Practicing Free Love
Valentine’s Day has arrived. Today, some liberty lovers are celebrating romance. There will be others who want to vomit at the idea of being in a relationship simply because they love the free and single life. Amongst the single will be people contemplating what makes for a sustainable relationship. No matter your relationship status, you should ask yourself, “What are the qualities of a loving relationship?”
But many today see a tradeoff between their relationship and their freedom. You may lose the freedom to hang out with your friends, to travel when and where you planned, to pursue your passions.
Meanwhile, living the single life for too long might mean that you are “too free-spirited” and will never be able to settle down. You won’t know how to be happy with another human being and die alone.
But for many liberty lovers, freedom is an important quality of a healthy, loving relationship. During the late 1800’s, the Free Love Movement left an important impression on the early libertarian movement. The free love movement should be important to liberty lovers of all kinds, whether or not they personally want to be in a monogamous or non-monogamous relationship. Perhaps we should reject these social constraints on how freeing or restricting a relationship can be. Perhaps it’s time we challenge traditional notions of romantic love.
Love comes in different varieties. A free individual chooses their relationship preferences instead of letting society determine how they go about their partnerships. Whether or not you pursue relationships with people of the same or another sex, it’s important to evaluate what kind of partnership(s) you are looking for.
If you’re someone like me, a free individual who is exhausted by fulfilling societal expectations about relationships, it might be time to try out a new relationship style. Here are some suggestions you may ponder to spice up your romantic life:
1. Communicative Monogamy or “Monogamish”
This is similar to traditional monogamy. Two people decide they want to be romantically and sexually exclusive to each other. However, monogamish couples acknowledge they will have sexual desires and/or romantic feelings towards people outside of their coupling. These feelings and desires are openly expressed to one another, but are never acted upon.
This type of relationship can create a sense of freedom even though both people are 100% committed to each other. A traditional monogamous relationship might create feelings of entrapment or inauthenticity as one has to ignore their natural human desires. Freedom comes into play when you can openly communicate these feelings while you stay true to the person you are with.
2. Open Relationships
Open relationships are the middle ground between monogamy and polyamory. Two people commit to each other romantically and sexually, yet it is understood that they can have encounters with other people. This type of relationship can easily be confused with several different types of polyamory, but it is important to note that open relationships are a form of non-monogamy and involves a certain amount of consent about the terms of the relationships.
Open relationships are also different from most polyamorous dynamics because it is understood that the open relationship is still the most valued and prioritized relationship for the two people involved. Open-relationships can work for liberty lovers because it offers the benefits having a long-term committed partnership, and some of the feelings of being single.
3. Consensual Polyamory
This relationship style challenges the social norm of being committed to only one partner at a given time. Consensual polyamory allows for each individual the freedom to explore relationships outside of a partnership. Each polyamorous relationship is different and its rules are determined by the needs of the people involved.
For instance, a polyamorous relationship may be between three people who are romantically and attracted to each other, or involve a primary partnership where both partners are free to have relationships outside of theirs. The list of how polyamory can be practiced is quite long. However, it is not a free-for-all where everyone gets to do whatever they want and be with whomever they want. Healthy polyamory is consensual and honest, and in that way helps cultivate a broader culture of consent and respect.
Polyamory can create a sense of freedom with all individuals involved since they create the rules of their relationship(s) and they can pursue multiple types of relationships at once.
4. Relationship Anarchy
In most kinds of relationships, individuals create a hierarchical structure of which relationships are most important to them. Someone who practices relationship anarchy doesn’t do this. This relationship style assumes that all relationships (family, friendships, partners, etc) should be viewed as equally important. Therefore, one is not valued over another. They may have multiple partners and lots of friends, but they do not prioritize certain relationships over others. Each connection is important to them.
This type of relationship can create a sense of freedom since the person does not have to decide on which relationships they value more. For them, different relationships are not zero-sum. Relationship anarchy allows for individuals to be free and present in every moment.
Love is in the air! Please keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with being in a loving, traditional relationship. But some people find traditionalism restricting and inauthentic. There are alternatives for those seeking more variety in their relationships. You have the freedom to choose what kind of love(s) you want to experience in this life. Peace, Love, & Liberty.