Originally Posted by WhatHappened
I think the difference here is that in general, people date with the intention and expectation of finding a spouse, with whom to grow old together. Obviously, there are exceptions to the rule. Obviously, it doesn't always work out that way. But there's some expectation and goal of that.
In secondary or outside poly relationships, it's much more likely that there's an expectation of impermanence, or at least little hope for permanence. Again, obviously there are exceptions.
But I'd be curious to know how many here go into a secondary relationship thinking, hoping, expecting, or planning that it might last a lifetime, that you might grow old with this person.
I would further point out that in the typical primary or mono relationship, actions are taken that require commitment, that show that expectation of building a life together, that entwine lives: buying a house together, getting bank accounts together, having children together.
This is much less likely with a secondary relationship.
Well, I was never one to think that any relationship will or should last a lifetime, even in my white-knight-seeking single monogamous days. Now, especially while dealing with my divorce, I have less faith in that ideal than I ever did, though I know it's very possible.
I don't subscribe to the primary/secondary hierarchy myself. No matter whom I would become get involved with, if I had several relationships that develop into deep caring and love, I would treat them all as equally important to me. That does not mean they couldn't have widely different needs or schedules, but no one would be less important, and I would hope the relationships continue as long as we are both enjoying and benefiting from them.
If I were to get involved with someone who went along with the primary/secondary hierachy, I would be extremely cautious. If he viewed me as a secondary, I would express this to them and let him know that I never want to feel that I am secondary nor treated as less important. Basically that would mean that our relationship dynamic is nurtured independently, my needs are met, I feel respected, valued, and heard, and treated in accordance with being respected, valued, and heard. I suppose I would want to have a good understanding of his relationship with his primary, and discuss these issues with my metamour, to know where I stand. I would never just blindly accept the role of "secondary," no matter how infatuated I might be.
I doubt I will ever want to get married again, and it will probably be a long time before I ever cohabit with someone or want a partner-type relationship (that doesn't mean I don't want something for the long term - it just means I am not into total entwinement). But I totally think it's possible to have long-term partnerships with multiple people, or with someone who has multiple partners even if I don't.
At Polymatchmaker's forums, I remember reading a thread about a member who had passed away surrounded by all her loves, current and former. It was a beautiful tribute. She had been poly many years, from what I recall, and reading it made me think about how you can have multiple loves and move into old age together. I think a large part has to do with giving up childhood fantasies we have about marriage and relationships.