Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat
Everybody is more important to one person than they are to someone else. It might be that you're more important to you mom than you are to your aunt, or that you're more important to one partner than you are to another... But that's not hierarchy, it's just life.
That's a fair clarification SC.
The distinction I would make is when a hierarchy would seem to exist simply because of competing needs which are being met by the people with relevant tendencies/skills and when one exists because it is designed that way.
What you described is simply life, I agree. It is the way people interact with each other without necessarily deciding to do so. IV depends on CV for things that she wouldn't generally come to me for. It's not because she loves him more or he has some kind of status that I lack, but simply because he freely offers some advantages that I don't. This situation exists in the reverse order as well.
The hierarchy I was speaking of is the one that exists because it is designed that way. Most workplaces have a hierarchy, not because of the abilities of the people but because that's just the way that it is. If we are lucky the people in positions of authority over a certain set of tasks actually have some expertise in the field and are competent leaders. I work for a troupe of moderately well trained monkeys who I answer to because that's what it says on the organization chart, not because they actually have something to offer (other than authority).
I equate relationships with primary and secondary type titles to this kind of of stifling system. This is more pronounced when the titles given to partners come with a list of socially imposed assumptions; Husband and Wife are at the front of this list. No matter how enlightened a poly group may try to be, they are swimming against the current if they use these titles and expect to not live within what I would call a hierarchy. Titles are shorthand for descriptions of authority and responsibility, that's why they are convenient. I can say I'm someone's manager and pretty much stop there - they get what the dynamic is. With husband or wife I would argue that it is similarly stifling.