Dangerous Compassions

my problem with relationship anarchy

my problem with relationship anarchy

Hello, how are you doing?  I was thinking about my problem with relationship anarchy and wanted to explain.

You’d think I would like it.  I love relationships, and I’m an anarchist.  But no–I am not a relationship anarchist.  I’ve had friends who do relationship anarchy, and I read a manifesto some years ago.


Freedom is my favorite core value.  If I don’t have freedom, everything else fails.  I need to

  • do my life’s work
  • honor my ancestors by using the gifts they handed to me
  • love people
  • feel pleasure
  • connect with Parent Earth
  • enjoy this body and this human birth

If I can’t do that in a free way, obligation poisons it.

Simultaneously, I need relationship in order to enjoy connecting with people.  I get no thrill from anonymous encounters.  Intimacy is what I need relationship for, and what I need sex for.  Without love, touch is pointless–worse than pointless.  My soul is showing up for nothing.  My soul shows up, but it was a trick.


If I want an orgasm, I can do that on my own.  Sex is for intimacy-collaboration and doing something new.  If love isn’t there, it’s not worth it.

I’m not going to risk STIs, pregnancy, heartbreak, complete life upheaval, and possibly death for an hour of pleasure.  I say death because I’m disabled and crazy.  If someone hurts me badly enough that I’m so dysregulated I stop sleeping, that can lead to a manic episode, imprisonment in a psych hospital, hospital workers forcing non-consent psych drugs into me, and my life falling apart.

I work very hard to keep body with soul.  Handing over my health to anyone, including hospital persons, doesn’t work.  I eat, sleep, move my body, spend my time, and do everything in a just so way, so I can survive.  No one else can comprehend that, let alone do that for me.

You could say I’m the opposite of casual.  I feel big feelings and pay a lot of attention.  Most people are not able to process the amount of words I share.  Some people want to show up for the easy parts of me and eschew the hard parts.  They are not my people.  I can do certain things with them, and that’s fine.  But the people who get the deepest parts of me are few.

Probably everyone’s like that, right?  Who gets the deepest parts of you?  I’m sorry if I’m explaining the obvious.  I don’t fuck around, is what I’m trying to say.  Integrity and responsibility are crucial for my survival.


Ming and I have some openness to our relationship–I’m sure you’ve noticed.  The other day in a post I mentioned my girlfriend.  Being close to different people in different ways is part of life.  Ming and I are honest with each other about it.  Works way better than trying to lock my heart or lying about it.

Ming and I are deeply connected, bonded, and inter-dependent.  I’m not going to do anything to endanger my relationship with him or to seriously endanger his happiness.  Just like my well-being is somewhat fragile and contingent on certain behaviors and foods and bodily movement, Ming’s well-being is particular too.  He needs a particular type of stability, and his is compatible with mine.

Getting supper attached to just anyone for kicks is not conducive to our survival.  Ming doesn’t fuck around either.

Not saying all people who do polyamory are fucking around.  I’ve seen folx with clear guidelines and parameters.  The polycule’s google calendar, set date nights, long term plans.  That’s fine.  I’ve wanted a larger family for a long time.


But often I see polyam people with a dysfunctional marriage trying to outsource parts, dating haphazardly, and dragging semi-innocent people through the mud as they figure shit out, poorly, for years.

Oops, this is the part where I’m getting angry.  The dragging semi-innocent people through the mud for years is a nasty form of entitlement.  Who thinks they can do that to people?  Who wields their trauma like that, such a grand excuse to harm so many?

And why do countless big-hearted givers like me allow ourselves to be used like that?  I’m sorry I ever confused being long-term abused with love.


Not saying everyone needs to have life figured out before they date.  Just maybe have some basics in place before you put four girlfriends and enbyfriends through a load of pain–neglecting them, lying to them, and breaking their hearts over and over again.

This is a shitshow I was watching recently–pass the popcorn!  No.  No amount of dick plus good looking charm is worth that.  You’re not allowed to do that to people.  Your trauma is not an excuse to destroy others.

