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Relational anarchy: affective bonds without labels, in 9 principles

Relational anarchy: affective bonds without labels, in 9 principles

January 17, 2022

In a society where it is traditionally given in advance how and who to love, is it possible for two people to be able to maintain an intimate link without any label or hierarchy ?

At a time when the notion of romantic love still influences the conception of relationships, relational anarchy stands as an alternative to these dynamics . Throughout this article we will explain what this current of thought consists of and what its principles are

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What is relational anarchy?

Relational anarchy, also known as relational anarchism (AR) it is a way of understanding intimate relationships in which people are able to establish personal relationships that do not depend or are framed in a pre-established set of rules.


The people who carry it out, consider it a lifestyle in which the management of their relationship is subject to the own principles or rules of the members that form it and not to the social conventions or proper to the culture in which reside

The relational anarchist maintains that love can take hundreds of forms , but none of them is subject to hierarchies, norms or laws imposed outside of the relationship itself. If not, these links should appear spontaneously and develop naturally. In this way, the members of the couple are totally free to agree and determine what they want both for their relationship and for the links with other people.


Within these dynamics, people who follow relational anarchism do not usually differentiate between the links that are traditionally considered as "couple" and those that are not. If not they take a much more flexible consideration of what can happen and what is inside of these relationships.

However, it is necessary to specify that relational anarchism it does not mean that people do not have any kind of commitment within their relationships , but they are themselves who establish their own level and type of commitment according to the feelings they experience in the relationship with the other person.

As described above, it is possible to confuse relational anarchy with polyamory . And while it is true that many relational anarchists have several sex-affective relationships with other people, they will never categorize one relationship or the other based on this.


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Where and when did it arise?

Although the exact place and time in which the relational anarchy began to be established is not clearly established, it is hypothesized that it is a current of thought derived or born within the polyamorous community .

In the year 2006, the Swedish author Andi Nordgren defined and explored this dynamics in relationships in a writing called Manifesto on Relational Anarchism. In it he explained, from his point of view, the principles for which relational anarchism was governed.

Principles of relational anarchism

As previously mentioned, the writer Andi Nordgren wrote a manifesto in which the bases or principles of relational anarchy were explained.

What these principles say is the following.

1. "We can love many people and each relationship is unique"

Relational anarchy considers love as something infinite and unlimited . For what is likely to be exchanged with more than one person, without this being harmful to anyone.

This current of thought defends the appreciation of each and every one of our relationships independently, without labels, hierarchy or comparisons.

2. "Love and respect instead of rights"

Another of the great principles that makes relational anarchism famous is the suppression of the idea that, in an intimate relationship, the two members have a series of rights over the other. That is, in all and any of the cases respect for the independence and self-determination of the other cousin about all things, including obviously the wishes or interests .

One of his star ideas in this manifesto is: "Love is more real when people engage simply because that is part of what is expected to happen."

3. "Let's find our basic set of values"

People have the right and the duty to develop their own map of personal values ​​and apply it in your links with other people , always from the consensus and the communication with the other.

A real relationship can not follow rules elaborated and imposed outside of the person, since each subject is different and has a different way of conceiving love.

4. "Heterosexuality is everywhere, but let's not let that scare us"

Broadly speaking, what this principle means is that even though our society and our culture push us to follow a certain direction as to who we should or should not love, we should not fear loving anyone regardless of sex or gender , since it is our right to decide it.

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5. "Spontaneity instead of obligation"

Anyone has the freedom to express their love spontaneously, without any type of binding or obligation , and following a sincere desire to know the other person.

6. "Let's imagine it until we get it"

Due to the influence of the society in which we live, it can be difficult to break with the traditional vision of love and relationships. To achieve this change, the author advises using the imagination.

According to this strategy, the person can imagine a situation in which he acts and responds as he wishes , and not as dictated by the rules. In this way it will be much easier to apply it to real life.

Another option is to seek the support of other people with the same ideas or in the same situation that facilitates this change or transition.

7. "Trust helps"

The person determined to integrate into relational anarchism must accept the idea that the people around you and those you love do not intend to harm you . If the person adopts a position of trust, instead of suspicion, doubt or suspicion, he will be able to maintain totally free relationships in which it will be much easier for him to let another person go if he so wishes.

8. "Let's change through communication"

In order to achieve all of the above, the communication between the people that form a link must be constant and sincere . Real relationships should revolve around communication, not talk about feelings only when problems appear.

9. "Design custom made commitments"

Finally, relational anarchy does not imply the suppression of commitment, but rather the opposite. It is based on in each link between people it becomes clear what commitment exists between both .

This current understands that there are different forms of commitments that do not have to be incompatible with certain behaviors or feelings, and encourages people to express explicitly what kind of commitment is desired with others.


Pearson Global Forum 2018 (January 2022).


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