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Old 07-13-2013, 07:49 PM
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Default How does one change hierarchiacal dynamic?

I hear a lot of talk about this and why this dynamic isn't fair. How would a married couple with young children go about changing from that? Esp when one spouse works while the other is the stay at home parent.

Just trying to wrap my head how that works esp when other partners don't live with or may also be in a hierarchical dynamic. I find the concept interesting but don't know how that works day to day on life. What about long distant relationships?
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Old 07-13-2013, 09:04 PM
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I am married.. my kids are younger 6 and 10. I work from home. My boyfriend doesn't live with us. There's no hierarchy in my relationships.
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Old 07-13-2013, 09:19 PM
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Has anyone here ever had their chidren's parent leave the family home to live with another partner? How did that work out? I'll admit I find the idea pretty upsetting. I don't want to be controlling but I always thought when we married and had kids it would always be him and me.
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Old 07-13-2013, 09:25 PM
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I live 40% of the time with my boyfriend. Would be 50% if he had a better schedule. My kids go with me if they are out of school ie weekends and holidays. If they have school he comes to stay at the house. If my husband is off then the kids stay home.
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Old 07-13-2013, 09:35 PM
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Was that a big adjustment for all of you?
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Old 07-13-2013, 09:53 PM
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Not really. Hubby has had some growing pains. Ie loneliness. The kids rolled with it but they did not meet Murf until we had been together 6 months.
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Old 07-14-2013, 01:32 AM
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To me, a non-hierarchical dynamic doesn't have to mean absolute equality in terms of cohabitation or time allocation. It just means there's no veto power and no "rules to protect our primary relationship" crap, and all my SOs are equally important to me on an emotional level.
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Old 07-14-2013, 01:43 AM
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I love how SchrodingersCat put it in another thread. She calls her approach "relationship triage" :

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
Yeah I really hate using the Primary/Secondary labels myself, even as a "quick and dirty" description of my circumstances . . .

Yes, I'm married. Yes, we share finances and a household. Yes, that means I have obligations and commitments to him. I also have obligations and commitments to school, to my parents, to my best friend and her son... And if I get into a serious relationship with someone else, I will have obligations and commitments to them. And triage will go thusly: who's having the bigger crisis right now and needs my time and attention most, at this moment?

It does not mean that I have already decided, a priori, that all my future relationships will be "less important." It does not mean that anyone will ever be considered disposable, simply by virtue of not being my spouse. I didn't roll that way when I was single, why would that change now?
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Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
I never claimed that primary and secondary relationships were not different. They are very much different. I have explicitly chosen to reject the implications of those differences by deliberately avoiding the labels of primary and secondary.

For example, suppose my "secondary" is having a major crisis like her mom just died, and my "primary" needs to talk about a bad day at work. The "primary/secondary" model implies that my primary's needs come before my secondary's needs, regardless of the severity or immediacy of those needs.

I prefer relationship triage. So: if you come into my hospital, I really don't give a hoot if you've sprained your ankle, Mr. President, I'm going to treat the homeless guy bleeding profusely from his 3" stab wound first.


. . . Sharing my finances and housing with a person does not, to me, constitute "my whole life." I still have my career, my friends, my alone-time, my hobbies, not to mention my other romances. These are all parts of "my whole life" and none of them include my husband . . . Really, the only "point" of poly relationships, and the only thing to "get" is: Can you be in love with more than one person, yes or no? Honestly, that's what it all boils down to. The rest is mechanics.

Like I said: primary/secondary is not *for me*... I certainly do not claim that they are not for anyone. Some people are extremely happy with those roles, and I'm a firm believer in "whatever works for you is fantabulous."

. . . every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. It is not respectful or kind to tell someone that their feelings are unimportant simply because they don't match up with the feelings of someone else.

I like to let every relationship grow in its own way. To me, using a label of "secondary" means that I'm putting limits on the way that relationship is allowed to grow. It's like keeping fish in a small tank: it will limit the size to which they can grow, even though they're biologically capable of growing much larger.
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Old 07-14-2013, 03:01 AM
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Everyone has different definitions of course, so that makes it more complicated. I am married and the stay at home parent for our three teenagers. I'm in a long distance relationship with my boyfriend.

