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-   -   Strictly secondary... (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13442)

JaneDoe41 08-14-2011 03:37 PM

Strictly secondary...
 
I'm still relatively new here, and I've searched the forum for threads dealing with the perspectives of secondary partners. Most of the relationships I'm seeing described seem to be very close to equal. I've yet to find much information, so I'm posting my own and I'd love input.

I introduced myself and my own unique situation in the "intros" section under "New to the Forum", but for a quick recap, I'm a female eleven months into a V relationship with Randy and Vivian. My role is strictly secondary. They've been together 10 years and poly works for them. I'm not the first "second", but our situation is working well so far and Randy and I would like to keep it ongoing. Vivian supports the relationship, but as with all of Randy's past partners, retains veto power over me. This prospect is a little scary.

I've asked him what issues have caused his other secondary relationships to fail, and the one major cause is when the secondary partner has wanted to move into a more primary role. There have been other issues, but that's a common thread among them.

Because I am a single parent and my child takes top priority in my life (my little "primary"), I don't feel that I have time, energy, or inclination to invest in a full-time romantic relationship. Being Randy's "second" works for me. I never feel "secondary" when Randy and I are together one-on-one. Plus I really feel that I get all of the benefit without the hassles of everyday living. I don't have to pick his dirty socks up off of the floor! I do, however, consciously defer when Randy, Viv, and I have our once-monthly "date nights", limiting my initiation of PDA's and allowing them as a couple to lead the moments, but it's fun to see them together and the way they interact. I don't mind holding back, and I still get plenty of attention from my lover.

So this briefly introduces the topic I'd like to get input on - how do other "Secondaries" feel about their place in their relationships?

opalescent 08-14-2011 05:15 PM

A couple of months ago, SW and I talked about how our casual relationship had evolved into something more. Yet we will never be each other's primary. Although we did acknowledge to each other that if our loves had not been in the picture, well, things might be different, he's committed to his girlfriend and I am to Beloved. I don't know if SW would characterize us as a secondary relationship - we haven't talked about it - but that is the role that relationship fits into for me. Right now, the primary/secondary/casual model works pretty well right now for myself and Beloved and I suspect it works for SW and his girlfriend.

I've been thinking about a couple of issues lately that might be of interest to the OP. First, I'm not a particularly envious person. (I took one of those online 7 deadly sins test and scored high to medium on all the sins, except envy. This cracks me up.) However, I am competitive. So when SW posts that he is spending time with his favorite girl, I get a twinge of but "I want to be the favorite!". Then I get a grip, remind myself that I can't be 'number one' in this case and move on. (I'm also an only child and so very used to being 'number one'.) It's not a problem for me or for SW and I's relationship but I am curious how others handle not envy or jealousy but competitiveness.

Second, I wonder how others build intimacy outside of sex with secondary partners. I've noticed that I feel most intimate with SW during and after sex. Of course, sex was our reason to get together in the first place so that's not so surprising. However, we have lots else in common besides boinking. But I don't feel as intimate with him doing other activities, even though I always enjoy hanging out with him. We tend not to talk about difficult or intimate topics except after sex. I wonder if this is a 'dude' pattern. The women I've dated created intimacy throughout the relationship and not just in sex. I'm going to talk to him about it but wonder, again, if others have experienced something similar and what they did about it.

JaneDoe41 08-14-2011 06:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by opalescent (Post 97233)
Second, I wonder how others build intimacy outside of sex with secondary partners. I've noticed that I feel most intimate with SW during and after sex. Of course, sex was our reason to get together in the first place so that's not so surprising. However, we have lots else in common besides boinking. But I don't feel as intimate with him doing other activities, even though I always enjoy hanging out with him. We tend not to talk about difficult or intimate topics except after sex. I wonder if this is a 'dude' pattern. The women I've dated created intimacy throughout the relationship and not just in sex. I'm going to talk to him about it but wonder, again, if others have experienced something similar and what they did about it.

Yes, this is something that comes to my mind when I think about analyzing my relationship with Randy. Recently, he made the comment "This isn't just about the sex, you know" he paused then we both laughed and simultaneously said "Well mostly!"

There is a barrier to deepest intimacy in this relationship, but I believe I put it there myself as traditional marriage hasn't been kind to me in terms of intimacy either. There is definitely mutual love, caring and compassion between us, but the sex is the tightest bond. I believe there are barriers on his end too, but not just for me. He's married to his work and not to Vivian, and I know at times she even comes second to that.

Thanks for your input Opalescent. I'm going to think on the subject of intimacy a little further.

AnnabelMore 08-14-2011 07:43 PM

I've posted a lot in my blog about the various issues and insecurities that come with my secondary relationship with a woman who has a primary. I'm happy with our roles in each other's lives... weekly-ish visits, acknowledgment of our relationship by our friends and parents if not by everyone (she's out to some people at work but she would probably never come out to certain people or to her grandma, for instance), a commitment to keep the lines of communication open, an intention to reestablish sex once feasible (her recent pregnancy and childbirth have put that on hold). I know that she values me, lets me in and trusts me more than anyone but her husband, and goes out of her way for me. Yet I do struggle at times, I have visions of a closer life together and I sometimes feel down when I realize that'll probably never happen.

A few things make it easier for me. One, I'm good friends (and then some) with her partner, which makes him an ally rather than a competitor. Two, I deeply respect their relationship... they've been together for 12+ years and married for 6, and have the vast majority of their issues well worked out. And three, there are really no hard and fast rules between us. Sure, my gf would probably end things with me if her husband absolutely insisted, but there's no explicit veto power that ensures that. It's pretty unlikely that we'd ever be able to become co-primary but there's nothing saying we couldn't. It lets the relationship feel organic and open-ended to me.

I don't know if I could deal with an unconditional veto power held by a metamour I didn't know well and trust. For a casual fling sure, but a serious relationship (and yea, secondary relationships can be very serious) where I'm investing a lot of time and energy and making myself really vulnerable? That might well be too scary to handle.

redpepper 08-14-2011 08:05 PM

try doing a search for "secondaries" or "secondary" here... and you will find a number of threads on how secondaries have dealt with being in that position... including being content and not being content.

redpepper 08-14-2011 08:08 PM

Here's a big fat one for ya ;)

Primary/Secondary: Merged Threads, General Discussion / Debate

JaneDoe41 08-14-2011 08:25 PM

Thank you redpepper. The link to that thread won't load. I'm very interested in delving into it. Would you mind checking and reposting the link? :)

nycindie 08-14-2011 09:09 PM

Here's the link:

http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2312

redpepper 08-15-2011 05:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nycindie (Post 97269)

thanks :)

Look around though under that tag... there was two pages of threads relating.

JaneDoe41 08-15-2011 05:29 AM

Wow!

I read the thread. The WHOLE thread. There is a lot of passion about this subject!

After reading it, I guess my "secondary" label really only applies to time spent and the investment and co-mingling of day-to-day living. I don't feel "secondary" in the love I receive.

However, there is that sticky point about the veto power in my relationship.....


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