It is hard to treat two people as a primary, even when you fully think of them as such. This is mostly a socio-cultural thing. Mainstream society tells us that we are in a deviant lifestyle because we have more than one mate, therefore even when we would like not to, we often find ourselves relegating one of our partners to second class status.
I found myself doing this to Freckles almost from the beginning.
Curls is employed by the public education system and therefore has a job which puts her in scandal territory should either the swinging or polyamory aspects of our lives ever get out in the open. I am not in quite the same position, but I AM in a job where I have more than two hundred employees under me, a number of which remember that Freckles used to work there. Compound this with the issue that while we don't live in a small town, we don't live in a very big one either... nearly every time I go out the door, I will run into someone that knows me.
Swinging wasn't an issue as much. Sure we have friends in town that are swingers, but they understand the need for discretion and provide such. The club we go to is 45 minutes away and we have never run into anyone we know there that isn't in our swinger circle in our town. (and seriously... even if we did, they would have to explain why they were in a swinger club every bit as much as we would
Poly is a totally different issue. Things like grocery shopping, going to dinner, anything... people we know see me with Curls, me with Freckles, Curls and Freckles together, sometimes all three of us at once. In a perfect world it would be easy to introduce them for who and what they are, but our world isn't perfect and we are forced to maintain a facade. As far as everyone else knows, especially coworkers, Freckles is a really good friend that is renting a room at our house because money is tight and she's working on finishing college. We don't do PDAs outside of the house unless we know we are somewhere safe that it won't be a problem.
On coming out to our families? We aren't there yet... With Curls' parents, we probably won't ever be. There are religious issues there, not to mention that her parents are just petty, nasty human beings who wouldn't hesitate to do something like call child protective services on us JUST because they disagree with our lifestyle. My parents would be much more understanding, and we are tailoring exactly how we intend to approach the conversation. We need to do it soon... there's only so many more holiday dinners we can invite Freckles along to before they start asking why we keep bringing our friend to family gatherings
Freckles already has a head start on us. She's already out of the closet with her family as being bisexual. Most of the ones that were accepting of this news are going to be accepting of anything else that comes down the pipe. The ones that weren't accepting aren't on speaking terms with her anyway, so what's the problem?
Here's the big question... how does Freckles feel about this? She claims it doesn't bother her, but it really does. I see it every time I have to tell some acquaintance that Freckles is a friend, and we are just hanging out... or she's a friend of my wife's... or some other lie of omission. We try very, very hard to make it up to her... she is treated like gold in our home. We have never treated or even though of her as our unicorn. She doesn't get treated like a free babysitter, or free sexual partner, or free housekeeper or whatever. She is a 100% partner in our lives, we don't make decisions without including her on anything.
Still... It would be so nice if things were different and we didn't have to hide what she means to us.