not polyamory. While it’s often associated with the world of non-monogamy, it is possible to be a relationship anarchist if you’re only interested in having one romantic/sexual partner.
The majority of interpretations of the relationship anarchist manifesto extends to include all your relationships with family, friends, co-workers, flatmates etc. So, this approach differs from solo polyamory as it applies to all your connections, not simply your romantic and sexual ones.
Can you be a solo poly relationship anarchist?
Absolutely. While solo polyamory is about how you structure your sexual/romantic connections, relationship anarchy extends beyond this to include all the people in your life. As both practices are centred around autonomy, they complement each other in a very cohesive way.
So for me, I identify as solo polyam because it clarifies that I’m not looking for a nesting partner. In addition, I often follow the principles of relationship anarchy in my overall life. I will sometimes opt to prioritise the needs of my friends, flatmates or family over those of my romantic partners because all of these people are equally important to me.
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