Thanks for your honesty sparklepop, and for taking a moment to chime in on the topic of "primary/secondary". I might need to make a topic of this to avoid hijacking the original intent any further.
Originally Posted by sparklepop
There are of course triads and poly people that act on a more levelled basis. My girlfriend, for example, also has a husband. She sees me as 'equal' to him in terms of priority.
This may be at the core of the issue, now that I look at it. I don't see that trying to view relationships as equal or not equal to be of great value. Let me put it this way:
If I gather a group of my friends and acquaintances in the room and sit them down to explain to them their rank in my life, that would be absurd. I start at the left and work my way to the right -
"You are my best friend, you're very important to me"
"You are an acquaintance, I like you but your needs are not important"
"You are my second best friend, if he needs me then I'm ditching you, otherwise you can claim my attention"
"You are a 'gaming buddy' which means I only choose to give you my attention if we are gaming"
My friends are not "equal" in that they are individuals and our relationships are fluid. We get different things from each other and there is no need for classification or rank. It would be cruel to do such a thing and, unless I'm starting an army, serves no real purpose. It is the same with my lovers (obviously).
I'm dating Isa, who has a boyfriend she lives with and has been with for many years. I am not secondary to him, even though their lives are entangled in a way that mine and Isas are not. This does not make him more important to her or less important to her. I am not equal to him in a good many ways but that would not change even if the three of us moved in together. He is not equal to me in a good many ways because our skill sets, temperament, and outlooks vary from topic to topic. For me, the classification is a throwback to the control and ownership inherent in monogamy.