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Old 01-30-2012, 08:32 PM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: East Coast, U.S.
Posts: 451

Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post

I have a friend who recently referred to my husband in a sentence along the lines of "yeah, but, you have a primary, so it's different."

And this was someone who claims to be of the more progressive poly type.
I have to say, SC, I am genuinely puzzled by your reaction.

Why would your friend's comment bother you? Having a primary really IS different.

It seems like a pretty innocuous comment. I doubt she meant to imply that your other relations are unimportant or disposable.

While I was amused by the Secondary Relationships Card, I also feel like...I don't quite get it somehow, or I have a totally different understanding of what it means to be a secondary.

If I were a secondary to a married man with kids, for example, I certainly would not expect (or want!) to join him for family vacations or holidays.

I have my own friends to go on vacation with, and my own family to spend holidays with.

I would expect my partner to prioritize his primary relationship. I would not, in fact, be comfortable in the relationship if he were NOT putting his wife's needs first.

(Even if I were in a monogamous relationship with a divorced man, I would expect him to prioritize his kids' needs, for example, and I would not expect to join him at holidays unless our relationship became VERY serious).

I would not enter into a secondary relationship if I were expecting or wanting to get pregnant. And anyone who dumps you if you get pregnant is an asshole, regardless of polyamory or primary/secondary relationships. So I don't see how that quite applies to secondary relationships in particular.

If my relationship caused drama or problems with the primary couple, I would WANT to remove myself from the situation. I would expect my partner to end things with me if I caused problems with his wife.

Of course I wouldn't want to be valued less or respected less--but it seems to me like the POINT of a secondary relationship is that it truly is of secondary importance.

And I think that's a good thing! Secondary relationships should enrich the lives of those in them, but shouldn't BE your life the same way a primary partner IS your life.

I'm speaking as someone who wants (or might want) to be a secondary or even a tertiary. I regard myself (or maybe my writing) as my own primary relationship and I have no interest in sharing my life with a primary boyfriend.

But, so far I've been reluctant to seek out poly relationships because I think I might be missing the point and might not really "get" poly the way poly people get it. I think I would make an ideal secondary, but maybe my guy wouldn't appreciate feeling like he's only secondary to my life as well.

And judging from the reaction I got when I mentioned to my own friends and one close family member that I might go on a date with a married poly man, I will probably be keeping it a secret for a while. The date never even came about, but, wow, was it hard to explain. So it's not unreasonable to have to keep a secondary relationship secret for a long while.

It just seems to me like if you are at the point where you go on family vacations, are public to everyone about your relationship, and are committed enough to go through with a pregnancy together, you're a co-primary, not a secondary.

Here's what seems odd to me about poly relationships (or with the way many poly people talk about relationships): it seems like the relationships are not allowed to pass through a non-serious phase before becoming serious.

In monogamous dating, it's (usually) okay for a relationship to take a long time to get serious, right? But in poly, if you don't immediately include your secondary on family vacations, you're disrespected him/her.

And going back to what I quoted above: I have observed this kind of thing a number of times in the various poly communities/forums I'm exploring. A poly person takes offense at some sort of comment which they perceive as non-poly-friendly, and then they scoff at how the person who made the comment thinks they are so open-minded.

I honestly don't get what bothered you about your friend's comment, SC? Is there more context you can explain?
Single, straight, female, solo, non-monogamous.
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