Polyamory.com Forum  

Go Back   Polyamory.com Forum > Polyamory > General Poly Discussions

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12-05-2014, 05:12 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: US
Posts: 1,447
Default Secondary? No thanks!

Despite the flippant title, I've been doing some thinking about this topic lately. I went to a poly discussion group in my area recently. While there, I realized that I don't want to be a secondary. At all. Ever (well for the foreseeable future).

When I was dating (taking a break currently) I mostly dated men who were already married or in relationships. I initially thought I would be fine with being a secondary. I have no desire to harm anyone's relationship with their spouse, I don't want to replace their spouse, I'm good with boundaries and being respectful of other folk's boundaries. I communicate and all that.

I have no desire to date a couple. A main reason is that I have never experienced being attracted to both people in a couple. Ever. I usually have sexual attraction towards one and warm friendship fuzzies towards the other. (I also have warm friendship fuzzies with the people I'm attracted to but that's not the point.) I'm also terrible at multi-tasking and dating a couple seems like way too many plates in the air for me. I know people manage it but seriously, it seems like a circus level trick to me.

Ok, lots of people in couples date separately. The men I went out with all had spouses who were fine with them dating separately. I tried that for a while. Met some fine people but nothing catching fire. That happens with dating right? Takes time to meet people with whom one has chemistry, right? All true.

But what I realized during this discussion group is that I don't want to date someone who is not going to be able to make me a high priority. And I also realized that I am a somewhat demanding partner. I give much in return, yes, but I do need a high level of time, involvement and intimacy. I'm unwilling to be in a relationship that has no chance of offering that evolution. I realized I no longer want to waste time dating people who have room for a secondary but not a high priority relationship. This does mean my available pool of compatible people shrinks which I am bummed about. I don't have a big pool to begin with! For me commitment is about who gets your time when there must be a choice. I want to be in the top three of that list for another. That for me defines a primary partner - who gets the time and attention when those things are scarce. I don't automatically want to live with a partner although I will consider it, I will likely never intertwine finances again, and I don't have children nor want them, so those definitions of 'primary' don't work for me. But who, in a crunch, gets time and attention - that makes sense to me.

I want a primary relationship in that sense. Where I am the top one or two priority. Where I offer that kind of commitment and care back. I've never had that and I want it. Beaker loved me but her career was always going to be first. Most of the time, that was ok, I felt a very close second. But I want to know what it feels like to be 'number one'.

I suppose it is possible to have more than one primary relationship using this model. I find that hard to conceptualize though. So in that sense, this is a kind of hierarchical. I don't like the idea of hierarchal where people are disposable or seen as lesser. But it does make sense to me that there is only so much time and attention and where those resources are directed should be a conscious decision. And that decision means some get less. They might be just fine with that - may work well for them and be what they want. But it is still less, still not a top priority. And I do not want that anymore.

I like the idea of solopoly. I think it is a fine counterweight to assumptions about coupledom and what relationships 'should' be. I also intellectually like the idea of seeing what level a relationship reaches 'naturally' and going on from there. But my reality is different. I find if I do not focus on what I actually really and truly want, my life gets cluttered. Cluttered with good things and people but not what I want. For me I need to focus and set an intent to be open to what I want. Not a happenstance 'level'. I suspect this model does well for folks who are way better at accepting what is and going with the flow than I am. I'm an only child and have that bone deep certainty that, yes, the universe does spin around me and bends to my will. Do I know this isn't actually so? Yes, of course. But I do so much better when I am seeking what I want. It's true I have met my loves when I wasn't 'looking' but I was open to love in some way.

I am keeping the option open for now of having FWBs and play partners. I have people I do play with in a kink sense now. I want more sex in my life and at least potentially I can see meeting that need through FWBs. But I may evolve away from this and only have sex in the context of connection and commitment. But I'm not quite ready to pull the trigger on that.

I do feel oddly selfish about this. I would like to be a person who could go with the flow, accept things as they are, see the level of a relationship. But I am not that person. I don't want to be a secondary at all.

I'd be curious about other folks thoughts on their process on deciding if secondary could work for you or not. Or if primary type thing was just too much and solo poly is the way to go. Basically I'm curious how people sorted out what they wanted.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 12-05-2014, 07:10 PM
MightyMax MightyMax is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 82
Default

I found out quite early on in my relationships that it's wiser to find out what a person can offer rather than the label that they apply to that offer. I first learned this when a friend and I decided to become "friends with benefits" and her expectations of what that meant differed greatly to mine. It's happened a few times since. It's not always immediately apparant when it is happening. Talking helps.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12-05-2014, 08:16 PM
Inyourendo's Avatar
Inyourendo Inyourendo is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Crazytown USA
Posts: 1,466
Default

no being a secondary relationship will not work for me. I decided a long time ago I'm not willing to date somebody who has a live in partner. If they were seeing someone that didn't live with them that would be one thing and then I wouldn't feel like a secondary but if they live with somebody else I would definitely feel like a secondary and I wouldn't be able to go to their house which would be a problem for me
__________________
Sue, hinge in a vee with Nate (Polysexual) and Sam (monogamous)
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12-06-2014, 12:59 AM
JaneQSmythe JaneQSmythe is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Pennsyl-tucky
Posts: 1,365
Default

So, the flip-side...as a women with two primary (male) partners I would be leary of dating someone who was "single". I only have so much time and energy to offer. I prefer to let relationships grow organically into whatever shape and style they assume - rather than try to fit them into some pre-ordained slot.

