Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG
Contribution = commitment
Commitment = impact
Impact = importance
Importance determines primary or secondary
Here's a quick exercise - imagine what would happen if you removed each of your relationships from your life one at a time.
Which one would affect your life and the life of those around you most? Which one would cause you the most stress across a broad spectrum? Which one might cause you to lose your house, might disrupt the lives of your family members? Which one might make maintaining your property a greater burden? Would one in particular would cause your children distress if you have them?
I get what you mean by this, but this exercise would severely fall down in my life as it stands. Aside from the fact that I don't like to measure my relationships in terms of negative impact, if any of my flatmates decided to leave or change something in our terms, my life would be severely disrupted. In some cases they could disrupt my family. The will most certainly have a huge impact on my finances, my living situation and my ability to maintain my living space. Yet I am not in any kind of primary relationship with them.
Emotional impact is one thing, but it is hardly the only thing. That is how I see the determination of primary and secondary relationships.
I don't think that's the point for people who don't want to use hierarchical models of relationships. If it's a descriptor for how the relationship naturally exists and those words feel right for you then great. Other people would probably use words that don't imply rank because they don't feel the need to rank, but rather fit people into their lives as they will fit. That doesn't mean they are applying some naive view that they are all equal. It means they are applying a system by which each relationship is measured on it's own merit rather than being compared to one another. I personally prefer the latter to the former.
Originally Posted by Derbylicious
It's a discussion of pros and cons. I was just offering up my view. My feeling is that sometimes it's easier to use lables for things to have a common language to fall back on. Of course there has to be more discussion on what the relationship expectations are for everyone involved but if you are clearly looking for someone to have the occasional date with due to time constraints ect. why not be upfront when meeting people saying that you are looking for a secondary? Seems to me that it's a good way to avoid crushing people's expectations if they are looking for more from you than you are able to provide.
That makes sense to have common language and if those terms work to describe the dynamic for some people then there's nothing wrong with that. However, to answer your question from my personal perspective about why not just say that you're looking for a secondary: From my point of view, if I was approaching a relationship and the person said to me that they were looking for a secondary, what that says to me is that they will be measuring the relationship we have against his or her primary relationship. It also tells me that terms have been set about the dynamic that directly impact the relationship I'd be in and that I never get to have a say in. While that may work for some people, that has absolutely zero appeal for me.
If a person approached me for a relationship but was clear about what other relationships they may have at the time and what those relationships meant and what boundaries are there for them, but also with the idea that building a relationship with me is important to them and wanted to explore a partnership with me, I'd be much more interested.
I recognize that there are plenty of people out there that have no problem with the label secondary or primary. And there are plenty of people who have no problem entering into a relationship that carries the label "secondary". I'm just not one of them.
However one thing I would ask those people who are in primary partnerships and looking for "secondary" partners: If you didn't have that primary relationship and your only choice in partnerships was to be someone else's secondary, would that be satisfying to you?
Edit: And just to address the first couple of sentences. Yes, this is a discussion of pros and cons and you were just offering up your views. My questioning of the views you offered was not a questioning of your right to offer them or the validity of those views. My questioning was a continuation of the discussion of the pros and cons, which also involves examining the views that are offered.