For the Mono/Secondaries in the crowd
I'm sort of turning over the question in my head this evening of whether or not being secondary in the hierarchy means I am getting (or settling for) less.
Sort of in the context of answering the question, "If you give all of yourself to someone, why would you settle for any less in return?"
Two thoughts (questions, really) -
So perhaps the question - at least for me in figuring out the whole cosmic configuration in what is all brand-new territory - is what the potential future holds?
On one hand, regardless of my SO's relationship with anyone else, his and my relationship has to have it's own growth pattern and rhythm. I can't predict the future, but I do see and am excited by the potential.
On the other, do I need to consider that despite how close we get in this hypothetical future, will I always be content to be a "secondary" as long as my needs are met? I mean, that's a possibility, right? Even if the golden path is achieved and there's wedding bells and happily ever after etc etc etc?
And, again, if needs are being met, what does being "secondary" even mean in the big picture?
Mono/secondaries, what has been your experience? Those who love mono/secondaries, what is your perspective on this?
Wow....really great questions....I'm stunned that you haven't gotten any responses. I know there are plenty of mono's ...primaries and secondaries who can comment.
1) I think yes it is. Doesn't it have to.
2) I guess if all your needs are being met ...not problem. What about future needs.....is everything a negotiation. In the normal mono model it might be expected it would just naturally expand without negotiations. What about spontaneity?
I actually told my wife I'd rather have a secondary relationship with her...rejecting that primary status . So from the flip side of things whats gained and whats lost.
Big picture ...maybe nothing or maybe your needs, feelings, and time are viewed as a hobby. It could personality dependent...the right partner is going to great ...a selfish asshole is going to be not so great. It also gets into the subjective weighing other peoples needs....partner x needs me for this or is having a hard time with blah blah .... "so important that i spend add time" ... but that's all guessing game. At the expense of who?
About settling ...was watching a Nascar race with my kid over the weekend and he said ...wow notice how all the drivers wives or girlfriends are hot....I lied and said no I hadn't ...I said why do you think that is ...He said I don't know ... I said because they don't have to settle for anything less. Look at the woman Jeff Gordan dates and marries. True story.
I hadn't responded yet because I was still thinking about what I wanted to say. :)
First, I think it depends on whether "secondary" is being used just a descriptive term based on how entangled your lives are (living together, shared bank accounts, kids?) or is it a prescriptive term defining what can and cannot happen in your relationship? Plenty of people choose not to use hierarchical terms or even ways of thinking in their relationships, which is fine, and others who do choose to use them as sort of a short-cut way of explaining their different relationships, and even others who abide by fairly clear-cut hierarchical delineations, as that's fine too if everyone involved understands the limits and boundaries and is in agreement . I think the important thing is not the label but how everyone is treated: making sure that everyone involved in a relationship is getting their needs met and are on the same page about expectations. If you feel like you want/need more but are not asking for it, then yes, you're settling for less, regardless of what words you use to describe and define your relationship.
For myself, my husband is mono and I consider my relationship with him to be a "primary" one. We live together, have kids together, own a house, share bank accounts, etc. However, I will not (nor would he ask me to) completely cut off someone in my life to "save" my primary relationship (would there be anything worth saving if it came to that??). TGIB (who is poly, but I am his only partner at the moment) and I have a secondary-ish relationship because we are currently long-distance. When he moves out here we are both fairly certain that our relationship will become more like a co-primary one. The love and the commitment are already there, but time together is a struggle. We do not ever plan to get married or have kids together, and it's highly unlikely that we'll have any joint accounts or even live together for a VERY long time, but his needs are just as important to me as my husband's needs are.
So with that as background, one could say they are both giving their "all" to me while I can only devote some of my time and attention to them. I certainly hope neither of them feel like they're settling! I would be completely supportive of either of them developing another relationship, but even if neither did I question the idea of giving one's "all". Everyone has myriad demands on their time: work, family (especially if you have kids!), friends, hobbies, etc. MC and TGIB both spend time writing, on the computer, hanging out with friends, and doing other things that don't involve me. They both need more alone time than I do, which is one reason why this relationship structure has worked so far; they both can get their alone time without feeling like they're neglecting me and I'm not left feeling abandoned and nagging or whining to get more attention!
