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Old 08-16-2012, 10:40 AM
Spooky Spooky is offline
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Question Learning Relationship Dynamics

So, being new to this, (the whole messy explanation can be found here) I find I feel very perplexed by the idea of multiple primaries, primaries/secondaries, etc. I mean, I get it, theoretically, but I find it hard to imagine the application to myself.

It's not that I desperately feel the need to slap a label on my relationships, it's just that coming from the traditional monogamous idea that the goal of relationships is to find someone you're so compatible with that you want to build a life with them, buy a house, have kids, that kind of thing, I find that's how I approach all relationships by default, which seems like it could be very exclusionary, and not so conducive to poly. At the same time, I find it hard to imagine being interested in someone, but not that interested, and having them as a secondary.

It worries me. So, I'm wondering, is this is the kind of thing I really do need to work on figuring out, or if all the figuring in the world won't really prepare me and I will just work it out with practice as I go along? It really seems like the kind of thing you just have to discover for yourself and as your relationships unfold, but I'd like to avoid unpleasant surprises where possible.
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Old 08-16-2012, 01:09 PM
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CielDuMatin CielDuMatin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spooky View Post
So, being new to this, (the whole messy explanation can be found here) I find I feel very perplexed by the idea of multiple primaries, primaries/secondaries, etc. I mean, I get it, theoretically, but I find it hard to imagine the application to myself.

It's not that I desperately feel the need to slap a label on my relationships, it's just that coming from the traditional monogamous idea that the goal of relationships is to find someone you're so compatible with that you want to build a life with them, buy a house, have kids, that kind of thing, I find that's how I approach all relationships by default, which seems like it could be very exclusionary, and not so conducive to poly.
Well, if it's not what you want, then nobody is going to expect you to want it... but for others, multiple primaries means building a life, buying a house and having kids with more than one person at a time. All of the other things that you talk about are the same, just with multiple people. Can you talk a little more on why you find that perplexing.


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At the same time, I find it hard to imagine being interested in someone, but not that interested, and having them as a secondary.
That may well be how some folks think about secondaries but I don't. For a lot of poly folk, the definition of secondary is someone you don't live with and share day-to-day life decisions with. it has nothing to do with how interested you are in the person, how much you love them or anything like that. It just means that for whatever reason, whether it's the wishes of the parties involved, or the logistics of the situation, living together and sharing finances, etc. isn't something that is desired. Yes, it's a different type of relationship than the standard monogamous "get married, settle down and have kids" model.

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It worries me.
I wouldn't worry - if it's not what you foresee as wanting, then don't do it.

What DO you see as your ideal model for your poly relationship configuration?

Finally, thanks for coming and asking, and being prepared to learn. So many folks have these preconceived (and often incorrect) notions about what poly is, and refuse to budge. Having an open mind and asking for other folks' experiences is quite sensible, in my opinion.
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Old 08-17-2012, 02:32 AM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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Understanding it does require getting out of the pre-designed mental box designed by monogamy.

But-as an example. I have two men, we all live together. I have one child biologically from each (and one of my own from previously). We're raising all of them together (and have been for over 10 years).

ALL finances are in one shared account and we have paperwork designating all property to the three of us equally....

So yes, they are both my primaries.
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Old 08-17-2012, 04:05 AM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spooky
At the same time, I find it hard to imagine being interested in someone, but not that interested, and having them as a secondary.
That may well be how some folks think about secondaries but I don't. For a lot of poly folk, the definition of secondary is someone you don't live with and share day-to-day life decisions with. it has nothing to do with how interested you are in the person, how much you love them or anything like that. It just means that for whatever reason, whether it's the wishes of the parties involved, or the logistics of the situation, living together and sharing finances, etc. isn't something that is desired. Yes, it's a different type of relationship than the standard monogamous "get married, settle down and have kids" model.
I think this is one of the things I really struggle with, too. Yes, it's different...but what is it?

I'm 9 months into this, and I still struggle to wrap my mind around what a secondary relationship is, exactly. I realize it will probably be different for everyone, but I'd love to hear from those more experienced how you define your secondary relationship, what your commitments and expectations and hopes are, how does the 'love' compare...or anything else.

For me, right now, for instance, BF talks about being committed to me. What does that mean when we're never going to move in together, never going to mingle finances? To him, it means he's given up swinging and given up time with his 'community' friends to spend that time with me. He says he'd be there if I were in the hospital.

I've wondered if he's really committed to me, my whole life, the good, the bad, and the ugly, or if he's only committed to having a fun time going out on dates, which, let's face it, is not real life. Recently, when I opened up enough to tell him just how much is going on in my day to day life, he came over and helped me out with some of it. It showed me a little more of what I mean to him and who he really is...but I still struggle with the question spooky is asking, finding it hard to understand.


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It's not that I desperately feel the need to slap a label on my relationships, it's just that...
While I see where labels can be a problem, for me, I think they also help us define, understand, know what to expect, and so on. And this, for me, is the problem with being in such a new situation: I have no idea what it is I can or should reasonably expect. I feel like I'm walking in the dark and not even sure where it is I should be going or want to go, because I have no idea what's out there.
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Old 08-17-2012, 04:19 AM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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Man-MonoVCPHG wrote a CRAPLOAD about being a secondary and what it means. He did an exemplary job too.

