L sits on the couch playing a video game. I watch for a while as they try and pick butterflies out of the air then fight off a wolf pack by shooting flames from their lizard character’s hands. This is pretty standard. It’s a staple game in our house. My goal in the game is to get my character married to the same guy he was married to in a previous version of the game that we upgraded from. The only problem is I don’t remember where I found the guy in the first place… some Inn somewhere. I guess until then I will just do the quests they want you to do in the game.
We – the trio that is- have been talking on and off about an interesting topic. Generally the conversations flow in and around the ideas of Relationship Anarchy and monogamy generally. While L sells off the wolf pelts to fund their house building project in the game- I ask them if they would answer some questions.
“i can answer some questions, yeah.”
My first question, “What is RA to you.” By RA I mean Relationship Anarchy.
“the idea that relationships are not hierarchical,” they say, their tone casual and almost final but, they go on to define hierarchical. “in the sense that, your romantic relationship is primary and all other relationships are secondary.”
They elaborate that in RA, “ all relationships have the ability to develop and can be anything that they want to be. It just depends on what the two people agree on.”
“And this is the relationship style you ascribe to yourself?”
“yes, in a way,” they offer in their cryptic way.
“What does ‘in a way’ mean?”
“i call it ra but it might not be what other people call ra.”
As I type L works meticulously to build their video game house. My typing is coupled by the sound of a carpenter hammer banging. A while ago they said they were going to try to marry someone in the game, but they had to build a house first. I don’t plan on building a house in the game, I am just gonna buy one.
“What do you think other people think RA is?” I continue.
“i think they think of it in terms of just romantic relationships and not necessarily apply it to all human relationships. But that is just my experiences.” They pause to build a chair and a chest of drawers then add, “yeah i just… i don’t have any expectations, when i meet a person, for what our relationships will be and i let them develop. i don’t pursue specific types of relationships, i just let them form as they will.”
Well, doesn’t that sound freeing? It makes sense in that regard, why having a friendship with L is pretty simplistic. The whole thing comes with an “it is what it is” attitude and that is a whole lot easier to work with than “be who I expect you to be.” I know some people would be afraid of that but as L explained, both people agree to the relationship.
“So you are never out seeking another partner.”
“But you would entertain the idea of another partner.”
“…But that person can be whatever they essentially end up being to you?”
“yeah, but it’s whatever we agree on.”
See: it is what it is.
I watch as their game character sneaks into a cave, presumably to torch who ever is inside and get a quest finished… or started… but who knows because they spend awhile just sifting through the chests, barrels, and tables.
“So in having no other romantic partners would you consider yourself monogamous or polyamorous?”
“um… i consider myself non monogamous- i am not monogamous but i don’t believe i am poly.”
Spectrums! What can you do about it? E thinks it’s not so much ‘spectrums’ as ‘webs’ but I draw the line (no pun intended) at the ‘calc two’ level of social dissection while E- and sometimes L- like to get a little ‘quantum.’
The game freezes mid flames so naturally the new background to my typing and our conversation becomes The Office.
I ask, “Some in the community would say that “poly” doesn’t work unless everyone in the poly-gon is in more than one relationship. And I guess, effectively, they are saying that if you don’t date someone else and I don’t date someone else we are just mono-poly. Which they believe to be a structure that does not work. What would you say to those people?”
We laugh. I asked this because people in a poly discussion group have actually warned others in the group to not take on a partner who does not have or doesn’t pursue other relationships. I think that is crap.
L says, “it just depends on the personality of the people involved, and what they want, and what they need.”
“What do you think we have that they don’t?” I mean we are doing great so far and we have seen or heard of other poly-gons that don’t exist anymore.
“um well… we have the hinge person who is an extremely attentive and exceptional partner. the second thing is that I feel like all of us are just … the words are emotionally mature. And also, I just feel- at least for me, i don’t typically define myself based on my romantic partnerships. That is not something that is the most important.”
I guess that sums it up. In an RA way, L doesn’t rank relationships. I have seen them talk about their friendships with more enthusiasm than some people talk about their partners. And theirs are pretty long lasting relationships. We- the trio- have concluded that the people in the poly discussion group might put their romantic relationships first. I won’t say anymore about that *sips tea.*
It is what it is.
D and L