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  #11  
Old 05-15-2012, 08:34 PM
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I'm not a mono/secondary, but my "primary" is mono, so I do have some experience in the sorts of issues that you are facing....

I'm going to quote quite a few lines of what you wrote, here, so there is a context...
Quote:
Originally Posted by blytheandbonny View Post
I'm sort of turning over the question in my head this evening of whether or not being secondary in the hierarchy means I am getting (or settling for) less.
Less implies a comparison - less than something else. To me, this either means less than you need, or less than someone else is getting. The first is a healthy question to ask, in my mind, the second one most definitely not.

As an example - my previous OSO's husband had semi-recently died when we started and the last thing she needed was another husband - she was an independent woman who wanted time to go out and explore, now her kids were old enough to be out on their own. So we started what could be described as a "secondary" relationship. We spoke very often, at least once a day, and we spent a weekend together once a month, and did occasional vacations together. Her friends kept telling her that she was "settling" because I had a primary, and she kept telling them that she was getting everything out of our relationship that she needed and wanted. But still they kept saying "you deserve more".

I think that it's vitally important NOT to settle for less than you need and most of what you want out of a relationship. But don't use the standards of society or monogamous friends to determine what those needs and wants are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blytheandbonny View Post
Sort of in the context of answering the question, "If you give all of yourself to someone, why would you settle for any less in return?"
Is giving all of yourself to someone, and expecting them to do the same a priority for you? One of the principles of poly is that, by definition, you are not going to give every single thing you have to this person - and there are some that would say that giving them everything is unhealthy.

If you expect the other person who is poly to give all of themselves to you, then I don't think that a poly person is ever going to be capable of meeting your expectations....

Quote:
Originally Posted by blytheandbonny View Post
Is being a secondary necessarily a comment on where I am in the hierarcy v. where the relationship stands on its own merit relative to SO's life, given the natural evolution of the relationship as it stands now?
It could be either, depending on the relationship. That would be a very good question to know the answer to. I (and others) often refer to this as "descriptive vs. prescriptive" - does this describe what you are, or does it dictate what you are?

Quote:
Originally Posted by blytheandbonny View Post
If all of my emotional, mental, and physical nourishment needs are being met in the relationship as it stands right now in this moment in time, does the SO's relationship with anyone else (primary or otherwise) make what I have/get less? I'm still winning, yes?
If we're talking about love and commitment, to someone mentally wired to the monogamous way of thinking, that answer is yes, absolutely it is less. If someone loves someone else as well as you, then they absolutely are not loving you 100% - you are only getting a piece of the pie.

To a poly person, this absolutely does not compute. For them, there isn't a pie to get divided up - love isn't a zero-sum game. Loving someone else doesn't have any bearing on how much you love someone.

I have found that both of these mental process are very difficult to comprehend if you are on the "other side"...

Now there are two other things that are NOT infinite - time and money. Those are definitely a "piece of the pie", no matter how everyone is wired, and need to be negotiated.

As for what the future holds, that is definitely something that only you and your partner can know. Discussing future goals is very important and should not be neglected. I would just caution against trying to make it fit some prefabricated idea about how relationships should evolve - poly breaks most of those molds.
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  #12  
Old 05-16-2012, 02:19 AM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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To answer the question, if your needs are met, it's all good.
There are other reasons you could be a "secondary", even in a monogamous relationship. If your partner had a very demanding job for instance. If they had obligations towards their family (a sick family member, maybe, or children from a previous relationship). If they had a strong relationship with their friends and saw them more often that the average person.

In all of these cases, you could feel neglected and taken for granted. If you do, it's bad. But if your needs are met, if you're fine with the relationship the way it is, it's not settling. It's a relationship that works for you, regardless of whether it might have worked for other people.
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:15 AM
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There have been a lot of mono/poly people come through these parts with similar concerns. My bf for one. He has always called himself my secondary, but he is only in terms of no shared assets. He lives with my husband and I and contributes to the house, but if my husband and I were to split we would have to sort out assets, bf and I don't have to do that. That is the only basis for primary/secondary that makes sense to me.

