This isn’t a brand new idea, by any means—folks in poly and non-monogamous relationships have been speaking about it on-line for years. However the time period could be a useful framework for these keen on exploring having a number of companions who’ve by no means finished so earlier than. Right here’s what it’s worthwhile to know.
What’s an anchor accomplice?
Because it seems, an “anchor accomplice” is what you would possibly guess: a central accomplice to lean on, however not essentially the one accomplice you could have. “Normally, this seems much like what folks consider a partnership in a monogamous relationship—simply not monogamous,” says Rachel Wright, MA, LMFT, a relationship therapist in a polyamorous relationship.
Anchor companions aren’t one-size-fits-all. To begin, anchor companions can exist in hierarchical polyamorous relationships (the place one relationship is extra vital to an individual than their others) and non-hierarchical ones (the place all partnerships are equally vital), Wright shares. “In each instances, it’s a accomplice who’s an ‘anchor’ in a single’s life—the primary character except for self, one might say,” she says. “In hierarchical non-monogamy, that is nearly synonymous with the time period ‘main accomplice.’ In non-hierarchical non-monogamy, that is used because the equal of a main accomplice.”
Whereas somebody could be married to their anchor accomplice, marriage isn’t a requirement per se. Neither resides collectively. “The anchor accomplice could be the ‘nesting accomplice,’ or a roommate or a partner, however doesn’t essentially should be,” says Tammy Nelson, PhD, a intercourse and relationships therapist and writer who’s studied polyamory.
You can too have a couple of anchor accomplice, in order for you. Roy Graff, a relationship and life coach, has two. “Being with two companions for the previous 4 years is one thing that simply occurred; I didn’t plan for it, however I knew that I don’t imagine in a proper hierarchy that prioritizes one accomplice over others.”
Learn how to know if having an anchor accomplice is best for you
In the event you’re new to this time period or haven’t had this type of relationship earlier than, you could marvel if it’s one thing you’d like—possibly much more than the connection construction you’re in now.
Wright believes all of it comes all the way down to desire and the way you’re wired. “Some of us really feel safer by having an anchor accomplice, somebody they share life with,” she says, “whereas some desire solo non-monogamy/polyamory the place the anchor accomplice is themselves.”
It’s additionally a good suggestion to contemplate the large image of what you need your life to appear like. “Not everybody has a main relationship or wants or needs a central individual, and will desire a non-hierarchical construction to their non-monogamy,” Dr. Nelson says. “But, they might additionally wish to have somebody concerned of their each day life, with whom they’ve a powerful emotional bond and a possible future.”
Amy Norton, a polyamorous lady in her 30s, has an anchor accomplice, and right here’s why: “I’ve at all times valued long-term, dedicated relationships and knew I wished somebody who can be ‘my individual’ by means of thick and skinny,” she says. “We reside collectively and are constructing a life collectively—sharing funds, making huge choices collectively, co-parenting our pets, all these regular day-to-day issues.”
Graff says your attachment fashion can also play a job in whether or not or not you’d need an anchor accomplice. For instance, polyamorous individuals who have an insecure attachment fashion (which means that they’re typically codependent and worry abandonment) could desire having an anchor accomplice. It’s your decision a way of emotional security from a accomplice, or you could desire it or be okay with it coming from one other individual. “An anchor doesn’t should be a romantic and/or sexual accomplice; they will also be a buddy or member of the family,” Graff provides.
Rae Michaelson, a psychological well being and mindset coach, finds consolation within the emotional intimacy and security her anchor brings. “For us, the anchor is our secure individual, the one who’s at all times there it doesn’t matter what,” she says. “We’re collectively as a rule, and we share love with one another, and we guarantee that the additional companions are treating the opposite individual with the respect and love they deserve.”
Your expertise may also look completely different from another person’s relying in your present and previous relationship statuses. “In the event you’re most used to monogamous relationships, it’s going to really feel much more acquainted to have an anchor accomplice and have the 2 of you go off and discover from that house base,” Wright says. “In the event you’re in an present monogamous relationship and wish to ‘open it’ to non-monogamy, you inherently have an anchor accomplice. And in case you’re ranging from a spot of being single, you get to determine if you wish to search for somebody to be your anchor accomplice or check out solo non-monogamy/polyamory.”
Whereas understanding what having an anchor accomplice entails is usually a nice start line, attempt to not let your self be confined by definitions, labels, and packing containers. In the end, the purpose is to have a relationship that’s significant and constructive for you and your accomplice(s)—and what that appears like could change over time.
“We every create our personal forms of monogamy, open to the whole lot or conventional and closed, relying on what works for us, at completely different occasions in our lives,” Dr. Nelson says. “It’s by no means useful to check ourselves or to attempt to match into pre-defined containers. What issues is that you just discover what works for you.”