Originally Posted by tigerlilly
are you automatically the secondary if you are dating one person in an open relationship?
No, not automatically (but it seems to happen quite commonly).
(Remember too, that not everyone uses the primary/secondary hierarchy.)
Say A and B have been dating for some time, but B is interested in dating lots of people and doesn't want to have any "primary-type" relationships at the current time. Say you start dating A, you two could develop a "primary-type" relationship while A and B maintain a "secondary-type" relationship. (Not saying that that is common - just that it could happen.)
Oftentimes, the relationship that has been going on the longest will have assumed "primary-type" proportions. Which doesn't mean that the newer relationships will necessarily remain "secondary" - but a "dating-partner" (trying the relationship on for size) is NOT the same level of involvement as a "life-partner" (relationship confirmed, committed to being together long-term). Which is NOT to say that that relationship is not significant - or that the individual does not deserve support and respect in their own right. If the "dating-partner" relationship grows and strengthens to "life-partner" - then you are heading towards "co-primary" regions.