Build for the Lovely Unexpected
Today’s post is titled after a tenet of the Relationship Anarchist manifesto. It’s an idea that I try to have guide all my human interactions, but I find is especially useful when considering romantic, sexual, or kink relationships. Building for the lovely unexpected, to Andie Nordgren, means setting up relationships to include space for spontaneity, and to “Organize based on a wish to meet and explore each other — not on duties and demands and disappointment when they are not met.” For those of us who like to construct our relationships largely off the relationship escalator, this is key to happiness in those relationships. Relationships based more in joyful, playful exploration of each others’ minds and bodies than in a strict schedule or set of responsibilities give us the freedom to seek deeply into our partners and give deeply of ourselves - regardless of how a relationship is formally labelled or defined.
This isn’t to say that relationships with a large number of shared responsibilities lack some part of this depth - but it does suggest that keeping space in those relationships for spontaneous time and action, for interest in each others’ small moments and joys and pains, keeps the energy and love highest in those relationships. Building in that space for the moments of “lovely unexpected” (even if it is sometimes bittersweet unexpected) is how we reach and maintain vulnerability with our partners. This structure, this holding space for each others’ moments and the ones we can make together, is part of what makes non-hierarchical forms of polyamory and consensual nonmonogamy possible.
There is ‘lovely unexpected’ in every kink scene where one or both partners ‘get spacey;’ there also is in the ones where neither do but the aftercare is honest and raw and you open up with one another. There is ‘lovely unexpected’ when the partner you don’t nest with calls and asks if you are free to go for a hike this afternoon, and still more if you CAN and build memories on a foggy hilltop, boots caked in mud. There is so much lovely unexpected when someone feels safe enough to drop an old wall with you, when you see behind the guided tour of their life and into the rooms still being renovated. When you come home and your nesting partner and coparent says ‘the kids are at grandma’s, I made your favorite dinner;’ they have laid the lovely unexpected on a platter, and all you did was make yourself a safe space for each of these relationships, and provide the equivalent moments in return on different days.
Sometimes the lovely unexpected is in the calendar - so many of us would drown without those calendars - but it’s the content and the moments and the decision to stay up until a witching hour baring our souls to one another that couldn’t be foreseen; and sometimes, it’s literal “there are two days free that someone might claim or might not, space for the unplanned to occur.” Either way, it is that we open ourselves and our relationships to these possibilities. We organize our relationships on a desire to explore each other, and are rewarded with the benefits of the lovely unexpected.
We can do this with our friends as well (but I, personally, am bad at this and slow to be vulnerable unless I trick myself into it - so I manage it best with friends with benefits and kink play partners, outside of romantic interests). We can deeply know people, and let them deeply know us, by leaving room in our lives for spontaneity and avoiding duties and demands as the driving force behind our interactions.
Thank you for your patience during my summer vacation. I’m back to posting here now and the podcast will return this week.
You can find the podcast at readyforpolyamory.fireside.fm, you can join us on facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/readyforpolyamory, follow on Twitter @lauracb88 & instagram @readyforpolyamory, and if you'd like to support us financially we're on Patreon at www.patreon.com/readyforpolyamory and ko-fi at ko-fi.com/readyforpolyamory.