Last Winter I had a couple dates with someone who identified as a Relationship Anarchist. With identities it’s a good practice to ask the person about their identity rather than assuming I understand what that meant through a google search or what my friends tell me.
It made me examine for me what it means to love multiply. I like autonomy between dyads. (Every family is made up of several dyads.) In my experience my love for whoever my current partner has never affected my love for other folks in my life.
My practice of co-dependence and enmeshment resulted in me convincing myself of lies about how I felt about other people in order to manage egos and emotions in ways that weren’t healthy or honest.
One of the ways I’ve been healing from an emotionally abusive partnership is not being afraid of the truth. I convinced myself to ignore red flags because I was afraid of the truth. Now thanks to therapy and healing work I’m more confident experiencing the truth of connection, which has helped me know myself better.
I went on dates over several years with Ria. My love for her has only expanded as I have become the ages she was when we went on dates (11 year age difference). If someone is dead, do I no longer love them? Is it affected by who I currently love? My love for Ria endures and I’m not gonna downplay it to manage the ego of whoever I might date or partner with in the future.
My First Love was 25 years ago. While we no longer have an active romantic relationship, regardless of how our friendship has evolved, I haven’t lost any love for them. I deeply love them. I remember being engaged to my first fiance thinking about my First Love and feeling guilt for still carrying “in love feelings” I hadn’t transmuted. (Cue “Voice Inside My Head” by the Chicks.)
I would not feel guilt now. I recognize the multiplicity and complexity of the love I carry. I do not want a romantic partnership with my First Love though I desire to maintain a verdant relationship with them. I choose to no longer downplay the love I have for my First Love to manage the ego of whoever I might date or partner with in the future.
For me Relationship Anarchy is mostly about autonomy of love and connection. That’s beyond romantic love, too, because I value my friendships greatly and wouldn’t ever end a friendship because a partner manipulated me about doing it. I would still be willing to take into account the needs my future partners or dates want about communication about different connections, and manage my time priorities in ways that we find mutually supportive.
I’m over the white heteropatriarchy’s ideas of how I’m supposed to love and be loved.
I was a Roald Dahl girlie growing up* so understanding archetypes based in those narratives makes sense to me. I came up with this idea about the Relationship Great Glass Elevator that helps me understand how I want to love and be loved for however long I get on this floating rock in space this lifetime.
Willy Wonka: “This is the great glass Wonkavator.”
Grandpa Joe: “It’s an elevator.”
Willy Wonka: “It’s a Wonkavator. An elevator can only go up and down, but the Wonkavator can go sideways and slantways and longways and backways…”
Charlie: “And frontways?”
Willy Wonka: “…and squareways and front ways and any other ways that you can think of. ……”Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
An alternative to the traditional Relationship Escalator that has one direction and only one way of being in relationship by hitting milestones and commitments, instead each relationship has its independent intimacy, milestones and adventure.
A Great Glass Elevator can go all whichaways. Kinda like the sexuality and gender of most folks I’ve ever dated.
Relationships are more like rivers than we acknowledge. Even beyond romantic relationships, think about long term friendships. Sometimes rivers end up going over huge waterfalls and still continue on. Some have switchbacks, whirlpools, and some dry up entirely. And, I believe, all divine unions with cosmic chemistry have their origin in a fountain that was not made by the hands of men.
As I’ve transitioned from seeing dating as a means to partnership and seeing dating as present moment enjoyment, so much of how I see dates has changed. (My post on the distinction of dating vs courtship has more on this.)
When I’m dating someone I’m curious about how I am in that relationship, am I feeling the best parts of me amplified? Are things being triggered that are helping me grow? Am I experiencing old patterns in new ways or tired bullshit ways?
I have experienced love at first sight a few times, even though most of those instances it took a while for things to line up to actually develop “in love” feelings. I think of it now as intuitively I know “Oh, this person is in a Great Glass Elevator with me. I wonder where (or if) we will go anywhere?”
Some people use “Relationship Anarchy” as a way to create barriers for intimacy and protect their wounding. I am looking for people who want to dig into the rich soil of their existence and become great amplifiers for one another, whether for a little while or for a few different stops on the adventure of life.
While that person from January has proved to not be emotionally brave or emotionally mature enough for me at this point, the chemistry and intuition left me curious if in a few years that Great Glass Elevator might go someplace. Maybe we will see?
*I wanna acknowledge that Roald Dahl’s books are fatphobic and racist and problematic (and Roald Dahl was extremely anti-semitic, as written about in Time Magazine), so if you’re reading them with your kids be WITH them and help them understand how to think and talk about bodies and people. Rather than letting them be brainwashed into white supremacist heteropatriarchy they are going to have to suffer under until they unlearn.
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