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  #31  
Old 08-28-2011, 11:43 PM
Chimera Chimera is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AutumnalTone View Post

It certainly is natural. Do you spend an equal amount of time with each and every friend you have? No? You spend much more time with some than with others? That is the natural order of things--and it's hierarchical.


Trying to assign baggage you carry to perfectly good terms that other folks are happy to use is entirely your issue, however.
Hierarchy is not natural. There is variation within both the human species (across time and space -- in the archaeological record as well as anthropological record) and within other non-human species. Some have been/are organized in a more egalitarian or horizontal fashion, others are what we would see as hierarchical and "natural" to our current US society. So, of course, since that system is ours and also hegemonic at this point in history, we see it as natural.

If you choose to live your life that way, fine. I don't really care.
But don't try to claim it is natural and don't try to say that this is all just some baggage. I think others have covered the importance of language nicely already.

This also signals one of the main issues in our society -- how do we deal with difference. Unfortunately, our practice is to categorize it and rank it, rather than seeing it as variation and diversity. We also often understand "equal" as meaning something that has to be exactly the same, rather than something that is qualitatively similar.

Thanks River and Ray for your comments. I also don't believe that just because 2 relationships are different, that they have to be ranked. I see relationships as distinct certainly, but am not going to rank my love and caring. Thus, the need for a word or words that can capture differences and not carry negative connotations.

Again, if you like these words and they work for you, use them. I'd much rather pursue ideas of how to create more egalitarian ways of relating instead of replicating systems I see as harmful.

And, on that note -- one of my sweeties likes the phrase "part-time partner" since it points to our committed relationship, but acknowledges that we can only spend limited time together. I often just say my "sweeties."
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  #32  
Old 08-29-2011, 12:37 AM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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I have found primary and secondary to be useful terms to describe my relationships. That may not be always true. I also get that many people find these terms offensive and not descriptive of their lives and loves at all. A new word may be helpful.

However, I don't see a new term bridging different viewpoints on relationships. These include, among others, relationships where where hierarchy is recognized and acknowledged or where relationships are organized in more egalitarian lines.
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  #33  
Old 08-29-2011, 04:58 AM
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SourGirl SourGirl is offline
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Originally Posted by ray View Post
I have no issue if some one likes using the word secondary to describe THEIR relationship. I don't want to use it to describe MY relationships. In addition, I am fully aware that I have a difficult time with loverly relationships of a non-primary nature. I have decided not to engage in them for the time being. I like to throw myself in whole-heartedly and that can be problematic in that role. Why is it so terrible for some of us to want a new, less-loaded term? I mean, seriously.... I feel like those of you who like the term are being a bit condescending in telling us that we just have problems and there's nothing wrong with the word period. There ARE legit concerns with this word that extend beyond a few people's "issues." If the word works for you, awesome! But let the rest of us ponder how we might find a solution that is good for us. We are all being responsible adults recognizing something that doesn't do it for us. Let us go about finding a solution both in dealing with our own issues and exploring the terminology.


Let the rest of you ponder,....

Uhhhh,..you ARE more then able to do as you please. This was a thread started with questions for ALL thoughts, not just yours and any cheerleading squad.
The question posed a 'we as the community', and other options. The objections have been solely on the concept of EVERYONE (community) having to change.

I dont think even ONE poster wrote anything to the effect that people can't do what they want in their own relationships. No one said anything as terrible.

What you have heard is various view points.

- Why people are not ok with the word,
- Why people won`t use it,
- Why people are ok with the word,
- Why they don't have a problem,

- and from me: On maybe stretching the brain a little, and seeing why it is such a touchy subject. Possibly dealing with the hurt, not the word.

That was offered as a option. We all have words that affect us negatively sometimes. It can do a lot of good to look deeper.
If you dont want to look deeper, thats fine. If you or anyone doesn`t agree, well,..don`t agree. Debate and consensus come from all avenues, not just the ones you want to see.

Also try and remember there are a LOT of people who not only are fine with that label, but who DO NOT desire to be loved as a primary, or in a primary role. Many times, things going on in their own lives ( raising children, demanding career, etc.) cause them to decide that they have time for a secondary role, not a primary one.

I had a very social weekend, and asked anyone I could what they thought of that word. I was around single people, married people, a real mix, and most were strangers.

Genneral consensus was :' It`s not what people say, it`s what people do.'

If a new label truly makes you feel better, go for it. Most people are objecting to the proposed thought, of the 'community' needing to change based on some planned movement. If a word really is a problem, majority will rule naturally and the tides will shift, due solely to the volume of people exhibiting a problem.
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  #34  
Old 08-29-2011, 05:30 AM
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I see where you're coming from, sourgirl but some of the comments, whether intended that way or not, came across as 'shut up, quit your whining, you've got issues. you're imagining a problem.

I am happy to read about the possible upsides of secondary. I do not, however, want to be told that the problem I'm discussing is imaginary and not worth talking about. That is what I kept hearing.

