Most people assume that healthy or serious relationships which involve romance and sex are supposed to follow these steps: from attraction and dating, through exclusivity and living together, to marriage that ideally lasts a lifetime. That's what's called the traditional "Relationship Escalator."
However, there are plenty of other great ways to do relationships. Options that don't involve lying, cheating, affairs, infidelity, avoiding dating or relationships, swearing off sex or love, or not being true to yourself or others.
The “Relationship Escalator” is the traditional bundle of social norms for intimate relationships: monogamy, cohabitation and much more, ideally until death do you part. Beyond this, it might not be obvious what other options exist.
WHO SHOULD READ THIS BOOK:
This book is a fun, intriguing introduction, practical to less-common relationship options.
If you want to explore unconventional relationships, or simply to understand your options, you'll find guidance here.
If you want to help people you know understand relationships that don't follow the norm, this is a friendly starting point for mainstream readers.
WHY THIS BOOK IS WORTH READING:
This isn't just one person's opinion. Journalist Amy Gahran surveyed 1500 people about their unconventional intimate relationships: how those relationships work and feel. They shared moving, in-depth personal stories and insights. More than 300 people are quoted in this nonfiction book.
"Stepping Off the Relationship Escalator" showcases real-life experiences of:
- Consensual nonmonogamy: Polyamory, swinging, open relationships or being monogamish.
- Going solo: Choosing to live alone (or at least not with intimate partners), to not surrender individuality to couplehood, or to remain single by choice.
- Avoiding hierarchy: Not prioritizing a particular adult relationship by default, simply because it includes sex/romance or started first.
- Asexual and aromantic love, which emphasize forms of intimacy and bonding that our society often discounts.
- Relationship anarchy: Where all aspects of a relationship are based on negotiation and consent.
- Valuing relationships that often get discounted: Ones that don't feel very intense, continue without interruption, or last forever.
The Relationship Escalator is a fine choice. It works well for many people! And: relationships are always a choice. Isn't it better to make important choices consciously, with awareness of options -- rather than by default?
More information about this ongoing project, and future books in this series: OffEscalator.com