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-   -   A question for "Secondaries" (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3495)

MonoVCPHG 08-16-2010 09:23 PM

A question for "Secondaries"
OK, I know a lot of people have a hard time with labels but I needed to use a title that would be direct enough to capture the right audience.

For any one who is in a relationship with an established couple (i.e. either by family commitment, marriage, co-habitation or long term togetherness) how important is the health and sustainment of that relationship to your own involvement?

What would happen if the "primary" relationship were to change drastically or dissolve?

I personally have "internal" and "external" fears. For example:

If Redpepper and PN were to separate I would have a huge issue with the "external" judgement of others that I ruined their marriage. A very real and fully understandable judgement from my perspective...that's what I would think.

"Internally" I would fear the affects of Redpepper's desire/need to form other relationships. Internally I also would have a hard time accepting that I was indeed not the cause of thier relationship failing. With a past of hurting people such as my own, adding to that bank of guilt is not something I want to do.

Hopefully this question will be answered with other people's perspectives regarding the actual question as opposed to analysis of my own comments.

Peace and Love

Magdlyn 08-16-2010 09:49 PM

I have a bit of experience in this.

Case one: guy in long term marriage to woman who presently IDs as an asexual lesbian. He has permission to have sex outside relationship. We get together once, make out, mutual masturbation... she rescinds permission (reluctant mono as she is). Their marriage survives, sex has improved between them last time I heard.

Case two: Older gentleman who approaches me for a relationship, telling me he's in an open marriage and had just broken up w his gf of 3 yrs. We have 2 or 3 dates and his wife leaves him, divorces him and moves across country w most of their possessions! Do I take responsibility for this? No fucking way. And this guy gets obsessed w the idea of 3ways or group sex then for some reason and doesnt want to date me anymore. Poor Bastard.

Case three: poly couple my age. Man and I have one date after iming for months. We have sex. After we have sex, he tells me he neglected to tell his wife we were gonna have a date! Months of anguish bwtn them ensue, trust is broken, maybe they won't make it. Do I take responsibility for this? No fucking way. It's not my fault their communication sucks. He's afraid of her, is my sense.

Breathesgirl 08-16-2010 11:25 PM

If Possibility's primary relationships were to fail there's no way I'd take the blame. They are all adults & can make their own decisions.

I MIGHT feel a sense of guilt for a few days, especially if he broke the news to me just after we last saw each other, but once I had a chance to sit down with myself & go through what I knew from my own personal observations I'd be ok with it. I don't know how well my friendship with the other partners would hold up since we don't have much in common other than our love for Possibility but who knows.


"Internally" I would fear the affects of Redpepper's desire/need to form other relationships. Internally I also would have a hard time accepting that I was indeed not the cause of thier relationship failing. With a past of hurting people such as my own, adding to that bank of guilt is not something I want to do.
Red Pepper is who she is. She would be forming those relationships regardless of whether you & PN were in her life or not. Your being in her life is a highlight of her day, I'm sure, just as having PN & their son in her life is a highlight. Look at the symptoms instead of the full blown illness. It is not your fault if it should happen. Even monogamous relationships have problems, couples split for a time and then get back together and are better than ever all the time.

Each of you holds a special place in her heart. You each fulfill something different in her life. Believe her when she says that she loves you & that if a separation should occur that it isn't your fault. Obviously I only know the portions of the story I've seen on here but I'm getting a sense that all three of you are stressed right now (that one's pretty obvious) and that you all three need a break from the current stress to give your brains a break. Give yourselves permission to take a break from trying to problem solve & have some fun!

I'm sending as much positive energy as I can & wish I could be there to give you all some in person hugs!

SourGirl 08-16-2010 11:31 PM

his would depend entirely on wether the seperation was a beginning to an end, or wether it was to hopefully heal/help mend the Primary relationship.

In the event of a seperation being the beginning of the end, I would think about weighing options and deciding if I should stay in a relationship or not. I would try and be open minded.

In the event that the relationship was hoping to mend fences, I would back away totally until called for.

Ilove2men 08-16-2010 11:39 PM

I am not a secondary, but I will say what Bud said in this situation. My fiance and I were on horrible terms not too long ago. I wasn't sure if we were going to make it. Bud (boyfriend) was going to stay with me if that were the case, but he didn't think that he could do poly again 1) because he didn't think that he could do this with someone new and 2) because of the destructive toll that it was taking on all of us.

He's never worried about what others think about anything that was more my thing. But he did worry about if he was the problem which he wasn't. It's why I told you in the other thread that their relationship is not your responsibility. If I gather correctly Redpepper views you as a life partner which to me means that your relationship with her has it's own legs to stand on and while you may be scared of the new poly opportunities this change could bring about your actual relationship with her should sustain itself with or without PN.

So you should not feel guilty because you have loved and supported their relationship wonderfully. If it were to fail it's because they couldn't make it work. You can be sad for the loss, but don't feel guilty.

