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Old 08-26-2011, 09:59 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Default is there a better word?

I've been thinking a lot about primary and secondary as terms to describe relationships.

It seems like a lot of people are willing to accept the idea that a newer lover, or a less involved lover, may be equal in love and respect but not necessarily equal in terms of making life decisions together or getting priority for time, commitment, etc. Things may change over time, a lover who was once secondary may become co-primary. But until that happens, or if it never happens, I find it useful to have a way to talk about the relationship's structure.

However, even those people who acknowledge the idea of the sort of relationship described above often seem to HATE the word "secondary" itself. Or, if not hate it, they at least may be kind of uncomfortable with it or see it as meaning a whole host of bad things. Like, people may assume that folks who have a commited life partner (a primary) and call another relationship secondary are going to have a host of rules, or are going to think of the newer person as disposable, or are going to mistreat their secondary partner.

I don't want to bring up a big discussion of "why don't we get rid of all these labels." We need words in order to think and talk about things. As long as the words are descriptive and not prescriptive, I think we're all good.

Maybe the problem is the word itself. Maybe secondary sounds too negative... maybe people can't help it, they see or hear it and they think second place, second in love, always thought of last, etcetc.

Can we as a community find a word that conveys the concept without all the negative baggage? Or is it just inevitable that the way people so often mishandle their relationships with newer partners will taint any word associated with the concept? Has anyone tried to come up with a new system of talking about these things before? Should it just be unique to every set of relationships (that would make it really hard to easily discuss things as a community...)?

Thanks for your thoughts!
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Old 08-26-2011, 10:12 PM
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Just a little question here.

How,..does a group of people that encourage each other to face the things they are afraid of, for example - jealousy, then turn around and want to forget words that make them uncomfortable ?
We don`t come up with a new word for jealousy, just because we don't like it.

Why not face the words, face what makes us uncomfortable about it, and find some way to accept it ?

Fear is fear, is it not ?

I think people should be encouraged to find a level of acceptance, rather then duck and avoid.

*******

There seems to be a number of people who have equated 'secondary' with being 'not good enough'. I think that is more from former baggage they have yet to claim !

Rather then accepting the fact that it can be a whole lot of different things, depending on the various people involved.

I say,...work on that.
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Old 08-27-2011, 12:57 AM
Chimera Chimera is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SourGirl View Post
Just a little question here.

How,..does a group of people that encourage each other to face the things they are afraid of, for example - jealousy, then turn around and want to forget words that make them uncomfortable ?
We don`t come up with a new word for jealousy, just because we don't like it.

Why not face the words, face what makes us uncomfortable about it, and find some way to accept it ?

Fear is fear, is it not ?

I think people should be encouraged to find a level of acceptance, rather then duck and avoid.

*******

There seems to be a number of people who have equated 'secondary' with being 'not good enough'. I think that is more from former baggage they have yet to claim !

Rather then accepting the fact that it can be a whole lot of different things, depending on the various people involved.

I say,...work on that.
You're saying people should just accept uncomfortable words, word that make them feel less than? So you'd ask us to put up with a whole lot of hate words in this society right now? Personally I'm glad that we don't have to just get over it. It's not fear driving this or discomfort, it's anger, rejection, it's the fact that some people don't feel like they have to accept the logic behind those words.

"Secondary" has negative connotations of "less than" in our society. It does, it's not just personal "baggage." Why should anyone have to accept hierarchical language if they are working to not live their lives in that way? Hierarchy isn't "natural." We don't have to give in to rankings, competition, less than, more than. Language is incredibly important and I think AnnabelMore's question is a valid one.
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Old 08-27-2011, 02:12 AM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
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Just because you don't like the word and don't use the word doesn't mean that relationships aren't hierarchtical .

What about alternate ....much softer ...kinder ....I think I got something here ..
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Old 08-27-2011, 03:27 AM
marksbabygirl marksbabygirl is offline
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I went to dictionary.com and thesaurus.com and looked up the actual definition of "secondary" and its synonyms.

Depending on what point of view you want to take, secondary CAN be seen as less than or less desirable.

From dictionary.com:
sec·ond·ar·y   [sek-uhn-der-ee] Show IPA adjective, noun, plural -ar·ies.
adjective

1.next after the first in order, place, time, etc.
2.belonging or pertaining to a second order, division, stage, period, rank, grade, etc.
3.(in scholarly studies) pertaining to or being a derived or derivative account, an evaluation of original data, etc.; not primary or original, as in secondary source; secondary research .
4.of minor or lesser importance; subordinate; auxiliary.


From thesaurus.com:
Main Entry: secondary
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: subordinate; less important
Synonyms: accessory, alternate, auxiliary, backup, bush-league, collateral, consequential, contingent, dependent, dinky, extra, inconsiderable, inferior, insignificant, lesser, lower, minor, minor-league, petty, relief, reserve, second, second-rate, small, small-fry, small-time, subject, subservient, subsidiary, substract, supporting, tributary, trivial, under, unimportant
Antonyms: first-class, first-rate, important, primary, superior


So based on those definitions of what a secondary is... yeah - those are not very pleasant.

In case you're wondering - I like to make sure we're all working with the same definitions before I give an opinion.

