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Old 02-28-2012, 02:59 AM
ThatGirlInGray ThatGirlInGray is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Northern Cali
Posts: 552

I guess I didn’t realize there was SUCH focus on primary/secondary relationship structures in the poly community, as stated by the article nycindie referred to. One of the first things I found on this forum that really resonated with me was the comparison of a descriptive secondary vs a prescriptive secondary. I can see where being told, “No, your relationship can only be THIS,” would be neither desired nor healthy, while being in a descriptive hierarchy, because that’s what the situation that everyone involved wants happens to look like, is not a problem. In the Bible example, to me that is a prescriptive hierarchy. The man and woman are each being told they have specific roles and what those roles encompass. There’s no discussion, no choice. Hardly a situation I personally want to get in to! But it is completely possible to have a descriptive hierarchy that respects and involves EVERYONE. MC and I have the kids, house, financial entanglement, etc. There are decisions made that, while we are more than willing to talk to TGIB about them and consider how the decisions impact him, are ultimately ours to make. And TGIB is FINE with that. He doesn’t want more familial responsibility than he already has with his own kids, and he has decisions to make regarding them and his job and living situation that don’t involve us. If that level of involvement was NOT what TGIB wanted, the three of us wouldn’t be in this relationship, because what we want/need would not mesh.

One thing I’ve noticed lately is that for every person here who says they follow the “whatever works” philosophy of poly, there’s another person (and sometimes the SAME person!) who makes some fairly blanket statements about what “does” and “doesn’t” work in poly. Recently these comments (in other threads) caught my attention:

Yes there are many people that don't subscribe to the point of view that one partner is deserving of more love, time, energy and support over another. Some hierarchies exist and are declared valid due to children, shared assets, marriage etc. That can work for some but usually poly people discover that while they have these ties that bond, love is love and does not follow an agenda. Over time, most poly people grow out of the hierarchal system and theory and let love become abundant and ever growing. This can take time, patience and much experience. The experience comes from separating from couple-centric, co-dependent modalities and embracing committed autonomy with partners.
Thoughts on this included that it reduces the risk of hierarchical thinking and could reduce the emotional impact of that hierarchical thinking.
So, my relationship structure is “risky”? I wasn’t aware that choosing to honor the previous commitments I made to MC and our family while also having a lasting and satisfying partnership with TGIB could have a (negative) emotional impact. Perhaps when people are making statements that either imply or outright state that hierarchies are for people who are emotionally immature or co-dependent, they could clarify that they’re talking about prescriptive hierarchies, because descriptive hierarchies, if that is “what works” for all invovled, are hardly problematic.

(Annabel put it a lot more succinctly!)
Pan Female, Hinge in a V between my mono (straight) husband, Monochrome and my poly (pan) partner, ThatGuyInBlack
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