Originally Posted by JaneQSmythe
I frequently use hierarchical terms in a "descriptive" way when talking about my relationships - which does not mean that I subscribe to a "proscriptive" hierarchy that seems to be what is meant by "couple-centrism" (i.e. "You can never be as important to me as HE is." "You can NEVER love them as much as you love me.")
So, Dude lives with us and is MrS's best friend (and was before we ever met). Does this mean he is "equal" to MrS? I don't really know what "equal" means in this context. They both are equally likely to forget to take out the trash, they both get yelled at when they overspend the budget, etc. Does a 2-year "boyfriend" have the same relationship with me as a 16-year "husband" - of course not...we are just getting to know each other. On the other hand, he is closer to me than MrS was at the same duration of our relationship (I have a little practice at relationships now
) My current description is that I am married and my relationship with my boyfriend is "working toward" co-primary.
On the other hand the two relationships would not be "equal" even if I had met them at exactly the same time. Relationships grown, change, and develop at different rates. They are not the same person TWICE, they are different people, I have a different relationship with each of them. EACH of those relationships deserves the right to thrive and grow at whatever rate and whichever direction is appropriate for THAT relationship.
Your reply is great for me, for it allows me some insight into the kinds of domestic arrangements that poly people have. Obviously there are other kinds of domestic arrangements too, but people rarely seem to speak about such mundane things.
Now, someone moving into my household as a third member is one of the two conceivable poly relationships I would ever contemplate. Most of what is called "couple privilege" would simply disappear in such an arrangement - if it didn't, it would develop a hellish atmosphere on short order, and who wants to live in a hellish atmosphere?
The psychology of being the "new kid on the block" is fairly well known, and would tend to occur if someone moves into a household where two (or more) people already have lived together for a while. Fortunately this could not develop in my case, because the home I share with my wife is simply too small for three people. Not because we are dirt poor, but because we chose to retire to one of the most expensive cities in the world, and the choice was: do we want to live in a small place close to downtown, or in a larger place further out? We made our choice - at that time we were not yet in poly-thinking mode.
So, if a third person wanted to join us, we would have to move into a larger house or apartment. As my wife has no interest in having a lover, and I am not gay or bi, this third person would be a woman. She would have to invest into a third of the finances (otherwise she would be my live-in mistress, wouldn't she?), and assume a one-third role in all domestic work and decisions. Just to be fair and equitable, right?
At this point the "founder effect" would more or less wither away, because everyone's concerns would have equal weight in discussions. Of course there would be, at times, sentiments private to the initial couple, but everyone would be well advised to keep such feelings private. I have raised children, I know what I am talking about. There are times when a parent feels closer to the older child, just because (s)he has been around for longer, and there were times for special bonding with the first child before the second was born. But you don't show such feelings, and certainly not when the second child is around. In any case, there are compensatory feelings special to the second child, as (s)he is the younger, the one everyone (including the first child) babied more recently.
And, oh yes, no yelling in our household. Yell once too often, and it's over. Since taking out the garbage was mentioned - and this is my task usually - I may (occasionally) forget, because I am the absent-minded sort and my mind tends to be on more interesting things than taking out the garbage. So my wife (1) reminds me, gently, (2) waits until I too notice that it should be done, or (3) takes it out herself. Mono or poly, that's how loving relationships function, in my view. And yes, she also forgets to do things at times, and I react the same way. I didn't much yell at my kids either, and they grew into responsible adults for all that.