Being polyam because you’re wired that way and willing to do the work to be fair and kind with multiple people is cool.  Go you, having an excess of communication and scheduling skills.  Being polyam because you’re broken and looking for all the types of glue is totally messed up.

You’re not going to find the right glue to stick you back together.  Stop fucking with people’s lives and be real about who you are.  Try new kinds of therapy, retreat to the woods, adopt a cat…?  Or just be honest about what you’re really doing.  Deceiving people into thinking you’re responsible is Bullshit.

my problem with relationship anarchy

Ok, I am trying to get to my point now.  Thank you if you have stuck with me thus far.

Relationship anarchy doesn’t seem to recognize my family.  Ming will always be my priority, as long as I’m blessed to have a family with him.  I will interdepend with him as long as we both shall live, if we can remain happy.  And I work hard to stay happy with him.

My deep respect of Ming means that any relationships I have, he knows the tea as soon as I do.  He knows my heart: who matters to me, what I did with who, how I feel about it, how it’s affecting my health, what my intentions are, what my shadow intentions are–the whole truth.  Most people are not going to share all that with another person.  I’d say most people don’t even know themselves well enough to be able to do all that if they wanted to.

Responsible relationships require a level of self-awareness that most people don’t even have.  Anesthetizing ourselves with multiple distractions and wasting 40+ hours a week on paid work, who even has the time for self-awareness?  I’m sorry we created a failed culture–I’m working on healing it.  But it takes a while.


My problem with relationship anarchy is it says to prioritize people in the moment, not roles.  But this person Ming, in the role of family member, is everything to me.  We share years and moments.  Sure I can get enchanted with others, and my body longs for comforts and pleasures with other bodies, for sure.  I have multiple responsibilities to multiple people.

But my survival and Ming’s are tied in with who else we choose and how.  If you are not disabled and can flit through life unconnected and minimally supported, I can’t relate to you.  Please count your blessings, and make sure you’re being honest about who you’re depending on and how.


Relationships are made of expectations.  I expect consent, clarity, honesty, communication, and some amount of responsibility.  Lots of people want to pretend they’re not doing what they’re doing.  That’s not ok with me–I won’t participate in that.

If I’m keeping someone alive, for example, I prefer to be treated as valuable and important.  Somehow, let me in.  If you don’t want to consider me, don’t let me keep you alive.

We need each other–we need all sorts of things from one another.  That’s relationship.  It’s not wrong–it’s how to live.  I don’t want to meet society’s expectations–I want to meet my own expectations, and Ming’s, and at least a few expectations of my girlfriend and my closest friends.  It’s a joy–I’m free to do that.  Thank goodness.


True freedom is in honesty.  It’s not really free, to be emotionally chained to assholes who use people with deception and fuckery.  Great–you got free of a traditional role of marriage.  But if you leave traditional marriage and step right into other violence, you didn’t get very far.

Consent is only possible with honesty.  Without honesty, relationships are shot through with violence.  I won’t do violent relationships anymore.

Honestly, I need Ming.  If he gets together with a low-skills charming ass who’s trying to use him, that affects me deeply.  Or if I get together with a selfish player who sucks me dry and drains our bank accounts, Ming feels that.  How could he not?  Everything I do affects him.

And Ming’s giving me a ride!  I don’t drive!  He sees it happening right in front of him.  Poor dear.  I’m sorry for mistakes I’ve made, and grateful Ming has picked me up off the floor, after I’ve made them.

thank you

Wow–writing doesn’t usually give me a panic attack.  I guess I really needed to say these things.  Thank you for holding my hand through the computer, dear reader friend.

I’m done pretending that relationship styles are the solution.  My problem with relationship anarchy is it’s used as an excuse not to be there for people.  I’m going to be there for people.

This morning I think honesty is the solution.  Honesty is the only way we can do consent, and consent is the only way we can avoid violence.  That’s what I need and what Ming needs also.  Bunny too.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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