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-   -   Primary, secondary...CONFUSED! (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12079)

nouryia 07-11-2011 07:30 PM

Primary, secondary...CONFUSED!

Any feedback would be appreciated as I'm new to polyamory...

Here is some background first. I'm a female, mid-thirties and have been pretty much monogamous until spring of last year. Hubby, who is bisexual started a friend w/benefit with another bi male who is in a happy, stable triad with another male and female partner. We opened up our marriage after much thought, because I didn't want to deny my husband half of his sexuality.

Fast forward a bit to the fall of 2010: I also became involved with the new friend. We started out with occasional 3somes with my husband and it progressed to him and I also spending time alone. And somehow, we fell in love. Hubby took in a little hard at first but we've talked a lot and he is much more secure now. The friend's wife and I also play on occasion and we all get along really well, we've met each other's kids...the whole thing feels like a great extended family affair.

Now the CONFUSION. Technically speaking, hubby is my primary partner and fwb is secondary. At least in terms of time spent together and life commitment. However, as things progress, I find myself having VERY strong feelings of attachment to our friend and I see those feelings being reciprocated. He's told me that he doesn't consider me a secondary partner in terms of emotional involvement at all. I worry that the strength of our feelings might be somewhat detrimental to our primary relationships and that I'm (we are) becoming too attached. How do I keep it all together? I'm scared of messing up!

Confused in Canada.

redpepper 07-11-2011 08:17 PM

Try doing a search in the tags for "secondaries" or "primary" or the like here and many conversations will come up.

Generally speaking, primary/secondary for most established poly tribes is more about financial commitments, children, shared assets and time. Partners quite often become equally loved for different reasons. You are in good company with that. Sex partners for casual sex are quite often secondary or just seen as good times and the sex being about sport. Love to me and it seems most poly people, is always primary.

For me? I try and keep myself primary and put my self first. I think self love is the most important, everyone and everything is secondary. That doesn't mean I'm egotistical, just aware of my self and my needs as being priority. I keep in mind that my needs also require that I have to be considerate/compassionate/empathetic and be a good team member or no one will want to be around me.

nouryia 07-11-2011 08:27 PM

Thank-you, I will search the forum as suggested. Since I kind of fell into polyamory by accident (me finding love was never the intent), I truly do not know where it's all headed, hence the confusion. Glad to hear that a secondary partner can be loved equally, I felt kind of guilty about loving this new person so much, like I somehow owed more love to my husband or something.

nycindie 07-11-2011 09:44 PM

You can throw away all the labels and just... simply... love. :)

Chimera 07-11-2011 09:49 PM


Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 91252)
You can throw away all the labels and just... simply... love. :)


Hierarchical language doesn't work for me at all (primary/secondary), I don't want to rank things, even if they are distinct. I do end up using different words for people -- my long-term partner is my partner, then any combination of boyfriend/girlfriend or most often "sweetie."

River 07-11-2011 10:18 PM


Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 91252)
You can throw away all the labels and just... simply... love. :)

I'll echo that!:)

And I do think self-love is essential to loving others well, crucial.

Still, I'm no longer comfortable even calling my relationship with myself "primary" and my relationship with others ... somehow less so.

Rather, I simply realize that I can only love others well if I am loving myself well. If I fail to love myself well, things get pretty f-d up pretty fast.

I love my Sweeties as much as I love myself -- which is plenty, and getting better every day.:D As love should!

redpepper 07-11-2011 10:39 PM

New Relationship Energy (NRE) can have that effect of seemingly loving someone more... really its like having a new toy... that old teddy bear is still lovable, just the new one is kinda new and exciting to cuddle. Different, but both as valid.

nouryia 07-12-2011 08:18 PM

Does NRE still apply nearly 6 months after admitting our feelings? I'd think the "new and shiny" should be wearing off a bit...

Also considering, my husband and I have not been together for like, an eternity... Maybe 5 years in total, 2 of which as married.

sagency 07-12-2011 09:29 PM

Nouryia, you might be over-analyzing NRE. Yes, it can last for extended periods or short periods. You seems to be on the long plan.

Part of this might be because of the accidental fall-into-poly situation. Think of it this way, when you started dating as a mono, everything was shiny and new. It took time to adjust to what it was like to meet someone new, get to know them, adjust, and progress or move on. You've basically started that whole thing over again.

Yes, you have relationship expereince, but this is relationship plus relationship. Not only is it novel and new in particular (new person), it's new in general (new lifestyle). That's bonus NRE. I also call this PAS (Poly Adjustment Syndrome).

As poly becomes your new normal, this will quiet down. In the meantime, your capacity for love will grow. You might take a moment or two every once in a while to do things for your husband that remind him how great and loved he is. I find that with my wife, doing something with or for her specifically when she knows I would normally be somewhere else reminds her that she important ("Why, yes, honey, I was planning on being there, but I just really wanted to see you and give you this. That can wait."). I'd suggest the same for your new man and his wife. Any time a new partner comes in, it's a tranisition for everyone. You might even consider sitting down with your new man and brainstorming. You might find that coming up with ways he can make his wife feel special and while he thinks of things that would make your husband feel special could introduce some novelty into the original unions while also helping everyone feel more connected.

Worry less, have fun, and be well.

nouryia 07-13-2011 03:39 PM

Thanks, Sagency I will try to worry less, lol. I think you might be right in that I'm over-thinking a bit, I am still adjusting to poly life after all. And I do love hubby just as much, nothing has changed there, I guess I (wrongly) assumed that I would love fwb LESS. And well, that's just not the case. :o

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