Out On The Open Sea With Boats Without Owners

An introduction to Relationship Anarchy


In the movie “Shakespeare in Love” Shakespeare wins a bet by explaining what the essence of love is in a play. The romantic love between Shakespeare and Viola de Lesseps is intense, though brief. They talk with big words about how much love they feel for each other, it is the largest they have ever known, Shakespeare really can not write without it. It is the driving force in his life. Sure, I have felt this way sometimes, butterfly-covered frustration. But I think it would rather be confused with lust, a crush, than true deep love.

So what is the essence of love? Love, romantic love, is extremely important in today’s society. It rules over all other love. What’s supposedly romantic love has so many rules. One shall love each other, be twosome and prioritize and revolve your life around this other person. If they love someone else it means that there is no love for you anymore, as if love is something that is divided into pieces, and that there’s not enough cake for everyone. Being jealous is in our society a sign of love and care. The purpose of life is to find your soul mate, and as Platon said, we are not whole until we have found our second half. Love is the most amazing thing there is, at least that’s what we learn quickly through every film, book, newspaper and conversation.

And I doubt not, love is great. But I’m not sure if it is the romantic love that is the deepest and strongest, that is the most true. Romantic love is often based on illusion and dreams. True love for me is uncompromising. “The prerequisite for love is not wanting to have power – not wanting to own another” wrote Jens Bjørneboe. Only when you let go and let the other person live in the manner that is best for them, as they want, are you loving. Hencke in Hjalmar Söderberg’s “Pälsen” is onto the same idea. He sees that his wife loves another and accepts it, his love allows her the freedom to follow her heart. It’s also important to understand that jealousy has nothing to do with the other person. It is a feeling (a sometimes really strong feeling) made by insecurities and therefore the way to deal with them has nothing to do with the actions of the other person, but how you view the actions.

The fraud that romantic love is the highest I think means that many miss out on great love. People in love prioritize their partners over their friendships. How many times have you not had a friend disappear on you after finding a partner? The friendships I have are very deep and uncompromising. The friend is always there, we may disagree, but we keep in mind that we are independent individuals who do not own each other. In the tower of twosome the greatest is two people becoming one. On the meadows of friendship calves jump around in thick and thin, we never talk about “what we want in the relationship” because we are not uncertain about each other, we are there. If the other get a new friend, we are very happy for them, we are not jealous and think “but what about me, then you have no time for me!” as the stones of the rushing river barely moves for decades, friends are forever faithful and forgiving.


For me, the equality of my relationships is extremely important, all relationships are unique and can not follow a template for how they should be. I consider myself a relationship anarchist. I do not define my relations only by what we are, it is what we are doing together that is also important. I play in a band with this person, I live with this person, I am in love with this person, this person I have a huge crush on, this person I study with and occasionally have sex with, it’s super cool to go urban exploring with this person and no one makes me laugh like they do. Because a relation contains different people the relations have to be different. They have to be based on the people in the relation not the expectations of something similar to something you’ve had with someone else. Also relations, just like people, change, and having a strict definition on a relation makes it harder to break out of it. You have to “break-up” instead of it just changing into something else. I do not have a primary partner nor a best friend. I do not put my relations in a hierarchy. My love is no cake, it is the endless sea, the ocean of love.

This however does not mean that I do not have deep relations. It is not a way to distance myself from people in not being intimate and close to someone; in not having “someone special.” It is not something I use as an excuse to enable sleeping around and changing relations often to get a kick out of it. It is not something to be used as way to objectify and use others how I see fit. It’s anarchy, but it is not chaos. Close and deep relations is something I strive for. All my relations are something special to me. I take all my relations serious and try to be as respectful and affirmative as I possibly can, making sure that everyone is feeling good in our relation. Being communicative is key in keeping the people I am in relations feeling happy and secure. They know they can trust me and they can trust that I am being honest with them. And it’s important to be open to them being honest with me too. It’s also important to see that the relations I have with one person doesn’t have anything to do with another. The fact that I love one doesn’t mean that I do not love the other and how I feel about and what I do with someone does not change what I feel about and do with someone else.

Relationship Anarchy has made me feel better about myself and the way I interact with people. I always found it hard having crushes on several people at a time. This was not allowed in our binary partner system. It was wrong. You’re not supposed to want another fixation. I never understood why there were so many rules to everything. Finding others like minded people helped me a lot in breaking free from the world of twosomeness and into a world of liberated emotions and thoughts. As an anarchist it’s important to burn up all the rule books and make my own rules. Rules to live by and rules to love by.

Written by Ane Vegane, the author is a zinester, vegan straightedge queer punk and an illustrator involved in the DIY hardcore punk scene in both Norway and Sweden.

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