Relationship Anarchy (abbreviated RA) is the belief that relationships should not be bound by set rules, aside from the rules the individuals involved mutually agree upon. It is based on the rejection of the traditional power structure that is the norm in our society. Relationship anarchists say that there does not need to be a formal distinction between different types of relationships (platonic, romantic, etc.) Instead, they look at each relationship individually. Relationship anarchists do not feel a need to categorize relationships according to societal norms such as "just friends", "in a relationship", "in an open relationship", or other traditional/stereotypical relationships.
Relationship anarchy is related to things such as polyamory and sensualarian. Relationship anarchy started within the polyamorous community; however, relationship anarchy has developed into it's own concept. Many relationship anarchist feel that polyamory doesn't fit them. Relationship anarchy does share an overall rejection of sexual and romantic monogamy with polyamory; however, RA also seeks to completely break down the amatonormative relationship hierarchy by erasing relationship categories determined by the presence or absence of sex and/or romance. Relationship anarchy advocates that all personal/intimate relationships start as equal, behaviorally and emotionally. With one’s relationships starting as a blank slate, the act of distributing physical intimacy, sexual intimacy, emotional intimacy, etc. is according to one’s desires rather than preexisting "rules" based on categories of relationship types. A relationship anarchist does not assign special value to a relationship because it includes sex, or to a relationship because it includes romance, that is if they even acknowledge romance as a distinct emotion or set of behaviors in the first place.
For these reasons relationship anarchy is also popular within the asexual and aromantic communities, particularly nonamorous aromantics, or aromantics who want relationships that don't fall into traditional "platonic" or "romantic" categories. Many asexuals and aromantics already have relationships that do not involve sex and/or romance and therefore are in a position to easily break down amatonormative relationship ideas.
The term relationship anarchy was coined by Andi Nordgren, through discussion on a blog they ran during the early 2000s. Andi also discusses relationship anarchy in Deborah Anapol’s book in 2010. It began as a subsection of the polyamorous community with roots in the free love movement of the 20th century, which in some forms rejects the idea of monogamous marriage, seeing it as a form of social and financial bondage.Relationship anarchy is the topic discussed in the bachelor theses of both Jacob Strandell and Ida Midnattssol, two Swedish sociologists. It was also discussed by Senior Open University lecturer Dr Meg-John Barker in a presentation in 2013.
The flag uses blue, red, black, and yellow, the same colors as the polyamory flag, but muted. The pi symbol is replaced by the relationship anarchy symbol; a heart with the anarchy A cut out of it.
An modified version of the RA flag was created by Fandom user VoidwyrmGaming. It has a a black corner similar to other anarchist flags.
- Anapol, Deborah. “Polyamory in the 21st Century: Love and Intimacy with Multiple Partners,” Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010.