The ‘Polyamorous Relationship Escalator’ — an essay.

It features a one-way progression to the presumed goal of lifelong monogamous love and family

A black and white photo shows a twin set of escalators, with a hetero-presenting couple on the left, about to kiss.
Photo entitled ‘love on an escalator’, taken MAS Museum, Antwerp, 2019, by Koen Jacobs

…the relationship escalator is the series of expectations that pace and shape ‘appropriate’ relationships….anything that does not follow this is escalator is assumed ‘broken’, ‘failed’ or ‘a waste of time’.

The original author, Amy Gahran, used this metaphor to describe how one might step off of this escalator, publishing a book called ‘Stepping Off the Relationship Escalator: Uncommon Love and Life’ in 2017 (available here). In becoming aware of it, we can choose whether or not this escalator is for us, and can use it to negotiate the pace or place of our relationships. When twinned with polyamory — a philosophy and practice that allows multiple loving relationships — there seemed much hope that we could ‘break’ with a monogamous-oriented relationship escalator in our modern romantic relationships, and enter a world of designer, custom-created and ever-flexible relationships which would better suit our individual lives.

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Claire Louise Travers

Claire Louise Travers

Claire Louise Travers is a writer, podcaster, and humanitarian aid worker. She writes on Medium about polyamory, ethical aid, and international development