Relationship Models for the 21st Century

Marcia Baczynski #cconrelationship CatalystCon East, Sunday March 17, 2013


  1. It’s no secret that more and more people are moving beyond the “traditional” monogamous relationship model. What might be surprising to some is that many people are also moving beyond even a primary/secondary model of non-monogamy at an ever-increasing rate. These shifts can be tied to the economic downturn, the structure of immigration law, inconsistencies in recognition of same-sex marriages and ever more fluid understandings of sexuality. These factors and more affect how individuals perceive the relationship options available to them, and the choices they make for how to relate to others in their romantic, sexual, economic and domestic spheres. While individuals, couples and groups are making their way in the world, it can be helpful for us to gain an understanding of how these relationships can work.

    Whether the structures themselves are wildly creative, idealistic, grounded, practical, or drearily pragmatic, each of them creates new opportunities for what is possible in relationship. In this session, I will present examples of unusual relationship structures that are being practiced in the real world, including information about how these structures evolved for the people involved, the needs these new models meet, and problems they solve. We’ll explore the emerging vocabulary for talking about these kinds of unconventional relationships, and how simply acknowledging the existence of such relationships begins to break down inherent hegemonic patriarchal structures, and open up yet more possibilities for relating.