The “Relationship Escalator” is the bundle of social conventions for intimate relationships: monogamy, living together and much more, ideally until death do you part. If you wish to explore a different way of loving, it’s not always obvious what your options are, or where those paths might lead.
Many people have stepped off the Relationship Escalator, to live and love in uncommon ways. In 2013-14, journalist Amy Gahran surveyed 1500 people about their unconventional intimate relationships: how those relationships work, how they feel, and why these people stepped off the Escalator. Participants shared moving, in-depth personal stories and insights. Over 330 individuals are quoted directly in this book (with permission).
"Stepping Off the Relationship Escalator" explores how unconventional relationships might look and work differently from traditional relationships. Gahran identifies five main ways that intimate partners can step off the traditional Relationship Escalator.
Off the Escalator, intimate relationships might be:
- Nonmonogamous: Sexual/romantic nonexclusivity, with all-around informed consent. Polyamory, swinging, monogamish relationships and more.
- Highly autonomous: Partners choose to not live together or otherwise prioritize their individuality over couplehood.
- Egalitarian: Not defaulting to giving one partner, or romantic/sexual partners in general, top priority.
- Nonsexual: Asexual people, and others, enjoy deeply intimate, committed relationships that never include a sexual connection.
- Fluid or discontinuous: Sometimes intimacy is pause/play, or significantly shifts form, without a breakup or ending.
This book aims to foster awareness and acceptance of relationship choice; to empower people to speak up for what they might want and find more ways to let love flourish. To not assume that love must look a particular way for it to be valuable and meaningful. At a point in history when divisiveness can seem overwhelming, finding more ways to connect with love can help us sustaining each other through tense times.
This book is the first in a series. At least two more Off the Escalator books are currently in production:
- (2017) What’s It Like Off the Escalator? 10 Common Questions About Unconventional Relationships
- (2018) Off the Escalator, in the Closet: Navigating Stigma Against Unconventional Relationships
More information about this ongoing project: OffEscalator.com