Coming into Polyamory as a non-primary partner
Has anyone done this?
I've been single for quite a while, and having met and chatted with polly people, I've gradually become very fond of the idea. All the people I've talked to already had primary partners though, and I always thought it felt a little one-sided if I become a secondary partner, and I'm not sure if I'd feel jelous or stuff if I was to do anything with them.
Recently I've become close to one person currently seeing someone who I presume to be his primary. I'm really fond of him, he has an awesome personality, and we became physically intimate. The chemistry isn't there at the moment, but I'm worried if it were to I would feel jelous of the primary being more important.
So... is this an issue etc. Sorry I'm reeally knew to poly so pardon my ignorance.
Hi and welcome! First of all, do not presume or assume anything. If you want to know whether or not he considers his relationship to be "primary," then ask him. Many poly people do not apply hierarchies to their relationships, and see their partners all as equally important, so it shouldn't be an automatic assumption on your part.
If it is primary for him, that also does not mean that any other relationships he has will always be "secondary." There are many ways to live polyamorously. That being said, when someone does have a primary, obviously everyone they meet and want a relationship with will naturally have to be secondary or whatever. We cannot all be someone's primary, so it is quite common to start off in a relationship as something other than primary. Read this Secondary's Bill of Rights on this page: http://www.morethantwo.com/polyforsecondaries.html You should feel free to ask him questions and find out how he conducts his relationships, what safer sex practices he and they use, and if there are any agreements he has with other people that will affect you. Just ask. As the relationship progresses, if you feel you want to continue, you may want some contact with his other lover, which can help to take away the fear of the unknown.
But it is new, and you are just getting to know him. Enjoy this budding relationship and don't get too hung up on where it's going yet! There is plenty of time for negotiations and maneuvering, you don't need to get into all that during the initial dating stages, except for just establishing honesty and good communication.
Secondly, don't make it a self-fulfilling prophesy that you will become full of jealousy about this. I always have a chuckle when people are starting out and say, "I'm afraid I will be too jealous" -- but until you are in the thick of a situation, you don't know what your response or reaction will be. YOu may find yourself more comfortable with it than you ever thought you would be.
Just treat it like any other monogamous relationship in the sense that you would ask for what you need, voice concerns, stand up for yourself when needed, and be sure to define your own personal boundaries. But since he's poly, read up as much as you can about it -- there are lots of good info in our Golden Nuggets section of the forum.
All the best!
Hi nycindi, Thanks for the awesome reply, really helpful!
I met this guy with his girlfriend and have got to know her rather well - she's really awesome and I'm really looking forward to getting to know her more. She's pretty similar to me personality wise.
Yeah, I guess I'm making a presumption:- when I mentioned his girlfriend or stuff to do with her, he kept telling me she's not my girlfriend - she's married etc, yet they behave very couply when they're together... so I was a little confused.
They're a pretty new relationship too - in April she was still with her husband (who she's left because he wasn't treating her right). I don't know how that might change things.
Thanks so much for your insight, and yes you're right, I do need to talk to him about it.
If the girlfriend is married, her husband might be her primary partner. She and the guy you like might have a relationship where they do not consider each other to be "primaries." The guy might, in fact, be looking for a primary partner of his own.
You can't know without asking him and talking to him about it, of course.
You can also ask him how he would label/describe his relationship with her, since he does not seem to use the label "girlfriend."
I can relate to that--I am involved with someone, and we do not feel the labels "boyfriend" and "girlfriend" describe our relationship. We are not each other's "primary." (He's looking for a primary partner / "girlfriend", and I don't want a primary partner).
But don't assume that my situation describes your guy's...just ask him about it!
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