Since beginning our poly relationship I have read a lot of stuff about poly on the Internet. I knew of poly beforehand, but not much beyond that. Thus, learning about all the different ways of "doing poly" has caused me to reflect a lot on what kind of a poly is good for me. What is it that I want, what feels right to me, and what doesn't.
One poly "style" I can't relate to is a rigid primary/secondary view of partners. I have a really strong feeling of wanting my partners to be equal, and had this feeling even before embarking on poly. I have had some difficulties wrapping my mind around the concept of equality not meaning sameness, and what that means in practice, but I'm getting there. Anyway, today I was thinking more about why I feel a primary/secondary relationship wouldn't feel right to me.
One thing I realised was that there is a conflict between what I feel is right and one thought often (but not always!) associated with the primary/secondary view. The thought being "You will be my primary: therefore in case of a conflict situation, you and your needs will always come before the one's of my secondary partner, simply due to that position.". I.e. I would give my primary partner a right to demand anything from me, no matter how unreasonable, because "he was there first" (or because I gave him that position). The underlying assumption being that I will make choices based not on any objective reasons but on "who I love the most" or "who is the most important to me" or whatever the primary status is supposed to signify. Of course, there is usually an assumption that goes with it that the primary partner won't demand anything completely unreasonable and horrifying; say, my secondary's mother dies and my primary doesn't want me to spend time comforting her because he want's to watch a movie. But, I don't know. Sometimes it can be used that way, e.g. vetoing somebody without any significant reason. And, if I make decisions and choises based on how reasonable the request is, why would my partner need a primary status if they are not planning on making unreasonable requests? Either they are, or they don't trust me to take them and their needs into consideration. Either way, I think there's a deeper problem.