Her NRE is intense

icesong

Moderator
Staff member
Hmm, I'm so confused as to how to describe myself then! It seems that many poly people tend towards relationship escalator type relationships. I thought that saying I am RA is way to avoid that and make for more genuine connections. But I also really thrive on commitment and having people "in my corner," so to speak. Should I just describe myself as non-hierarchal polyamorous then? Or RA with desire for commitment? 🙃

I don’t think that it’s impossible to have both a preference for commitment and an identification as a relationship anarchist. Mostly because, well, hi! That’s my preference and ID as well.

So relationship anarchy is, at its core, the belief that relationships have no expectations other than those agreed upon by the people in them - its a rejection of societal definitions. It’s also a rejection of the idea that one’s romantic partners have to be the most important people in one’s life, and an embracing of the idea that a relationship can contain exactly the components wanted between two people (the relationship smorgasbord is a convenient tool for that, if you haven’t seen it I’ll dig it out for you or you can search on the site, I think I’ve posted it a few times).

Nothing in any of this says that two people in a relationship can’t agree on an explicit level of commitment, communication, or constancy of contact, though it does say that if one’s desire for any of these things changes it’s not wrong and in fact intrinsically encouraged to have a conversation setting up those expectations. Some people see that kind of ageeement as limiting autonomy; I personally do not as long as it can be renegotiated at any time without penalty.

I mean, most people would agree that it would be a jackass move to agree to split rent with someone and then skip out on it without communication; not sure why agreeing to a certain level of communication and emotional depth to an LDR and not fulfilling that without explicitly saying “hey, I can’t (or don’t want to) do this in this way anymore, what do we agree this should look like instead?” is any less so.

I suppose there are those that would argue having to communicate is a limit on autonomy, but personally I think that’s the base minimum you owe other humans you have relationships with.

I think a more autonomous approach would be that Pam does what she does, you do what you do, and you both enjoy any overlapping activities and desires together. As they present. Therefore the future is not being pre-determined based on current actions.
I don't care how RA one is, one does not owe someone a future relationship if one does not like how one is being treated in the present. Everything involving Brad aside, the baseline of "we agreed on relationship X, what happened was actually Y, I don't want to try for X again" is a reasonable choice on @Open4love's part.
 

Open4love

Member
Nothing in any of this says that two people in a relationship can’t agree on an explicit level of commitment, communication, or constancy of contact, though it does say that if one’s desire for any of these things changes it’s not wrong and in fact intrinsically encouraged to have a conversation setting up those expectations. Some people see that kind of ageeement as limiting autonomy; I personally do not as long as it can be renegotiated at any time without penalty.
This is how I always thought RA functioned. At my core, I want authentic relating, not obligatory, and have always felt stifled in monogamous and poly relationships because my partners functioned on a relationship-escalator-without-communication level. And here I am doing the same damn thing now. 😆

Pam and I had a great talk yesterday and cleared a lot of things up. The primary reason we had trouble was because we hadn't clearly defined what we want the other to be in their life, and what we are both available for. I was operating off of major assumptions about our relationship that weren't in her awareness, and vice versa. Things feel really good now, and we've found a place where we can both be ourselves and remain connected.

All of your advice has helped immensely. So grateful for this forum! 🥰
 

Marcus

Well-known member
I was operating off of major assumptions about our relationship that weren't in her awareness, and vice versa.

If you skim through these boards you will find that this statement is at the core of many of the problems people have in relating. Too often we just kind of stumble into a relationship, never being explicit about what we want and comparing that to what they want. If it weren't for NRE I think most of us would catch this pretty early on and start immediately asking questions. Usually it seems that NRE has to wear off a bit for us to realize, "hang on, I don't think you want the same thing I do?!".

I'm stoked that you guys had a real conversation about your relationship. It is the perfect starting point for getting to know one another in a meaningful way.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
So relationship anarchy is, at its core, the belief that relationships have no expectations other than those agreed upon by the people in them - its a rejection of societal definitions. It’s also a rejection of the idea that one’s romantic partners have to be the most important people in one’s life, and an embracing of the idea that a relationship can contain exactly the components wanted between two people (the relationship smorgasbord is a convenient tool for that, if you haven’t seen it I’ll dig it out for you or you can search on the site, I think I’ve posted it a few times).

Nothing in any of this says that two people in a relationship can’t agree on an explicit level of commitment, communication, or constancy of contact, though it does say that if one’s desire for any of these things changes it’s not wrong and in fact intrinsically encouraged to have a conversation setting up those expectations. Some people see that kind of ageeement as limiting autonomy; I personally do not as long as it can be renegotiated at any time without penalty.

Regarding RA, I agree with your assessment and it seems to be the common/agreed upon definition. In truth, this description essentially states that literally any relationship configuration can be called RA.

Using that definition however, even monogamous relationships that in all ways that can be measured are strictly traditional following all of the societal guidelines for a relationship, can be called RA. "We don't follow 100% of the rules because society says so, we just follow 100% of the rules because it's what we want in our life". While it might not be incorrect to call this relationship RA, it also isn't a helpful description if clarity is what you're looking for.

I suggested stepping away from the RA label in this case because it was just muddying the waters.
 

Open4love

Member
Hmm, yeah, I don't want to confuse anyone! I wonder if "authentic relating with open communication and frequent renegotiation" can be a phrase that could help people better understand my desires in relationships. I do think in any connection I have, I'd always like there to be a strong sense of choice. The relationship I just ended back in November (see my other post in this forum) was fraught with this sense of the world ending if we broke up. And it did. For her. She wanted that forever romance. I was just happy to know that we finally had the courage to call out our incompatibility!
 

grant37

New member
I've started hearing this term... "Date your own species" It sounds to me like Pam may be learning this first hand.
 
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