No-Nonsense Non-Monogamy: How to avoid the relationship escalator

Author: Shrimp Teeth

Exploring queerness, polyamory, and sexuality

How to avoid the relationship escalator


It’s one thing to say that we’re relationship anarchists, it’s another thing to figure out how to manage our expectations so we don’t feel pressure to escalate relationships or conform to monogamous standards.


This work is in direct conflict with our cultural narratives that discredit and trivialize casual connections and pals who don’t meet all of our needs.

It can be easy to cease seeing the good qualities and wish to expand the connection even if it’s not ultimately right.


It can be a real challenge, especially when we catch feelings for our pals, to stay true to the intentions we have for the relationship.

Even if we go in wanting a casual relationship, many of us can’t stop from trying to become “more” after a bit of dating.


Suddenly we fall back into a compmono trap of trying to change our pals to fit a standard script and meet more needs than they are capable.

We become disappointed by incompatibilities that initially informed the way we wanted to relate.

Relationship anarchy is not easy. It’s hard to break cultural expectations, especially if you’ve only had traditional relationships in the past.

Many of us are able to initially recognize why we want an alternative structure (limited time, incompatibility, long-distance, etc) but get swept away by the escalator. It’s hard to remain grounded in our intentions when we start to develop stronger feelings.


Resisting the optimism that we could MAYBE actually form a more committed partnership takes a lot of self-confidence.

We need to see more casual relationships as equally valuable.


Sam is a sex educator and artist who explores queerness, polyamory, and sexuality through their work. She’s passionate about exploring ways to broaden relationship structures to foster more connections between people. They use art and illustration as part of their education process.

No Nonsense Non Monogamy is brought to you by GLUE.

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