Secondary struggles and stumbles upon this today
Rules to be cautious about
A PROPOSED SECONDARY'S BILL OF RIGHTS
- A primary partner cannot love a secondary partner, or cannot love a secondary partner as much
- The problem with this premise is that it isn't really possible to stop yourself from falling in love or control how much you love. You either do or you don't. If you don't, things work out fine. If you do, then it can cause a lot of trauma to all relationships involved. What this rule suggests is that the only way the primary couple believes they can preserve their love, is to prevent any other love. It criminalizes love, and isn't really what polyamory is about.
- The secondary relationship is completely separate
- Usually you'll get something like this when the primary couple is insecure about the whole poly thing and doesn't want to have to think or look to hard at what it means. One of the ways they avoid looking at it, is to make rules that keep the secondary relationship separate from their lives. Big red flag: If you are dating one half of the primary couple, and the other half won't meet you.. run away! The person you are dating is either cheating, or their partner is extremely insecure with what they are doing.
- Both primary partners must be involved in some or all aspects of the secondary relationship
- This might be as far reaching as 'you have to date both of us, or if you date one person, both people must be there'. Or it can be more specific such as 'both primary partners must be there if there is any sexual contact'. This suggests that the primary couple is prone to jealousy and insecurity, and I don't think this is the healthiest way to address that. This can be a way of controlling the relationship, and can make it difficult to establish healthy relationships of any depth.
In a nutshell: I have the right to be treated with dignity, respect, consideration, and courtesy. This is true of any relationship, regardless of its form and regardless of its status. Using the word "right" in this context means "This is something that it is reasonable and normal for me to expect, and reasonable and normal for my partner to give me."
One might argue that these "rights" merely represent a set of ideas that any relationship, monogamous or polyamorous, primary or secondary, ought to subscribe to if that relationship is going to be a happy and healthy one--which is precisely the point. Often, it's easy to forget that a secondary relationship is still a relationship, and the people in it should really keep that in mind.
- I have the right to be treated with with honesty, integrity, compassion, and sensitivity to my needs.
- I have the right, and responsibility, to clearly understand the rules of a relationship. When I enter a new relationship, I have the right to have rules and the reasons behind them clearly explained and to have my questions answered. "Because that is how things are" is not an answer; if I do not understand the reasons for the rules, then I may unintentionally violate the spirit of those rules even if I remain within the letter. Rules should not be added or changed without explanation. I cannot be expected to discover the rules governing my relationship by breaking them accidentally and having them explode in my face.
- I have the right to be a part of discussions about decisions that affect me, wherever possible and practical. It is unfair to be told about changes in the form and rules of my relationships after the fact. While it is not reasonable for me to expect full decision-making partnership in all aspects of the primary relationship--for example, I may not have decision-making power in whether or not the primary partners decide to move away for a better job--I do expect to be part of any negotiations that directly impact the form my relationship takes.
- I have a right and responsibility to set clear limits on the obligations I am making. A lack of primary or even other secondary partners does not mean all of my time and resources are available. Just as I as a secondary can not expect to monopolize all of my partner's time, my partner can not expect to monopolize all of mine.
- I have the right to ask my partners to compromise and seek to reach a middle ground when possible. I should not always be the one and only one to make changes and do all of the bending.
- I have the right to have relationships with people, not with relationships. That is, I have the right to conduct my relationship with a living, thinking human being rather than with an established relationship or a set of rules. I have the right to time with each individual separately as well as in groups.
- I have the right to expect that plans made with my partner will not be changed at the last minute just because a primary partner has had a bad day. As a secondary, I deal with most of my bad days alone and have the right to expect last minute changes in plans to happen only in rare and unavoidable situations.
- I have the right to a balance between what I give to the relationship and what is given back to me.
- I have the right to be treated as an equal individual (which is different than being an equal partner). I deserve to have my partner spend time in my world as well as visiting his/hers/theirs. My likes, dislikes, desires, hangups, should not be dismissed simply because I am secondary.
- I have the right to enjoy NRE (within reason), passion, and special moments with my partner without guilt or apologies.
- I have the right to privacy. The details of physical intimacy and emotionally intimate conversations should not be shared without my knowledge and ideally not without my consent. This does not mean I have the right to keep secrets from the other people involved; it merely means that whatever rights to basic privacy they may enjoy, I may enjoy as well.
- I have the right to be told the truth at all times. This includes a right to know about fears, doubts and concerns as they arise, not after they become insurmountable. Don't tell me what you think I want to hear; tell the truth -- that is what I need to hear.
- I have the right to have and express all of my emotions. I knowingly and willingly accept that being secondary may place limits on many things (e.g., sharing family holidays or vacations with my partner, having my partner with me in a time of crisis or celebration). My acceptance of that possibility does not mean that I won't be disappointed or even sad during such times. Further, being secondary comes with some built-in challenges to security (especially in the beginning) and there may be times I need reassurance as to how and where I fit into my partner's world. I promise to do my best keep things in perspective and to avoid guilt, drama, temper tantrums and pouting, but I ask that my partner and his or her partners accept reasonable expressions of doubt, disappointment, etc. on my part.
- I have the right to be not just tolerated, but actively wanted by everyone in the primary relationship. I have the right to feel that I am not a problem or a compromise, but that I add value. This may sound unreasonable to some people, but the fact is, if I'm not wanted by my partner's partner, that has an effect on me.
- When I am in a relationship with one person, I am in a relationship with all the other people that person is involved with, especially the primary partner(s)--even if there is no romantic connection between us! If I am resented in any way by them, that resentment serves to undermine the secondary relationship and keep it from being 'real'. It creeps into the rules that are created and the definitions that are set in place.
- When one partner has problems with a poly relationship, it can tend to negatively affect a secondary partner, creating unhappiness for everyone. Compassion demands that everyone involved work to resolve any resentment that may exist on the part of any of the members of a primary relationship toward the secondary relationship.
- I have the right to have a voice in the form my relationship takes. I am a person, with my own needs and my own ideas about what's important in my life; even when I am joining a pre-existing relationship, I have a right to have some say in the time I can spend with my lover and other things about the form and structure of that relationship. If my partners attempt to impose pre-existing agreements about the form, time, or circumstances under which I may spend time with my lover, I have a right to speak up if those agreements do not meet my needs,and I have a right to have my partner and my partner's partner hear me and consider what I say. That doesn't mean they have to do whatever I say, but it does mean that I can and should have a voice.
I read the article and this Bill of Rights helped me breathe easier because these are the things I am feeling. I am valid in these feelings, it is not unreasonable to want normalcy at this point in my life. In KT's thread someone wrote that they noticed that all I really want is everyone to be happy (I will add and healthy) but it seems to always blowup in my face. I took one of those deep, gasping breaths because I thought OMG someone else sees the effort. Someone who hasn't been along for the two years and counting journey. Someone who just picked a thread to read and came to that conclusion. WOW! I thank him..or her. I think bitterborn is a him.
Last edited by Morningglory629; 05-12-2011 at 05:37 AM.