As for the fear of her desires/needs. That will be a whole new experience and one that I suspect will bring alot of turbulance and emotions that will need to be addressed as you go and as they pop up. The unknown is always scary, but the one thing about poly we all know is that change and the personal growth from it is never fun, but worth it in the end no matter the outcome.

Not sure if any of this is helpful or not. Have you asked Redpepper any what ifs about any of this?

Jade 08-17-2010 12:20 AM

Wow. I suspect if our others separated, we'd be friends, but not much more than that. One of the reasons it works is that there's someone special for both of us, and I think they would feel the same way, so the number one thing we'd have to deal with is the loss... As for how important the health of the relationship is, I'd say it's absolutely crucial to functioning as a quad. We've seen all too clearly how one couple's problems ours or theirs (especially in reference to communication and intimacy levels) can negatively impact the whole. In short, if you're not good in your primary relationship, then you're in a bad place to deal with the challenges or even the joys of the secondary. Your heart simply isn't in it, and that's painful to the other people who love you. But, you know, maybe I think this way because our relationship is long distance. Maybe it's different when you're consistently present. Perhaps this is why quads are so challenging. A successful marriage/relationship takes work. How much more so a relationship that consists of two distinct marriages/relationships?

It will be interesting to read what others have to say.

MonoVCPHG 08-17-2010 12:51 AM

Thank you for all the comments. It was not a quest for advice so much as curiosity purely of how others feel. I don't adhere to the concept of "thier relationship is not my responsibility" although that would be a much easier outlook I'm thinking.

I'm afraid you don't know our situation with regards to new relationships Breathesgirl. Things would have already been different if not for me. That is for sure.

Redpepper knows I consider them a package deal..PN is the key to my being healthy in this as a mono.
This is taken from the glossary of definitions and although there is humour in it there is also truths and very real concerns for me.

Monomour - monogamous partner in a mono-poly relationship. Shares sexual/romantic affections with a single partner who knowingly has other loves.

Shares some possessive traits of the Monogamonster but has no hidden agenda to convert poly partner. Is the exact opposite of the Cowboy in that the monomour relies on the maintenance of existing relationships to avoid becoming a Monogamonster.

Pronunciation ; mon-oh-more
Origins; MonoVCPHG
References; Monopedia
See; monogamy, monotony, mine-mine-mine, things to avoid, wet blanket, WTF?!!


The Monogamonster, then, is the spectre of monogamy that threatens a poly relationship, but may refer to monogamous partners who may raise that spectre should a poly person become attached to them.

geminigirl 08-17-2010 03:07 AM

Wow, I really like "monomour"! That is awesome!

I have dated several couples and here are my feelings on how their relationship affects me.

If the primary couple's relationship isn't going well, it always affects me negatively. I derive absolutely no benefit from difficulties they may have in their relationship. I have no desire to be come a "confidante" of my partner at the expense of their primary -- to do this would feel unethical and extremely uncomfortable to me. When my partners are having problems I try to do all I can to tell them I support and love them both, but I don't try to interfere. It's a very tough position to be in.

I DO feel some responsibility for their relationship in the areas where my presence may affect it. For example, if they need extra time together and I can give them the breathing space to have that, then I will generally step back and give them the opportunity.

I also feel it's not my place to act as a communication buffer between the two of them, and while it's ok for them to talk to me about the other person if it's something we all know about, I don't ever want to be privy to a "secret" about the other partner. This is different, by the way, from things which are private between me and my partner (or partners, since I'm dating each person in the couple in one case, one person in the couple in another case).

I am happiest when my partners have a great relationship, but I know that I can't facilitate this for them. However, if I am ethical about what I say and do with them both, I can at least feel good about my role in their relationship.

redpepper 08-17-2010 03:40 AM


Originally Posted by Jade (Post 40514)
if you're not good in your primary relationship, then you're in a bad place to deal with the challenges or even the joys of the secondary.

Weeel, just so you know, PN and I aren't about to break up... more in my blog, but just so you know.

Jade I just wanted to quote this bit because it is so true. I have absolutely no energy to give to any other drama in my life to the point that I am not socializing even, let alone deal with any issue that comes up with Mono and I. Luckily he and I have never been better. I am glad Derby is having some much needed time with her husband too right now and I can step back... I would of liked to of spent time with him too, but not to be and there is plenty of time for that later.

Right now I am dealing with the tasks at hand and that is getting some things done to make sure I am happy and so is PN.... we are working on it and it's going fine so far.

I'm grateful to everyone for the support and advice given to Mono... :) thank you for that

MonoVCPHG 08-17-2010 03:50 AM


Originally Posted by geminigirl (Post 40542)
Wow, I really like "monomour"! That is awesome!


Feel free to coin it and use it with our community....glad you like it :)

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