As an introvert who doesn't like to leave her house - anyone who wants to have a significant relationship with me has to meet me on my own turf. "Primary" to me means living together (which means almost daily contact). Lotus is welcome to come to our house anytime/anywhere - I consider her a part-time roommate. We all feel comfortable spending time at her and her husband's house - so that is very comfortable too.

Dude has stated that he is only dating (happily) married women from now on...they have proven that they can maintain healthy relationships and aren't likely to demand things from him that he isn't able to offer (marriage, kids, etc). (For the record, both of his girlfriends - me and Lotus - are married.)
__________________
Me: poly bi female, in an "open-but-not-looking" Vee-plus with -
MrS: hetero polyflexible male, live-in husband (23+ yrs)
Dude: hetero poly male, live-in boyfriend (4+ yrs) and MrS's best friend
Lotus: poly bi married female, "it's complicated" relationships with Dude/JaneQ/MrS (1+ years)
+ "others" = FBs, FWBs, lover-friends, platonic G/BFs, boytoys, etc.


My poly blogs here:
The Journey of JaneQSmythe
The Notebook of JaneQSmythe
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12-06-2014, 02:37 AM
wildflowers wildflowers is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Boston area
Posts: 200
Default

I am comfortable being secondary to my BF because he is also secondary to me, in the practical sense of how much our lives are intertwined. Neither of us has a huge amount of time to offer outside of other life/relationship/ family, so we are matched in what we can offer- in a logistical rather than emotional sense. Outside of family my BF is the person who I prioritize.

I would probably feel differently if I did not have kids and a primary partner, because then I would have the capacity to share more time and not be able to.

I am not bi so I would not consider dating a couple. I tend to interact best one on one anyway.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12-06-2014, 02:50 AM
NovemberRain's Avatar
NovemberRain NovemberRain is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 700
Default

Hi opalescent

I doubt it would suit me either. FWIW, I am also an only child. Well, I didn't get my siblings until I was a teen, via my dad's second marriage.

My partner is an extreme introvert. I figured when I had the two of them, I might get enough attention. (it didn't work out so much - though for a while, it was awesome)

I am more poly in potential than deliberate practice. I am open to being in relationship with more than one, but I'm not crazy about 'seeking' it. Lotta work.

The one previous time it almost happened in my life was with two women. Only they headed off the bedroom and expected me to wait in the living room. No freakin' way was that going to work for me.

I dream of a life like Jane Q (only less dogs) I would love to share a king-size bed with two loves. I would have loved to share a household with my two men (though the one would have had to have an in-law apartment). My best memories are when I was rooming in a house and various permutations of inhabitants and guest were all together for a meal, or game-night, or just movie watching.

sorry, back to topic. No, I doubt secondary would work for me, although it might, if i was living with a primary. Living alone, and looking for people today - no, I wouldn't seek someone married and cohabiting.
__________________
Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own...
Robert A. Heinlein

Me: female, bi, (formerly hinge of a vee)
with FirstBoyFriend (FBF)(moderately long-distance)
and no longer with CurrentBoyFriend (CBF)(who lives in the apartment building next door)
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12-06-2014, 03:50 AM
JaneQSmythe JaneQSmythe is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Pennsyl-tucky
Posts: 1,365
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by NovemberRain View Post
I dream of a life like Jane Q (only less dogs) I would love to share a king-size bed with two loves. I would have loved to share a household with my two men (though the one would have had to have an in-law apartment).
Hey NR, good to see you! We are down to one dog! (Lotus took the other in August). Still with all of us (me, MrS, Dude) in one king-size bed. Plan, eventually, is for Dude to have a Bachelor Pad (aka. "sex-den").
__________________
Me: poly bi female, in an "open-but-not-looking" Vee-plus with -
MrS: hetero polyflexible male, live-in husband (23+ yrs)
Dude: hetero poly male, live-in boyfriend (4+ yrs) and MrS's best friend
Lotus: poly bi married female, "it's complicated" relationships with Dude/JaneQ/MrS (1+ years)
+ "others" = FBs, FWBs, lover-friends, platonic G/BFs, boytoys, etc.