It sounds to me like you're in a good place regarding getting your needs met and are more concerned about expectations and plans for the future, and that can really only be answered by a conversation with the person you're in the relationship with.
Seniority should not apply to any human relationship
I have read this post over and over again and can't decide how, or if, I should comment. (My bf and his SO read these threads and I've gotten in a little hot water over some of my posts. :( ) But here I go.........
I'm a Mono Secondary. My bf and I have been together for almost 2 years. He lives with his SO. We are deeply in love but it's not without complications.
I'm thinking about your words, "settling", "future". In my world, those things change almost weekly. What I found is just when you think you have it all figured out, something happens and you are back to the drawing board. It's a very dynamic type of relationship. This can make the relationship challenging, and also quite rewarding as it keeps you focused on the ultimate goal -loving this person you are with.
I don't consider it to be settling. Settling, to me, is something you are forced to do when you don't have another option. I CHOOSE to be here. I could leave if I wanted. I could get another bf if I chose to do so. But I'm choosing to be with him. I'm choosing to make this work because the love we discovered is worth it.
I'm a very independant woman. I'm strong, confident, self-sufficient, financially secure, driven; attributes he's very drawn to. It's because of those attributes that I can handle this relationship. I can evolve in my career, devote quality time to my children (who are growing up way too fast!), I have time for personal and social growth, time for health and fitness. I have time to be the best possible me. And then he complements that with the love and passion we share. Depending on the viewpoint, it is a complete life. I won't lie though, at times I do get lonely for him, wish for more time. Communication is key so it helps to hear those same sentiments from him. :)
Regarding Future. It doesn't matter what kind of relationship you are in, traditional or otherwise, nothing's for certain. I married my childhood sweetheart only to divorce him almost 20 years after we met. I've been working hard to make this relationship work without expecting anything more than our one Date Night a week and recently, for him to try to make time another evening or day during the week in between dates. It's been a challenge based on scheduling, but he tries. That's all that I can ask.
We each have our insecurities about where the 'future' will take us. His constant worry and fear is that one day, despite my protests, I will tire of "settling" and move on to find another full-time love that can meet all my needs. He gets sad, sullen, withdrawn, thinking of how deeply that is going to hurt him if it happens. His SO worries that I will try to supplant her (which I would never dream of doing) and that causes stress for him. I worry that both his and her insecurities will inspire decisions that will ultimately end up with me pushed out of this relationship. And not only does that scare the hell out of me, but annoys me tremendously. I am supposedly the one 'settling and sacrificing a real relationship' and I get pushed out?!
Hierarchy. I recently read on another poly friendly forum that senority should not apply to any human relationship. If a poly relationship is to last long term, it is up to the mutual love to ensure that both partners needs are being met fairly and that neither one is slighted. My bf points out to me often that the depth of feelings he has for me is not in correlation to the amount of time we spend together. Just because our time is limited, the love is not. If anything, it makes it stronger, counting down the days until we see each other again. I HATE the term Secondary (it does have a negative connotation to me) but I recognize it as simply as the order of business. They share a home, finances. I don't participate in that. Yet each relationship has as much merit and value as the other. Each of us contributes something special.
And regarding my Veto fears, quoting the author of the post " When a spouse tries pulling the 'I was here first/I'm primary' card, they are effectively demanding that their partner choose between the people they love. One should never ask another person to make such a choice if they are not prepared for their partner to choose to walk away. Sooner or later that is exactly what will happen." I think of it as I would my children. If any man asked me to choose between him and them, he's GONE. Buh Bye! I have stated in previous posts, I would never make such a demand. Its unfair and selfish, qualities I do not possess. We find a way to meet everyone's needs ot the best of our ability because each is important. I do talk to my bf about the potential that it could be asked of him. He denies that it would, believing his SO when she says she understands, accepts and respects our relationship. I don't know that for certain, so all I can do is trust him and his love and commitment to me as he's emphasized over and over again. I want each of us to be happy, secure, content.
With that reassurance and security and him trying to meet my requests for time, communication, I can't see why this beautiful bond would have to end. If anything, it makes us that much stronger. :)
How many secondary relationships have you had during your time with your current husband?