Check out some threads by doing a tag search here for "mono/poly." Could be useful.
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  #14  
Old 05-16-2012, 03:29 PM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
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The general question was if one person has a single romantic focus why settle for a fraction ....(depending on the number of partners) in return?
Complicating that discussion the words "all" and "love" got used with the infinite shades of gray that come alone with them.

Everyone has a myriad of demands on their time and outside interest are normal and healthy. In fact being someones "all" could be considered unhealthy and tip toeing towards the edge of Co-dependency if not actually well into Co-dependency. So in some cases the outside relationship is looked at as a hobby.... just another outside interest with time demands. Then you got the tangle of quantifying love and how that fits into each relationship and the math problems with fractions or long division.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CielDuMatin View Post
To a poly person, this absolutely does not compute. For them, there isn't a pie to get divided up - love isn't a zero-sum game. Loving someone else doesn't have any bearing on how much you love someone.
Perhaps not a zero sum game but people here say all the time they love one partner more than another. There is a thread on this very page in which the poster has said that many times. In that case its known and a relationship between secondaries (for lack of a better word)...so no problem.

I'd argue it's not just time and money but overall how that "love " is expressed. The infinite ways in which we choose to express that love is how that pie gets divided. Those choices, in actions and in words could be how unstated hierarchies are built.


I have not been in the mono secondary spot ....officially. Just the declaration I made to my wife and it wasn't talked about in depth so I'm not sure settle would apply. But in the grand scheme of poly I'd probably say yes I did settle ...because I loved my wife and wanted her to be happy, and I desperately did not want my kids to suffer a divorce if this was something that would have no effect or a positive effect on our relationship....going with the hobby model. And that's how this was painted. I was willing to try like hundreds of others who's come through here. Unfortunately the reality was somewhat different for me. Do I regret my decision to try ...(settle) ...because of its complex nature Yes and No.

Last edited by dingedheart; 05-16-2012 at 11:43 PM.
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  #15  
Old 05-16-2012, 03:49 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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Now, obviously romantic love and maternal/paternal love are different beast.
BUT most people understand that if you say you love one child with "all of your heart", it doesn't mean you have no love left for the other. You still love all of them with all of your heart.
If you felt that you could only have one child, but your partner had that child with you, and children with other people, it might be harder and more complicated. But surely you wouldn't doubt that he loves you shared kid just because he has others. You could doubt it based on his words or actions, but not just because he has more kids.

Similarly, my father told me when I was younger that a parent will always love their child more than their child loves them, because of the care creating strong bonds. Now, I don't think it's absolutely true since there are completely abusive parents who are still loved by their children, but I understand the concept of it. Even if the love is huge both ways, it's a different involvement and interest in your child's life than they have in yours. They love you, but their life doesn't revolve around you. For a parent, their life might very well revolve around their kid(s).
And while a romantic relationship is between equals and parenthood is not, people are not usually bothered by the asymmetry. People don't generally think "I go to my kid's end of year play but he won't show up for my company Christmas Party" and they don't feel less loved as a result.

What I mean is that I don't think a poly person loves a mono person any less than they're loved due to being poly (first point) but that even if they did love in a different way, it's not necessarily a problem if the relationship works and you get what you want out of it (second point). A successful relationship doesn't require perfect symmetry; it requires people being happy and comfortable in it, and if they aren't, working towards being so.
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  #16  
Old 05-16-2012, 08:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dingedheart View Post
Perhaps not a zero sum game but people here say all the time they love one partner more than another. There is a thread on this very page in which the poster has said that many times. In that case its known and relationship between secondaries (for lack of a better word)...so no problem.
Maybe it's just me, then, but a couple of comments on this point from my personal perspective...

First, I find that I can't quantify the amount of love I feel for a person. Being unable to do that, it's very hard for me to do any sort of comparison of whether I love one person more than another.

Second, my point wasn't really about comparing. I was trying to say that just because I start loving a new person it doesn't automatically follow for me that I love my existing partners any less. I don't have a fixed amount of love to go around that gets "shared" and therefore I don't have to negotiate (with others or in my own mind) how much I give to each. I think that many poly folk feel this same way, based on folks' forum posts. That is why one of the symbols for poly is a heart with an infinity sign over the top.

