Dangerous Compassions

my actual problem with relationship anarchy

Hello–how are you doing, reader?  I wrote that post about relationship anarchy the other day and worked hard to state my problem with it.  I came up with a few ideas: relationship anarchy doesn’t recognize my family.  It’s used as an excuse not to be there for people.  It’s another hierarchy.  But somehow I missed explaining my actual problem with relationship anarchy.

My actual problem with relationship anarchy is it’s asking me to pretend that I’m not allowed to have any say over another person.  I’m not going to pretend that.  In relationships, we do have a lil bit of control, if we’re close and doing something significant long term.

What we do affects the other person.  Hopefully the small amount of control we have is easy, balanced, cautious, and minimally intrusive.


What’s the difference between asking for what I need, and trying to control another person?  That can be confusing.  If my needs are harsh and don’t go along with your needs, that can be a bad scene.  That’s why we need to have a lot in common, before jumping into something close and intense.  Common ground for how we do relationship and what we want is vital.

The beginning part of relationship is so difficult–I hate the ups and downs.  Often I wish I could skip to the middle.  Or I just want to close my eyes and believe everything will be ok.  That’s not actually a good strategy.

“It wasn’t easy with you, at the beginning,” I’ve told Ming.  “I’m glad I stuck with you.”

Yes, some people, we can work out differences and create a place together that’s meaningful and safe.  Other people are not into it, not doing the work, lying about what they really want, or clueless.  I saw a meme about polyam that made me laugh.  It had a drawing of a white guy and said Polyamory: because it takes a village to raise this idiot.

Too true.  ENM can be many things.  Supportive femmes keeping a clueless, irresponsible dude on task is often part of it.


When I see Ming is going to make a big mistake, I ask him not to.  My actual problem with relationship anarchy is it says I’m not supposed to stop him.

You could blame me for not having the resilience to endure the failed experiments of people I’m very close to.  But there’s a reason I lack resilience: it’s the people in my childhood and youth who violenced and violated me, leading to my ACE score of 9.  That trauma plus my unique biology means I’m never going to be a fully functional well person who can live with intense adversity.

I didn’t choose my sensitivity.  Healing my trauma is something I work on every day, but I’ll never be done.  My nervous system has a baseline I can’t reset.  I don’t think that’s a necessarily a problem, but it is a challenge.

The irony here is that my ACE score of 9 came about as a result of bad behavior of abusers.  If someone was watching out, stepping in, and advising my caregivers skillfully, maybe some of that could have been avoided.  I wish.


Narcolepsy and other disabilities are so much work.  Nobody knows what really happens in a family except the people in the family.  When I explain how much work it is just for Ming to get his medication, some people might understand.  But most people have no idea.

Disability is energy sucking–the disability itself, but also managing all the ways our culture is fucking us over medically, plus socially, for being disabled.  We need disability justice, stat!

The only thing I know of more energy sucking than disability is being abused.  Being abused takes hours and hours per day, so much mental gymnastics to justify.  And so much work to keep re-building the sandcastle all night that someone else is kicking down every day.

Well, poverty is pretty bad too.  All this to say I can’t afford to be abused anymore, and Ming can’t either.  So I’m going to speak up if I see one of us walking into a trap, and I’m not making up that being social is full of traps.


There was a big detailed example at the middle of this post that felt too vulnerable, so I removed it.  Maybe this post is incomprehensible now.

If so, sorry about that.  But hopefully you enjoy this art I made of my friend’s van.


Thank you for showing up to hear about my actual problem with relationship anarchy.  I hope you can find ways of getting what you need outside of toxic monogamy.  Whatever relationship styles you choose, I hope you have integrity and are joyful.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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