You said when he moves out that you and he were fairly certain that it would become a co-primary type one. Is or was your husband involved in those discussions? Are you "out" to kid, friends, relatives, neighbors ...employers?
How do you work a 2 week family vacation to Yellowstone ...do the kids get a vote as to the new co primary coming alone?
How would you feel if hubs decided he wanted to be a secondary? My wife was shocked and insulted....which I still don't get.
I took the comment of giving "all " to mean ....a persons romantic focus ...Heart and soul. Not similar to a time management or a hobby
Glad to see you're still around. :) sound like your situation has improved or stabilized which is great::D
Settling.....How much time would you like? How much do you get...1 date or night ....or sleep over. Sound like a semantic argument with yourself just like secondary.
Could one argue that your needs and mindset have changed dramatically since the beginning of this relationship. The idea of "future " at that time was irrelevant but now as the kids are growing up at such a fast pace you see more alone time?
I always think of primary and secondary as descriptive terms. I can't imagine trying to impose things on relationships, they just evolve on their own and you deal with it. I can't just put constraints on them, I mean that's why monogamy doesn't work for me to begin with, because "thou shalt not fall in love again" is assumed.
Same thing here, "thy relationship shalt not evolve" is just as absurd to me, I can't control that.
So having several primaries and no secondaries, or several secondaries and no primaries, are for me just a description of your relationship to help people. In mono relationships, usually you say things like "we're exclusive now" or "we got a house" or "we're married" and that's a brief way to explain what kind of stage your relationship is in.
In poly, that doesn't work as well, except maybe the house part. I guess you could say you live together and people would have an idea of the kind of relationship you have, but still there is so much variety.... People came up with primary and secondary so that in one word you can give an idea of what stage you're in.
Keep in mind I don't see stages as things that follow one another or have to be in a specific order.
DH, are you aware you come of as interrogating sometimes? I understand asking questions for clarification and to introduce a different perspective, but you bombarded me with 5 questions in a row with very little in the way of context or anything to explain where you were coming from or the purpose of the questions. I didn't mind the questions themselves, so I decided to answer them, but I was taken aback at first by the way they were written and almost chose to ignore them/you. Might want to think more about how you're asking the questions if your goal is actually to get them answered.
so sorry you felt interrogated ...not my intention. I wont ask any more questions.
Here's where I was coming from.
Question 1 ...you said you wouldn't terminate another relationship for the sake of the primary I just wonder how other relationships had come and gone on there own. And wouldn't be a shame if you had sacrificed your marriage for one of those.
Q2 ...no mention of hubs participation in those discussions.
Q3...co-primary might be difficult in a full sense unless you were fully out.
Q4...just envisioning a typically family vacation and how that might work ...especially with teenage kids. In fact here again I might opt out...having been trapped on long car trips....time for co -primary ...co pilot to take over. :D
Q5 ...based on what I told my wife. And how it would work would be his withdrawal from your life ..not the kids ...not responsibilities around the house. Point was primary might not be what everybody wants ...would you be ok with that shift....or would it be insulting.
Good point on soul ...I guess its just the drama I heard too many times.
My situation has improved and stabilized. It is great. :D Thank you!
Honestly, the more time I can get, the better. However, I am at peace with having a couple of date nights and sleepovers a week. I have such a full schedule with my work, my kids, and their activities (I swear they are more social and active than me! :p) And then I try to fit in the gym as much as I can. It's a busy life! We have at least one evening/sleepover a week, working that out to more whenever possible. He stayed over 3 nights a few weeks ago and it was GLORIOUS! Right now, it's complicated with his work schedule increasing tenfold during the summer but he's committed to trying the best he can to spend quality time together. That's all I can ask for. I empathize with him, he wants to see me, and misses me in between, just as much as I miss him.
One could indeed argue that my needs and mindset have changed. It's inevitable! It's been 2 years already. In the beginning, we saw each other once every two weeks. That no longer works for either one of us. We both NEED to be together more than that.
I won't lie, I have thought about what it means to be so alone as my kids get older and more independent. Have I thought about finding someone else? Yes, at times I have. I've questioned my commitment to this often complicated relationship. Have I acted on those thoughts? No. I am certain that I just want to be with him. And as long as he's committed to making this work between us, I am committed to staying put. For now, the benefits outweigh the cons. ;)
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