Originally Posted by Mya
Well that depends what the pre-existing relationship was like before the new person came along. You know, not all couples are that couple-centric to begin with. You don't necessarily have to downgrade the old relationship for the old and new relationship to become equal. And remember, equal doesn't always mean the same. Equal can mean just equally important and equally considered in life decisions for example. It doesn't mean that the two people will get everything (time, attention, sex etc.) exactly the same amount. It means that no one is higher in the hierarchy than the other when making plans and decisions.
I'll take myself as an example. I used to have two partners. I had been with my husband for 8 years when I started dating my new partner. During my marriage I had lived in a different place than my husband many times and that was always fine for us. We spent quite a lot of time with our own friends and also we didn't fully share our finances. When I started my new relationship, which was an LDR at the time, I flew to see her for a week at a time every month. But that wasn't much of an adjustement to my husband since we were so used to spending time apart anyway. I never felt I was downgrading my relationship with him but still felt like my relationships were equal to me.
Everyone doesn't have the same starting point as you.
Which is why it's so interesting, and so important for me, to be on this board. I get to discover lives very different from mine.
I come from a long line of "couple-oriented" people, this is how my marriage has turned out to be as well, and this is how most of my friends (and virtually all my close friends) are. It is hard for me to imagine any other "good" relationships - even if I know that they exist. I have seen plenty of relationships fall apart, of course, usually because one partner "had an affair" (as it is called in the mono world), and the other partner couldn't accept this (or the one with the affair just wanted out).
The interesting thing is that although our friends and acquaintences consider us very close, they are sometimes taken aback when they discover that I and my wife have a fair amount of autonomy (which is how it should be, in my view). We pursue different hobbies, have some friends separate from each other, and have even, occasionally, gone on short holidays alone. Good thing that our friends don't know (as yet, anyway) that I am considering polyamory!
The downgrading issue is interesting, and thanks for commenting on it. It's going to be a self-regulating thing, I expect. If it looks like a possible new relationship will require a serious downgrading of my marriage, I will not enter it. I know, it is not easy to foresee the future, especially one's future state of mind - but then I have managed my emotional life pretty well so far, why would it be different in the future?