I love that this forum doesn't object to resurrecting old threads but it does bother me a bit that starting a new thread on an old topic generally generates some negativity. I think that both approaches have value. When reading old threads on the topic I hear what those
posters (who often are not active anymore - although sometimes they are) thought about the topic at that
point in their journeys. But I don't really know
those posters, I haven't been reading their day-to-day struggles...I like to hear what my current online friends are thinking.
If people are interested in discussing a topic with the current group of active posters they can start a new thread or resurrect an old one. I, personally, think either approach can be valid - some folks may not want to feel they have to read 200+ posts before they can express something they have been thinking about (which may not be new or exciting to the oldsters but is clearly new and exciting to them
- and has been to many people or it wouldn't get brought up so often). What's wrong with letting the current conversation run it's course and then merging it with the old thread later? (personal preferences at play here, obviously).
On to the topic at hand...
For me - when I use the terms "primary" and "secondary" with regard to my relationships it is in a purely descriptive manner - it describes where we are now, not where things can go later if that is how it turns out. In my case it mainly hinges on chronology. MrS was my first boy (we've been together 20 years) and Dude is my second boy (we've been together for a little over one). My first boy also happens to be my husband - he gets the dubious distinction of being the one that "society" sees as my partner. He gets the oh-so-exciting privilege of going with me to family/ company events. The law affords him certain "rights"...etc.
But "secondary" doesn't define my feelings for Dude. Our relationship is much closer than my relationship with MrS was at the same "timeframe" of our relationship (just over a year together). Apparently I am quicker at closeness the second time through - practice (all both of them) makes perfect. 19 years ago I would have defined MrS as my "primary" because he was the person I was closest to (closer than I had ever been to anyone before) - I didn't know that I could let someone closer to me than that, now I do. I guess I view my relationship with Dude as "heading toward co-primary" but not there yet - we need more time (he says he plans on being here for a long time, so we will see how that works out
). He lives with us. He does chores. I pay our mutual bills. He is a resident, not a guest, in the home we all share - but if I dropped dead tomorrow he would have only the "privileges" of my widowers best friend from a societal/financial/legal standpoint (i.e. MrS could cancel his joint credit card if he wanted to).
My other relationships have maintained the same "tertiary" (FWB) status for 6-19 years - they haven't evolved to that level of closeness - which is fine and happy-making for those relationships. Not every relationship needs to evolve to primary (or even secondary status) - some relationships find their niche and are happy where they are. Letting relationships be free to be what they are also means letting them NOT be what they aren't. There is no "goal" - there is only what "is".
On being "out" - due to my profession this is not possible in the general sense. We are out to our closest friends. Our families know that Dude lives with us (they may be confused but that is THEIR problem). Dude comes up in casual conversation with acquaintances/coworkers without defining the relationship - he is "MrS's coach-surfer friend" if it comes to that.
5-10-15 years down the road our families will probably figure it out. >shrug< Mom has already decided that his role is MrS's adopted "brother-in-law" - which is close enough to "family" for her - he gets invited to T-giving dinner. MrS told his folks that Dude is "officially" living with us - whatever that means to them. Once I retire (10-15 years if everything goes according to plan) then I can acknowledge Dude as my "other partner" publically (assuming he is still here
) and get involved in some poly-activism. Dude knew this from the beginning...it was part of what he signed up for. If our relationship gets to the point where it feels right to try to get him "co-primary" (i.e. husband-like) rights legally then we will do so to the extent that I can unravel the legal issues (took me 4 years to get there with MrS - we got married to do it...)
What to make of all this rambling? No clue. Relationships are what they are, they go the way they go. People are people. We use imperfect language to try to communicate with others to share our experiences.
PS. apropos of this thread - Dude teasingly accused me of being "Boy-One-Centric" today because when I got home they both asked for hugs at practically the same time...MrS got his first (this is even funnier because MrS NEVER asks for hugs/physical affection and Dude ALWAYS does - gotta love those "love languages")
PPS. Have I mentioned lately that I am seriously the luckiest girl in the world?
PPPS. Dude maintains the right to stay friends with MrS if we ever break up - does that mean that he is MrS's "primary" best friend? Does that trump his "secondary" romantic/sexual relationship with me?