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Old 03-21-2013, 05:41 AM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Saskatchewan
Posts: 2,251

Just having a hierarchy doesn't mean you have veto power and control issues. When I see problematic behaviour in primary/secondary relationships, I try to focus specifically on the "abuse via veto power/rights, abandonment, OPP's, control and wielding power" and leave the hierarchy as incidental. Because really, it is. Even people without hierarchy can still have control issues and exhibit possessive behaviour.

But I do acknowledge that the term has those connotations, and I prefer to avoid them. I personally don't feel the need to describe my relationships as hierarchical, even though there are aspects of my life that I share with my husband that I will never share with my girlfriend (finances, housing, parenting.)

I don't really see any advantage to describing relationships as hierarchical or using the terms primary/secondary, even descriptively. In my opinion, "husband" and "girlfriend" and "life partner" carry the necessary explanation without hinting at one person being somehow better or more important than another person. I don't object when other people use them to describe their own relationships, but I do buck when people try to pin the labels on me, even descriptively.

I have this one acquaintance who thinks of herself as an expert on polyamory. She even gives annual guest lectures on the topic in the university's Human Sexuality class. She is vehement in her rejection of hierarchy in her own life, but she sees no problem with declaring me to be in a hierarchical situation just because I'm married. If I actually cared about her opinion, it would bother me that she's given herself the authority to be the Official Distributor of Labels.
As I am sure any cat owner will be able to tell you,
someone else putting you in a box is entirely different
from getting into a box yourself.
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