I think that this particular issue is a chicken/egg thing. Does the label encourage poor treatment of secondaries or did the treatment give rise to the label? Are they even correlated? Labels are powerful and they can influence us more than we know. I suspect that it is a complex issue with a complex answer. I think it is possible that the term secondary can unintentionally promote some patterns of behavior that are less than desirable. Think about a label like community college. It is an institution that fills a distinct and beneficial role. Yet, it can often be seen as a negative label. Even more so, the term, junior college. That is probably why they mostly go by community colleges now. Never underestimate the power of a word.
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  #35  
Old 08-29-2011, 06:27 AM
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Bahalana Bahalana is offline
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I'm getting dizzy from reading this thread. How many circles can we talk in at once? I think almost everyone who has replied has said essentially the same thing (and I'm paraphrasing here), "I do what I want for my own reasons, and everyone else is of course entitled to do the same". At least we all agree on that, unfortunately nobody asked anyone if they used the term secondary and why. The original post had four questions and almost nobody has even attempted to answer them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
1. Can we as a community find a word that conveys the concept without all the negative baggage?
2. 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?
3. Has anyone tried to come up with a new system of talking about these things before?
4. Should it just be unique to every set of relationships (that would make it really hard to easily discuss things as a community...)?
1. After having read through all of this I would have to say no. It seems to be too emotional of an issue on both sides.
2. Yes, I think it's inevitable that even if just a few people continue to make mistakes with new partners it will taint any word, because everyone always remembers your screw ups but quickly forgets your successes.
3. Not that I know of, but since no one has attempted to answer this I'll guess, no.
4. It seems that it already is unique to every set of relationships, and isn't likely to change anytime soon.
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  #36  
Old 08-29-2011, 01:11 PM
TruckerPete TruckerPete is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bahalana View Post
I'm getting dizzy from reading this thread. How many circles can we talk in at once? I think almost everyone who has replied has said essentially the same thing (and I'm paraphrasing here), "I do what I want for my own reasons, and everyone else is of course entitled to do the same". At least we all agree on that, unfortunately nobody asked anyone if they used the term secondary and why. The original post had four questions and almost nobody has even attempted to answer them.
Hahahaha ... Welcome to the forum.

There seems to be another issue at play here. Some want a different word to describe the different relationship with a (different) second person, yet still want everything to be absolutely, perfectly equal between those different partners. Not possible. Different people means different relationships, means sometimes one partner gets more or less of any given thing in the relationship.

Everyone should be treated fairly, not equally.

To get back to Annabel's questions (as numbered by Bahalana):

1. Yes. Sweetie, BF/GF, partner, OSO, lover ... the list goes on and on and on.

2. Absolutely inevitable. People are morons. They're also awesome, but it only takes 1 "aw shit" to cancel out 1000 "attaboys".

3. Perhaps those using the terms described above? Or those who decide not to use Primary/Secondary labels??

4. Yes. We get to do what we want in our own lives, for better or worse. Perhaps "the community" can give examples of times when they haven't used the secondary label, and what was used in its place so that those who object to its use IN THEIR LIVES have ideas for what they would like to call their relationships.


So, keeping #4 in mind, I call my second partner my boyfriend. But, we've been together for a while now, the three of us live together, and boyfriend is starting to feel like a juvenile label. TO ME, "boyfriend" does not describe the depth of our relationship. I imagine at some point in the nearish future, I will want to make the switch to partner or (other) significant other, and of course, this will only happen after talking to Mr. A.
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  #37  
Old 08-29-2011, 01:52 PM
marksbabygirl marksbabygirl is offline
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Sourgirl's description/analogy of a step-father is one that works for me.

My children's "secondary" father is more important in their lives than their "primary" father ever was.

He's not less than though.

Just as a "secondary" partner would not be less than my primary partner.

I understand that many people have been treated badly by others who have denoted them *secondary* and *disposable* but I think that rather than just rejecting out of hand a term, find out what the term means to the people involved, and whether the parameters of that term are fixed or fluid.

IE: I don't have a lot of time right now. I don't want another live in lover. So I am quite happy with someone who has/wants someone similar - who's looking for a secondary. But that may change... my life isn't stuck on one path.
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Last edited by marksbabygirl; 08-29-2011 at 01:56 PM.
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  #38  
Old 08-29-2011, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TruckerPete View Post



Everyone should be treated fairly, not equally.

.

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  #39  
Old 08-29-2011, 02:48 PM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
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.....but based on height....built in handicap for short people. Hey I'm looking out for the vertically challenged. Now I'm singing that Randy Newman song ...damn I hate when that happens .
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  #40  
Old 08-29-2011, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TruckerPete View Post
Everyone should be treated fairly, not equally.
Seems to me when I consider very particular situations, fairness itself generally boils down to equal treatment. But what does this mean?

Let's say the pie is being sliced, and there are a bunch of folks sharing it. Strict adherence to "equality" could mean measuring out equally sized pieces. But what if some of the people present are tiny and others giant? What if some have eaten glutonously and others are starving? What if some want a smaller piece than the average?

Equal treatment means differt things in different contexts, as does fairness.

Some folks here personally object to terms primary/secondary/tertiary (which have been popularized in the poly discourse) because they can easily be taken to rank people in importance, or because they can easily be taken to rank people in love, or in value, or in decision-making power, or... or.... What we were exploring is whether we can find words that don't come pre-laden with the baggage (connotations) which primary/secondary/tertiary come laden with. We were not attempting to enforce alternative words/labels..., to impose them on "the community" (what community?).

In my case, when I take on a lover, our hearts are connected such that I'm with and for them utterly. This will be so if one of my partners can't spend as much time with me as the other/s. It's just how I love. I love equally. I really do.
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