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  #21  
Old 08-27-2011, 07:45 PM
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Try introducing your two loves as "This is Mike, my primary partner ... and this here is Bob, my secondary". Then ask the typical listener how that felt, and how the situation seems.

I'd never, but never ever, treat anyone like that -- especially not a person I love!
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  #22  
Old 08-27-2011, 08:31 PM
tigrrrlily tigrrrlily is offline
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If the right word doesn't exist yet, is it maybe better to use a descriptively accurate sentence? Such as, this is Jon. We live together. This is Bob. We started dating lately.'?
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  #23  
Old 08-27-2011, 08:50 PM
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@tigrrrlily, I'm sure that many people do introduce it this way. That is certainly effective and polite.

this is also a question about identity. Human like labels. We have man, woman, gay, Asian, teenager, teacher, American, bad, artist, etc... We tend to get upset when things defy or don't have labels. We also use them to define ourselves. The problem with secondary is that sometimes it is not only a descriptor but it can come to be a part of our identity. Like the whole thing with an introduction. I'm not ok being labeled something that I wouldn't be ok being introduced by. That's the problem with secondary. As a descriptor it may occasionally be accurate but as an identity, it's shitty. Many of us do form important parts of our identity around our relationships. It's difficult not to. In that sense, its difficult for me to accept secondary.
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  #24  
Old 08-27-2011, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ray View Post
. . . but it feels like folks are trying to make those of us who'd like a new word feel badly about it.
To be fair, perhaps those of us who don't like the word may have expressed our objections in a way sounded like we wanted the folks who do like and use it to feel badly about it. I hope I didn't sound that way and I apologize for doing that. I am still trying to figure out what I want in my life, how I want polyamory to work in my life, and what kind of situations I would like to find myself in.

I think if someone I cared about asked me, "Would you be my secondary?" I wouldn't immediately reject the possibility (though that's an odd question, but I use it just as an example). First, I would have to ask what that means to him. Heck, the words "boyfriend" and "girlfriend" -- and even "relationship" -- are loaded with meaning for lots of people. So, what it comes down to is asking how someone views the relationship, I guess, moreso than what they call it.

I just don't like the idea of feeling like a secondary, if that makes sense. I don't mind having parameters to a relationship, as in amount of time spent, frequency, etc., but I never ever want to feel like, within the structure of my relationship with someone, that my opinions, feelings, right to make my own choices, how I want to spend my time with that person, etc., simply do not matter as much as anyone else's do. And I certainly never want to be in a situation where the physical aspects of my relationship are dictated by someone else not in the relationship, just because I'm considered a secondary. Ugh.

The article that Annabel linked to in her blog is rather brilliant:
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
It illustrates a few ways that someone designated a secondary should not be treated, and surely we have read similar stories from people who come here and post their tales of woe. I think, in that article, this paragraph says it best, especially the last sentence (IMHO):
"Because secondary relationships are often treated as disposable, secondaries may develop a sense of insecurity. They may fear that their lover's primary may at any time "veto" the relationship. This is an understandable fear in the current climate of polyamorous relationships, but I think that this can change. Secondary relationships, in their own way, are every bit as important as primary ones. They should involve just as much commitment and devotion as a primary relationship. The difference lay in the ground rules. Secondary relationships may be limited to one weekend a month, or perhaps it merely means a non-live-in relationship. But this does not limit the emotional connection or physical attraction that the secondary partners feel for each other. Whatever the rules are, once that relationship is established, it should not be so easily cast aside. Further, I think the only one who should make the decision to end the relationship is the person directly involved in it. "
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An excellent blog post against hierarchy in polyamory: http://solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-i...short-version/

Last edited by nycindie; 08-28-2011 at 03:55 AM.
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  #25  
Old 08-28-2011, 03:43 AM
Ready2Fly Ready2Fly is offline
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I dislike "primary" and "secondary" because they are comparison words... and I try to avoid comparing lovers, who are unique and wonderful people. Suppose you were single and then hooked up with someone... you'd never call that person your "secondary" partner if you had no "primary." The words themselves imply a pecking order.

No, the girl I hooked up with might be my "girlfriend" or "FWB"... or... whatever. I don't see how that changes if I have other lovers as well.

"This is my wife Alice, my girlfriend Betty, and our special friend Charlie." Noncomparitive and more descriptive.
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  #26  
Old 08-28-2011, 06:52 AM
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DrunkenPorcupine DrunkenPorcupine is offline
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There's a lot of input here by people who seem to find the word "secondary" to be negative.

Perhaps those people should really evaluate themselves and their relationships before attempting to put a term to it.

I have, willingly, been a secondary. We used that term among ourselves. I don't think it was a negative thing at all. That is, of course, because I WANTED to be the non-primary partner in that relationship. "Below priority of the primary" was what my role in that relationship was, and it's the role I wanted at the time.

There's the inverse of this discussion. If the term "secondary" implies "less affection" or "lacking" then perhaps the people who want equality should stop venerating (and of course, HAVING) primaries. You can't have it both ways. Either you elevate one (your primary) or you treat them as equals, in which case nobody is primary or secondary.

I think secondary is a good term. It can be a great place to be as well. The term is descriptive of the situation. If the term applies, and causes discomfort, people shouldn't change the term. They should strike at the root and fix the discomfort.
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  #27  
Old 08-28-2011, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrunkenPorcupine View Post
... perhaps the people who want equality should stop venerating (and of course, HAVING) primaries. You can't have it both ways. Either you elevate one (your primary) or you treat them as equals, in which case nobody is primary or secondary.
This is precisely the same point I made. One cannot have only "primary" relationships, any more than one can have North without South or a one-sided coin. I choose not to define any of my relationships under this rubric.

But if anyone else consciously and willingly uses these terms, that's fine with me. I think we should all have the freedom and power to define our relationships as we choose. The term "secondary" only seems offensive to me when the individual under that title feels slighted by it.
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  #28  
Old 08-28-2011, 06:27 PM
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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.
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  #29  
Old 08-28-2011, 06:31 PM
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I'm 1,000 % in agreement with what Ray just said. Thanks Ray, you nailed it solidly on the head.
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  #30  
Old 08-28-2011, 10:26 PM
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I'd love to have a new term we can all support. Thanks, AnnabelMore, for starting this thread. I wish I was more creative in this department and could come up with alternatives. But I'll know it when I see it, I'm sure.
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