Originally Posted by River
I don't want to love any of my partners any less and I don't want to rank them in any way.
Oh, to me it's not about amount of love, it's about the kind of relationship I guess. A tertiary would be someone that due to some constaints, you don't get to see often and or are more casual with, so a friend with benefits or a partner I only see once a year and don't have much contact with the rest of the time would both count as tertiaries for me.
A primary would be someone I want to share my life with, live with, make big projects with, plan finances together, share big expenses, and if I wanted kids or if they have them, the kids would be raised together.
A secondary is in the middle, someone who has other attachments, for instance a primary and children who live somewhere else, and who always will need that family (their children) to have a priority lane, meaning that if we're having a date and something happen to their kids, they ditch me and I go back home (vs a primary for whom we'd both go back home see what's going on, since it would concern both of us).
It wouldn't be about the amount of love, but more the time and energy that would be required for such a relationship. I'd never tell someone "hey, let's date, but you'll me my tertiary because that sounds good". However I may meet someone, and we'd realise we can't see each other often, or that our life plans are too different, or that we're friends more than lovers, and our relationship would be tertiary.
For me it's more of a description. It's like saying a childhood friend or a close friend or a distant friend, it's not something I decide and it's not about me deciding to love them more or less, it's about what life throws at us and how we end up in relation to one another.