Each of my loving relationships is unique and comparing them is not an exercise I find useful, because I don't find that it serves any positive purpose.
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  #17  
Old 05-17-2012, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CielDuMatin View Post
First, I find that I can't quantify the amount of love I feel for a person. Being unable to do that, it's very hard for me to do any sort of comparison of whether I love one person more than another.
Just my thoughts.

From my perspective as a Mono-Sec, I don't think the issue is that we doubt that we are loved less. I don't feel that at all.

I'm loved differently, which is normal. You never love anyone the same way as you love another, regardless of the nature of the relationship.

My bf is very clear that the amount of time that we spend together is not a direct correlation to the amount of love that he feels for me. If anything, we realize that our limitations in being together just makes our bond stronger - NRE is extended, we value our time, it's more of an extended "honeymoon" than the mundane day-to-day. We focus on all that's good. It's true quality time. And I like that.

I think the real issue is whether or not you are content with the time commitment that your partner can provide and whether or not you can accept that. Time Spent does not equal Love Felt.
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Old 05-17-2012, 03:08 PM
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Just a thought.... I know there are many more Mono Secondaries on this forum.....

I'm surprised there are not more comments.
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  #19  
Old 05-17-2012, 03:24 PM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
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Ciel,

No it's not just you. I think both opinions or views are prevalent here.
With in all that you have the distinction of "being in love" and having a loving bond. Ive heard many times "I love the person but I'm not "in love" with them.

Could one argue that love is pure energy? And that loving relationships are just a exchange or transfer of energy. Which makes the quantifying process difficult or impossible.

Do you have any mono partners?


Tonberry,

Funny the parent child analogy was used by my wife until I pointed that her sister was the agreed upon favorite and I have a much closer relationship with my parents than my sister...bordering on excommunication. And lots of parents and children disown each other and the same with siblings.

I think the op was suggesting that from a self worth point of view that equality and symmetry could be vital components to her happiness and comfort.


Newtoday,

Great point .....1 out of 6 who responded. 700 and counting on the number of views and you are the only one to respond. Seems strange.

Last edited by dingedheart; 05-17-2012 at 04:46 PM.
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  #20  
Old 05-17-2012, 04:58 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dingedheart View Post
Tonberry,

Funny the parent child analogy was used by my wife until I pointed that her sister was the agreed upon favorite and I have a much closer relationship with my parents than my sister...bordering on excommunication. And lots of parents and children disown each other and the same with siblings.

I think the op was suggesting that from a self worth point of view that equality and symmetry could be vital components to her happiness and comfort.
Yes, I have a bad relationship with my parents so I know it happens. But usually with that kind of love, people don't question that it can be shared with more than one person. Does not mean it's always the case, mind you.

As I said, what matters is how people in the relationship feel about it. I didn't get that it was a problem in itself from the OP, just that blytheandbonny was worried it should be a problem. These are the quotes I'm basing this impression on:

Quote:
If all of my emotional, mental, and physical nourishment needs are being met in the relationship as it stands right now in this moment in time, does the SO's relationship with anyone else (primary or otherwise) make what I have/get less? I'm still winning, yes?

[...]

On the other, do I need to consider that despite how close we get in this hypothetical future, will I always be content to be a "secondary" as long as my needs are met? I mean, that's a possibility, right?

[...]

And, again, if needs are being met, what does being "secondary" even mean in the big picture?
What I read here is "my needs are being met. So it's okay, right?" and "It's possible that it will stay that way, right?" as in "I'm a bit incredulous that I don't feel taken advantage of here. It seems (from friends, society, whatever) that I should. Is the other shoe going to drop?"

But the feelings of "wait, shouldn't I feel bad about it? Am I going to regret it later?" are pretty common in polyamory when you start out. In my experience at least. I don't think it means the OP feels a need for symmetry. Only that they're curious about why they don't, and want to check if there are others in the same case.

I would very much like to know what the OP has to say about it, if I got it right or not.
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