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-   -   A few questions... (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9136)

Wayward 04-24-2011 07:50 AM

A few questions...
Most of what I've read about polyamory involves a couple, or primary relationship, adding other people into the mix, so to speak. Is this the most common form of polyamory? How does it work? Do secondaries ever feel, well, secondary? How do people in such relationships make sure everyone's needs are met?

BlackUnicorn 04-24-2011 05:29 PM

Hullo and welcome!

Do a tag search on 'secondaries/secondary' and 'couples'. There are no real stats on the poly community, and I am hard-pressed to imagine somesuch ever being compiled, either. That being said, my impression is that most people 'stumble' upon polyamory while in a previously-monogamous relationship that is no longer working.

As to the rest of your questions, check out the Life Stories and Blogs sections to see the myriad ways people negotiate polyamorous partnerships.

redpepper 04-24-2011 07:06 PM

a search for "triads" "vees" "unicorns" might help too.

There are many different forms of poly, I don't think that there is one sort that is a bigger population than another. People travel in different circles and in different ways. I know tribes that are just bust doing their thing and have no need to talk about it or offer advice to others... usually on line we hear from people who are looking to fill their poly goals, people just starting out or people who are struggling. It is in no way a full representation of the poly community.

disappearingpoet 04-24-2011 07:26 PM

My household is sort of a triad. Three of us who are all fairly equally partnered, in different ways. I think for us, our primary relationship is as a family, rather than any configuration of pairings within the group, and each of us is open to other relationships as they tumble into our lives. D does have a regular 'secondary' friend with benefits, and I have one or two playmates, but my primary relationship is to my family.

River 04-25-2011 11:03 PM

Quoting from Wayward's Personal Summaries post.:


Originally Posted by Wayward (Post 77948)
I currently do not have any interest in being in a relationship with an established couple. I don't want to be anyone's side-dish, or have my needs be considered second-to or less-than that of anyone else. Maybe as I learn more about the polyamorous lifestyle, I'll change this stance, who knows?


While some poly folk do have relationships which are structured in terms of a hierarchy of value or importance, many of us have no interest in such a hierarchy of value or importance. (Take me, for example.)

As I see it, hierarchy of value/importance applies best (and most frequently) to "friends with benefits" sorts of relationships which are mainly sexual in nature, rather than mainly oriented toward the broad spectrum of intimacy that includes emotional and spiritual bonding. A loving relationship is something else, altogether. And I would not rank my loves, nor classify them. Love is love is love is love, whether it is a new love or one of long duration, and regardless of living or not living together status.

Tonberry 04-26-2011 12:15 AM

I feel that "primary" and "secondary" are best used as descriptive terms, not as what a relationship "should be" before it even starts. And you can have several primaries, or have none have have secondaries only. It's about the type of relationship.

This being said, when people open up to poly after being a monogamous couple for a while, it's common for them to have a strong emphasis on the original couple. In cases like that, they might have "secondaries" who also have their own "primaries", for instance.

One might also feel they only have time or attention for one primary relationship, and want something more casual out of the others.

At any rate, I feel the relationships should reflect everyone in them. So, a more casual relationship works fine if the person you're having it with wants it to. If they want something different than what you can offer, it's not going to work so well, or it will require a lot of work and compromise.

BlackUnicorn 04-26-2011 07:31 AM


Originally Posted by redpepper (Post 78095)
usually on line we hear from people who are looking to fill their poly goals, people just starting out or people who are struggling. It is in no way a full representation of the poly community.

Yep, although I do wonder, because of the lack of general awareness on polyamory, how many kids growing up these days stumble upon polyamory while still single and 'available', without trying to form monogamous pairings to begin with.

A girl growing up these days and wondering why she is crushing on her best female friend or a teen-age guy who finds gay porn arousing have words for their feelings. There is cultural recognition for such a thing as 'homosexuality'. However, there is no where near the same awareness for consensual non-monogamy, so people came to it through trial and error. It reminds me of kids in the seventies checking out psychiatry books from their local library and pouring over the 'homosexuality' sections of mental disorders to find something that would give a word to their feelings.

Of course, with the coming of Internet, once you catch the word somewhere and now what to Google, you needn't feel so alone anymore.

Magdlyn 04-26-2011 02:41 PM

I am in a 2 yr+ relationship with a woman. She's got a ... secondary. He's also in a relationship with a woman, they live together. So, he is her secondary because she only gets to see him once a week, whereas she and I spend at least half the week together.

But that doesn't mean she and he don't have strong feelings for each other (they've been seeing each other for about 5 months and haven't told each other they love each other yet, tho she has told me she loves him). He is not a secondary in terms of how she cares for him. It's just the living arrangements that make it secondary.

They are still sorting out how to best meet each others' sexual and emotional needs.

MorningTwilight 04-26-2011 03:18 PM


Originally Posted by BlackUnicorn (Post 78069)
... my impression is that most people 'stumble' upon polyamory while in a previously-monogamous relationship that is no longer working.

I wanted to highlight this section and repeat something that has often been said: if the previously-monogamous relationship is no longer working, TURNING TO POLYAMORY WILL NOT FIX IT.

If that relationship is still important, it has to be fixed FIRST.

(That's where my wife and I are at this time.)

Tonberry 04-26-2011 04:00 PM

Well, it depends if the only reason it's not working is that it's monogamous :P Then leaving it monogamous won't help. But otherwise, agreed.

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