For me, stepping away from the hierarchy thing just means not PRESCRIBING how a relationship will go. I do not tell boyfriend that he will always come in second to hubby and my relationship with him can never progress past a certain point. As far as levels of love, well I can't put a scale on that really, I love, that's about it. So as for who I love more, your guess is as good as mine! I love them both. Ta da!

Now, there are certain boundaries on my relationship with boyfriend, but those are not because of anything but myself and him. HE does not want to be in a position of shared finances or household. He is fine meeting and hanging with the kids, even living closer, but not cohabitation. HIS boundaries. Mine are no more kids. With anyone. So no more kids is no more kids. Not with hubby not with boyfriend, not with anyone.

I believe the real problem with hierarchy, and what people dislike about it, is the idea of telling someone "Hey I'd love to have a relationship with you but here is all you will ever get and you will always come in second/third/fourth, to all these other people!"

Who is most important at any given time is dependent on what is going on! Sick kid trumps everything. Date night with hubby (as rare as those are with three kids!) and boyfriend needs to talk to me because something happened? I take the call, I do face time if I need to. I'm there for who needs me when they need me.
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Old 07-14-2013, 07:21 PM
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My boyfriend lives with us-finances, kids, household responsibilities etc are shared.

My husband moved out for a year-not with someone else, but on his own.
Kids went back and forth and he and I dated while working through some of our own shit. But bf stayed here with me and the kids.

I generally see this as "neither relationship has priority over the other" but-that doesn't mean that they are the same.

One detail that helped with us for clearing up some of the confusion is this.

Each parent has a responsibility to maintain the relationship they have with each child. That means they need to spend quality time with the kids. The kids being with one parent doesn't negate that the other parent needs to spend time iwth them.
So-Maca's "free time" without kids doesn't increase just because I'm a stay at home mom. He has x number of hours free after work-and until the kids are in bed-those hours belong to them. On weekends-at least one day's worth belongs to the kids. If you take the 10 hours a day I spend with the kids and expected that he "owed" the kids the same-he would have no free time at all. We don't do that-but we do make sure other lovers know-HE loves his children and HIS devotion to time with them is NOT RELEVANT to my availability to them.
Much of that time is spent together as a family-but that family time is FOR THE KIDS-it's not something to be countered between lovers. So-if a girlfriend feels like she isn't getting enough time with him-the "competition" of time isn't with ME, it's with the kids and her options are to be the kind of person who can be a good addition to the family for hte kids (in whatever capacity) so she can spend time with him WITH THE KIDS (and potentially GG and I) or suffer the lack of time. Because he's not giving up his time with the kids for another lover.

The same is true for me. But-GG DID want that time and he DOES prioritize the kids and has chosen to give up freedom in his own apt-so he can be here with me *with the kids*.
So he see's me daily-but he shares my time with the kids.
Any lover could choose to make life changes for that to be possible if they wanted. None is less important than me just because I have the marriage certificate.

Likewise-all that can be said for the home maintenance, daily chores, etc. We've been building a new deck and painting the outside of the house, creating a garden, working on the acre of land we have. Others can join in-but we aren't going to neglect our responsibilities to those things for a date.
On the other hand-if a lover chose to help-we'll finish faster, which means we have more time TO go out on a date.

It's all about understanding that not being heirarchical doesn't mean throwing all previously agreed to responsibilities (like bills, home maintenance, chores, kids etc) to the wind.

When Maca moved out-he was still responsible for his financial part of our family. Because I am STILL home with our home school kids and it was still the choice of ALL THREE of us to maintain that for the kids. So he paid his portion of expenses here and another apt. If he couldn't afford that-he would have had to re-consider his options. Because he won't neglect the kids best interests.

Likewise-I am in school. But if my schooling takes away from being able to keep up with the kids-I have to skip a semester or reduce my class load. I can't do full time for example-I don't HAVE TIME. I have responsibilities I've already committed to with the kids and I have to work AROUND those.

Dating-is the same. It has to work within the parameters of existing responsibilities. But-to be honest, I have not struggled with finding lovers who are willing and able to work with those parameters & the only reason Maca and E couldn't keep dating is because she moved too far away for work, which was her obligation and choice. If finances improved to where he could afford to travel-I wouldn't have any issue with him traveling to see her & if she called to say she wanted to come up with her kid to stay for a few months, that would be ok too.
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