My poly blogs here:
The Journey of JaneQSmythe
The Notebook of JaneQSmythe
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 12-06-2014, 06:12 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: US
Posts: 1,447
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by MightyMax View Post
I found out quite early on in my relationships that it's wiser to find out what a person can offer rather than the label that they apply to that offer. I first learned this when a friend and I decided to become "friends with benefits" and her expectations of what that meant differed greatly to mine. It's happened a few times since. It's not always immediately apparant when it is happening. Talking helps.
Yeah differing expectations can really bite one in the ass. I hate when I have expectations that I didn't fully consciously realize I had. Those are the worst.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inyourendo View Post
no being a secondary relationship will not work for me. I decided a long time ago I'm not willing to date somebody who has a live in partner. If they were seeing someone that didn't live with them that would be one thing and then I wouldn't feel like a secondary but if they live with somebody else I would definitely feel like a secondary and I wouldn't be able to go to their house which would be a problem for me
I'm not ruling out people who already with live with someone although I would be more cautious. Some people are able to offer the kind of prioritization I want while in a relationship. I've met a few. But it is possible I will move towards your way of thinking over time. I do think it is much harder to add high priority relationships while in an existing relationship - not impossible but harder.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 12-06-2014, 06:22 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: US
Posts: 1,447
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JaneQSmythe View Post
So, the flip-side...as a women with two primary (male) partners I would be leary of dating someone who was "single". I only have so much time and energy to offer. I prefer to let relationships grow organically into whatever shape and style they assume - rather than try to fit them into some pre-ordained slot.

As an introvert who doesn't like to leave her house - anyone who wants to have a significant relationship with me has to meet me on my own turf. "Primary" to me means living together (which means almost daily contact). Lotus is welcome to come to our house anytime/anywhere - I consider her a part-time roommate. We all feel comfortable spending time at her and her husband's house - so that is very comfortable too.

Dude has stated that he is only dating (happily) married women from now on...they have proven that they can maintain healthy relationships and aren't likely to demand things from him that he isn't able to offer (marriage, kids, etc). (For the record, both of his girlfriends - me and Lotus - are married.)
That is the flip-side isn't it? I quite understand. I don't have a pre-ordained order or roles - I understand these things take time. But I have been wasting my time with folks who can't offer me what I want. It's not their fault - they were upfront. I just hadn't figured out exactly what I needed yet.

And I am so picky about who is allowed into my home. My home is my sanctuary where I get away from people and just hang out with Tiny Dog and Tiny Cat. I don't even like having people over. That's so much work to get the place ready, to cook and so on. It's not something I enjoy doing. I'd really rather just go out. It's a big deal to me to have an overnight with someone in the house. And I don't sleep well with people - as in it takes me a long time to get used to having someone else in the bed with me. So that means I lose sleep until I adjust. And it can take months. That's a sacrifice I'm not willing to do for everyone.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 12-06-2014, 06:30 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: US
Posts: 1,447
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildflowers View Post
I am comfortable being secondary to my BF because he is also secondary to me, in the practical sense of how much our lives are intertwined. Neither of us has a huge amount of time to offer outside of other life/relationship/ family, so we are matched in what we can offer- in a logistical rather than emotional sense. Outside of family my BF is the person who I prioritize.

I would probably feel differently if I did not have kids and a primary partner, because then I would have the capacity to share more time and not be able to.

I am not bi so I would not consider dating a couple. I tend to interact best one on one anyway.
I think the secondary model works really well for quite a lot of people. And I suppose if I develop one or more primary relationships, I might think about revisiting my current 'no thanks!'. Circumstances matter, don't they? I don't have children or a primary at the moment. If that wasn't so, I may well be singing a different tune.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NovemberRain View Post
Hi opalescent

I doubt it would suit me either. FWIW, I am also an only child. Well, I didn't get my siblings until I was a teen, via my dad's second marriage.

My partner is an extreme introvert. I figured when I had the two of them, I might get enough attention. (it didn't work out so much - though for a while, it was awesome)

I am more poly in potential than deliberate practice. I am open to being in relationship with more than one, but I'm not crazy about 'seeking' it. Lotta work.

The one previous time it almost happened in my life was with two women. Only they headed off the bedroom and expected me to wait in the living room. No freakin' way was that going to work for me.

I dream of a life like Jane Q (only less dogs) I would love to share a king-size bed with two loves. I would have loved to share a household with my two men (though the one would have had to have an in-law apartment). My best memories are when I was rooming in a house and various permutations of inhabitants and guest were all together for a meal, or game-night, or just movie watching.

sorry, back to topic. No, I doubt secondary would work for me, although it might, if i was living with a primary. Living alone, and looking for people today - no, I wouldn't seek someone married and cohabiting.
WTF with the two women? Why would they think that was a good idea?

I also would love something more community orientated although I have little desire to live with a partner or partners right now. That could change with the right person or persons. But it just seems unlikely. I need so much time, quiet, and space to myself that making that work with a live-in partner seems daunting. Now a duplex next door? Or in the same neighborhood or apartment building? That would be full of awesome for me.

I totally want a king bed so I can have all the boyfriends in it plus all the pets without anyone being crowded. Except my pets sleep right next to me so I suspect my plan will fail. But I'm ok with that.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
hierarchy, primary, priority, secondary, solo poly

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 10:39 AM.