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Old 05-15-2012, 08:34 PM
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CielDuMatin CielDuMatin is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Upstate New York, USA
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I'm not a mono/secondary, but my "primary" is mono, so I do have some experience in the sorts of issues that you are facing....

I'm going to quote quite a few lines of what you wrote, here, so there is a context...
Originally Posted by blytheandbonny View Post
I'm sort of turning over the question in my head this evening of whether or not being secondary in the hierarchy means I am getting (or settling for) less.
Less implies a comparison - less than something else. To me, this either means less than you need, or less than someone else is getting. The first is a healthy question to ask, in my mind, the second one most definitely not.

As an example - my previous OSO's husband had semi-recently died when we started and the last thing she needed was another husband - she was an independent woman who wanted time to go out and explore, now her kids were old enough to be out on their own. So we started what could be described as a "secondary" relationship. We spoke very often, at least once a day, and we spent a weekend together once a month, and did occasional vacations together. Her friends kept telling her that she was "settling" because I had a primary, and she kept telling them that she was getting everything out of our relationship that she needed and wanted. But still they kept saying "you deserve more".

I think that it's vitally important NOT to settle for less than you need and most of what you want out of a relationship. But don't use the standards of society or monogamous friends to determine what those needs and wants are.

Originally Posted by blytheandbonny View Post
Sort of in the context of answering the question, "If you give all of yourself to someone, why would you settle for any less in return?"
Is giving all of yourself to someone, and expecting them to do the same a priority for you? One of the principles of poly is that, by definition, you are not going to give every single thing you have to this person - and there are some that would say that giving them everything is unhealthy.

If you expect the other person who is poly to give all of themselves to you, then I don't think that a poly person is ever going to be capable of meeting your expectations....

Originally Posted by blytheandbonny View Post
Is being a secondary necessarily a comment on where I am in the hierarcy v. where the relationship stands on its own merit relative to SO's life, given the natural evolution of the relationship as it stands now?
It could be either, depending on the relationship. That would be a very good question to know the answer to. I (and others) often refer to this as "descriptive vs. prescriptive" - does this describe what you are, or does it dictate what you are?

Originally Posted by blytheandbonny View Post
If all of my emotional, mental, and physical nourishment needs are being met in the relationship as it stands right now in this moment in time, does the SO's relationship with anyone else (primary or otherwise) make what I have/get less? I'm still winning, yes?
If we're talking about love and commitment, to someone mentally wired to the monogamous way of thinking, that answer is yes, absolutely it is less. If someone loves someone else as well as you, then they absolutely are not loving you 100% - you are only getting a piece of the pie.

To a poly person, this absolutely does not compute. For them, there isn't a pie to get divided up - love isn't a zero-sum game. Loving someone else doesn't have any bearing on how much you love someone.

I have found that both of these mental process are very difficult to comprehend if you are on the "other side"...

Now there are two other things that are NOT infinite - time and money. Those are definitely a "piece of the pie", no matter how everyone is wired, and need to be negotiated.

As for what the future holds, that is definitely something that only you and your partner can know. Discussing future goals is very important and should not be neglected. I would just caution against trying to make it fit some prefabricated idea about how relationships should evolve - poly breaks most of those molds.

"Listen, or your tongue will make you deaf." - Native American Proverb
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