Okay, I have come across this a couple of times in my relationship life and have been a witness to other peoples dilemmas also...
There seems to be a struggle sometimes when people come together, fall in love, or have the potential to fall in love and they come from different relationship back grounds.
I think this is also a mono thing too, but I have only witnessed it in the poly world and this is a poly forum sooooo.... needless to say, if anyone knows about how mono's deal with it, it might be helpful.
It seems that there are those who are doing the merged with other people thing in terms of kids, marriage/long term relationship commitment, finances and those that are not merged with anyone in this way yet, or have and are not now, or don't intend to be.
What seems to happen when two people meet that are on either end of the spectrum is that the one that has merged with someone or others has a hard time relating to the one that isn't and visa versa. Sometimes the one that is merged understands what is like to be un-merged and sometimes the one that is un-merged understands what it is like to be merged. It depends on the scenario.
It seems that new relationships such as these cause a lot of stress over and above ones that are in relationships that are either two people in a merged situation or not.
I have been trying to think what to say to a partner when you get together with them to help them understand what I need.... not that I am starting a relationship as such, but just as a way of understanding both sides and perhaps being able to offer some support and advice to those that are going through this... I find myself witnessing this often in terms of age differences in our community and life stage differences.
So far I have come up with telling a prospective partner (because I am, in fact, a merged person. So i am speaking for myself) that they need to know that my first responsibility is towards my child. I need them to know that and support that. It is my responsibility to raise a child that is not only tolerant of mummies time doing her own thing, but also that mummy is always there for him if he needs it. That is a tricky balance and I would need a partner to not only understand that, but be able to support me in that and let me know that I should not feel guilty about that responsibility or in anyway concerned for them in the moment that I need to cancel because of my child.
I would need some level of understanding about this around my husband also. I am not able to take off for a fun weekend on our money without consulting him and balancing it out somewhere else. Not only financially but emotionally... I need to be present in our relationship first and foremost. I don't have the luxury of being lost in NRE at the drop of a hat, it needs to be curbed and guided into the moments that I am with my love. Someone who is not merged would have to understand and know that and not make me feel pressured or guilty for not being available 24-7 to spend all day in bed smooching.... or the like
So, I guess I would ask of a partner to be graciously considerate and sometimes cautiously invested (for their own good and therefore mine, at least for a time). I would ask them to not expect to be the center of attention in my world all the time, but at times that we can capture and plan. I would ask them to be grateful that they are a part of my life and allow me to be grateful that I am a part of theirs... I would ask them to be humble and to have faith that I care about them, respect their needs, will be their as much and as often as I can and that what will be will be. Faith that I do what I can out of love for them and others in my life that I am merged with.
Really it comes down to a lot of faith. Having faith being the ability to trust blindly without knowing what is going on all the time, having no control and not knowing what the future will hold.
I purposely did not use primary and secondary roles in this as I feel as if I am done defining at this point in our well established family of loving loves... that was good at the beginning in order to make sure that my child was taken care of first...and that my marriage was going forward into poly with some stability, but now I feel as if I have moved beyond needing a defined term and am on to the nitty-gritty of what it is really all about in terms of requests of those I love or would bring into my life to love... what I am really asking of them in essence.
any thoughts on this?