I HIGHLY suggest doing a search (on this site) for the term secondaries IN THREADS BY HIM.

I'm sure you can get a LOT of easy info by doing that.

Of course, if it were me, I'd say, everyone should read all of the writing he did on poly, mono, secondary etc. Because seriously, he really did a great job of explaining things from a mono perspective, but still very poly-respectful.
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Old 08-17-2012, 07:30 PM
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CielDuMatin CielDuMatin is offline
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I can highly recommend reading Mono's posts on this topic that LR linked to.

To add my own perspective:

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Originally Posted by WhatHappened View Post
I'm 9 months into this, and I still struggle to wrap my mind around what a secondary relationship is, exactly. I realize it will probably be different for everyone, but I'd love to hear from those more experienced how you define your secondary relationship, what your commitments and expectations and hopes are, how does the 'love' compare...or anything else.
The love doesn't compare. I can't compare my love for any two people - each relationship feels different and I can't rank them in terms of "more" or "less".

For me, a secondary is just someone that I don't live with and don't share the day-to-day life decisions with. We talk nearly every day at length, and tell each other about our days. We meet each others friends and hang out. We help each other with life.

What's the degree of commitment if it's not moving in and making babies? To me, a committed relationship doesn't mean "till death us do part", it means that we're not going to walk away at the first sign of trouble, or on a whim. If there are problems, we are going to work together to try to resolve them, to find a win-win ideally, or a compromise is a win-win isn't available. We become interdependent (and if you're not sure of that term, I can provide some references) - part of each others support structures in life. Someone that can be relied upon if things go pear-shaped. Someone to lean on or a shoulder to cry on. Someone that will be prepared to listen to us rant about how crappy a day we've had at work, or how tired we are. All this in addition to someone to do fun things with.

That's what it means to me.
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Old 08-18-2012, 02:56 AM
WhatHappened WhatHappened is offline
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Originally Posted by CielDuMatin View Post
I can highly recommend reading Mono's posts on this topic that LR linked to.
I've done a lot of reading on this forum, including many of Mono's posts, and have read a great deal of several of the LR's links. (Thank you, LR.) I confess, I sometimes still struggle to find the answers I feel are eluding me. However...


Quote:
For me, a secondary is just someone that I don't live with and don't share the day-to-day life decisions with. We talk nearly every day at length, and tell each other about our days. We meet each others friends and hang out. We help each other with life.

What's the degree of commitment if it's not moving in and making babies? To me, a committed relationship doesn't mean "till death us do part", it means that we're not going to walk away at the first sign of trouble, or on a whim. If there are problems, we are going to work together to try to resolve them, to find a win-win ideally, or a compromise is a win-win isn't available. We become interdependent (and if you're not sure of that term, I can provide some references) - part of each others support structures in life. Someone that can be relied upon if things go pear-shaped. Someone to lean on or a shoulder to cry on. Someone that will be prepared to listen to us rant about how crappy a day we've had at work, or how tired we are. All this in addition to someone to do fun things with.
This helps. Thank you.
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Old 09-01-2012, 04:35 AM
Spooky Spooky is offline
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Thanks everyone! This is really helpful, especially your situation, LR, as that's kind of what I was thinking would be really awesome, just somehow it didn't seem realistic to me. The fact that there's a successful real life example right here changes my perspective on that.

Also, sorry for my super slow responses. My husband finally gave the go ahead on trying out this polyamory stuff a few weeks ago, and school just started back up for me, so I've been quite busy and preoccupied.

I find I have a new challenge as far as the relationship dynamics go, though. What I was hoping is that I would be able to direct all that warm, fuzzy NRE at both relationships and improve my poor sex drive with my husband and everyone would be happier all around. Instead, I'm finding that I have a serious case of puppy love in my new relationship and the fantastic libido that goes with that, but in my marriage it still isn't there. I feel more willing to do some things for my husband, like oral sex, which is very focused on him and what he usually prefers anyway, because of the awesome trust and freedom he's given me, but I find myself avoiding regular sex with him, which is what I find more intimate and am really enjoying sharing with my new partner.

I guess this worries me because in the past I was very much a serial monogamist and I'm concerned about my own ability to make this all work. Is it just normal to have a transition period where you have to work to find equilibrium? I know I've read that relationships will naturally develop and transition, but can marriage interfere with this?
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Old 09-01-2012, 03:44 PM
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MusicalRose MusicalRose is offline
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I am in kind of a similar situation. For a while I really only wanted sex with my new boyfriend and while I was willing to be intimate with my fiance, neither he or I really sought it out much. It has been about 6-8 months into my new relationship (8 months since we met and six since he officially became a member of our "team") and the fire is finally starting to relax just a little and I am able to start enjoying time with my fiance again.

It is definitely a rough road, especially since my fiance does not have another partner at the moment, but I think just maybe we have made it through the hardest parts and may have found our way through it. There are still challenges to be worked out, and the equilibrium isn't fully there yet, but I am finding that it is showing hopeful signs of appearing. It just takes a little bit of time.
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