I prefer the above bolded & underlined definitions. That's how I use secondary.

Not inferior, insignificant, lesser, lower, minor, trivial or any of those. Simply, an auxiliary who has less time in my life due to the fact that I am a busy woman with a full life.

I can and do make time for things that are important to me. I am making time to go to Kamloops this weekend for derby - its important to me. If someone were to come into my life who was important to me - I'd make time. I do for my friends. I do for my family.

But derby doesn't get equal time with my husband and kids. My friends don't get equal time with my husband and kids. An auxiliary/secondary/supplementary person wouldn't get equal time - and I wouldn't expect equal time in their lives either.

It doesn't mean the people in my life are less important - it just means that I don't have a lot of time to give them.

For me.. .secondary isn't a bad thing. Its just a fact of time.
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Old 08-27-2011, 01:45 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marksbabygirl View Post

Not inferior, insignificant, lesser, lower, minor, trivial or any of those. Simply, an auxiliary who has less time in my life due to the fact that I am a busy woman with a full life.


...derby doesn't get equal time with my husband and kids. My friends don't get equal time with my husband and kids. An auxiliary/secondary/supplementary person wouldn't get equal time - and I wouldn't expect equal time in their lives either.

It doesn't mean the people in my life are less important - it just means that I don't have a lot of time to give them.

For me.. .secondary isn't a bad thing. Its just a fact of time.
I agree.

BTW, as a pagan who likes to read the Bible for fun, I recently found this deep in the Old Testament:

I found a family where a guy had 2 wives (1 Samuel 1):

"Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the LORD had closed her womb."

Interestingly, Peninnah means, "second."

"Because the LORD had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her."

Anyway, I've been wanting to post about that for a couple weeks. Just thought I'd throw it in there. Written about 2600 years ago...

The notes say Elkanah probably took a second wife to provide children.
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Old 08-27-2011, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimera View Post
You're saying people should just accept uncomfortable words, word that make them feel less than? So you'd ask us to put up with a whole lot of hate words in this society right now? Personally I'm glad that we don't have to just get over it. It's not fear driving this or discomfort, it's anger, rejection, it's the fact that some people don't feel like they have to accept the logic behind those words.

"Secondary" has negative connotations of "less than" in our society. It does, it's not just personal "baggage." Why should anyone have to accept hierarchical language if they are working to not live their lives in that way? Hierarchy isn't "natural." We don't have to give in to rankings, competition, less than, more than. Language is incredibly important and I think AnnabelMore's question is a valid one.
Actually, what I 'said' is whats written, not your twist with hate included. I am included in the 'we' part. I am going to be a secondary or less to other partners. I don`t have a problem with being seen as such. I don`t feel 'less then' in a wrong way.
I do believe fear drives all these label changes.
Btw,...Where does anger come from ? Hmmm ?

The following thought is actually what prompted my opinion.

Think more along the lines of 'step-father' and its meaning in society.

In some families a step-father is a secondary role. It`s accepted, yet the man knows that he is a secondary role to the biological father.

In other families, the step-father is as equally important as the biological father. providing love, and needs on a equal level.

And yet, in other families, a step-father is a primary role.

By its very definition, 'step-father' does not men less then, it is simply a way to denote that A) not biological b) they came into the picture second.

For all the bad press that can happen for step-parents, I am glad that the 'title' has not been ' owhh there is negative press about us so we need to be labelled something else'. Once upon a time, the title DID have a negative meaning, as divorce was less common.

It seems time can heal a lot of wounds. We can change titles all we want, but its just running away from the time and work that society tends to need to do, before things have a positive spin.
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Old 08-27-2011, 04:32 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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I guess my point about the Bible quotes was, they've been called secondaries for over 2600 years, it obviously works.

Of course, a 2ndary can be loved more than one's primary. Hey, it happens. Even after NRE fades, you could be more enamoured of your second than your first. Maybe she meets more of your needs and accepts the newer version of you better than your primary does.

Second as far as linear time goes, first in your heart...

My thoughts are so disjointed today. Hurricane fear messin with my head.
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
Second as far as linear time goes, first in your heart...
Exactly my situation. Of course, there is the difference that when I met Moonlightrunner, he was already married and hence I could at best be considered a co-primary, whereas my primary VanillaIce was single when we met.

I think the greatest difficulty with the term secondary is with those people who are, either by conviction or by happenstance only involved with the person who has a primary of their own. If both consider each other secondaries and have primaries of their own, I guess the baggage would be different, too.
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Old 08-27-2011, 04:52 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Interesting connection with the term step-father, Sour, that makes a lot of sense. I agree that we need to redeem the inherent honor and respect of the role for those who choose it, and that's about way more than the word. It's about education, mainly. And it will, very much so, be different for every situation.

My concern is just about whether or not "secondary" gives people the wrong idea from the very start (note those less than cheery dictionary and thesaurus connotations versus "step" which doesn't really mean anything), and whether there's terminology that would be just as clear but wouldn't cause people to immediately think "less worthwhile."

A different term may or may not be called for, but I wanna see what we can come up with it. After all, ALL our terminology is so new, why not play with it?
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