Before I found out about polyamory and relationship anarchy, I didn’t feel the need to impose any kind of rules on any relationship, including the sexual kind. Quite simply, I would make friends with those I was compatible with and I would couple up with those I was compatible with.
I saw none of those relationships as lasting forever, but simply as long as we were compatible. Sometimes, this would be longer, sometimes shorter, sometimes strongly dependent on situation.
Unless someone did something specifically to the detriment of another, or reacted specifically to undermine another, I didn’t consider the relationship as a failure. That has happened quite rarely.
Nowadays, my attitude has not changed that much. I’m a bit more loose with my definition of failure, so I see my own growth despite some bad relationships as a positive thing, which cannot be a failure for me since I have grown and matured.
On the other hand, there are occasions that I remember clearly even today where I had made a conscious decision not to pursue a relationship due to expected behavior. Those I now consider to be failures, where I did not before. This is because I specifically locked myself out of growth and experience merely due to what others might think of me. These days, I think that this is one of the worst things that I can do to myself.
Firstly, the fear of what others might think of me is simply a projection of my fears on to them. This robs me of acknowledging my own fears and gives away the power to do something about it. It is totally irrelevant whether they would really think that of me or not. “They” is not a human. “They” is not real. Every person is individual and different with different opinions. “They” is just an amorphous, nameless, faceless blob that does not really exist.
Secondly, I have denied myself a relationship that could have been mutually beneficial and productive. Today, this strikes me as a similar attitude to some backpackers I have met that only eat at McDonalds because they know what they are going to get. Sure! But they miss out on the potential to discover something new and exciting, something possibly better to their taste. Instead, they opt for known drudgery simply because it is known. How boring!
Thirdly, I have denied others a relationship with me. I don’t consider myself “god’s gift” or anything like that, but I do have unique experiences that may have benefitted the others. I am not separate from this world. As much as it influences me, I also influence it. By blocking these interactions, I have also blocked myself from influencing the world around me and sharing what I have learned from others.
That is why I quickly came across solo polyamory, then singleish and relationship anarchy once I’d found out about polyamory. The concepts behind each spoke deep within me and with each discovery, I found links to another philosophy that spoke even deeper within me.
I now consider myself and consciously take on the label of “singleish” because it resonates the deepest with me. At the moment, I cannot conceive of another philosophy that is an even better match, but I am open to discovering one.
So what rules do I have for a relationship?
1. If I think a relationship would be good for the both of us, I will encourage it.
2. If I think a relationship would be bad for both of us, I will discourage it.