Do you use "primary" and "secondary"?

Roz W Roz W
I've found that some poly people really don't like this terminology -- that primary/secondary denotes a hierarchy, and all their relationships should be equal. Or that being called "secondary" is degrading.

I am of two minds about this. I do have a long-term partner where we share a lot of time and responsbilities; I notice that a lot of other poly couples do too. Maybe it isn't necessary for a non-primary partner to be "secondary"; maybe they can just be your boyfriend/girlfriend/l over/play partner.

Even when I have a partner who doesn't do hierarchies -- where they call all their relationships "relationships" only -- I find myself separating into "full time" and "part time." Even if love is infinite, time is not. I think I can have a meaningful relationship with someone I see a few times per month -- and that doesn't make it "lesser," but it does make it different.

Thought?
07/21/2012
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thisisadeletedaccount thisisadeletedaccount
Sometimes I refer to my partners as "my primary partner" and "our third," since we are in a triad that began as a two-person partnership until our third partner joined. I only do that if I feel it'll make the situation clearer to whoever I'm describing it to, though. Usually I just call them my partners, lovers, girlfriends, or paramours, without a hierarchy. If the person knows them already, I use their names.
07/22/2012
Airen Wolf Airen Wolf
Quote:
Originally posted by Roz W
I've found that some poly people really don't like this terminology -- that primary/secondary denotes a hierarchy, and all their relationships should be equal. Or that being called "secondary" is degrading.

I am of two minds ... More
We do not use a hierarchy but it is understood that while we are in separate homes the person I am with is the focus of my attention. If both men are under the same roof (I am deliriously happy) then we share a rotating schedule. Sigel has other playmates as well, so it's not as bad as someone doesn't get attention. If both guys feel they need some lovin' then I am more than willing to...ummmm give them a little lovin'!
Surprisingly, this doesn't happen very often but when it does it's pretty memorable.
Both of my relationships are different, Sigel and I have been together since we were 16! Arch and I have an intense friendship that turned into love so it has colored our relationship differently. Also in our combined relationship Sigel is our linch pin...without him it doesn't work.
We have an unusual combined relationship but for the most part it works for us.
Since I have children with both men there isn't a full time/part time feel to our lives...though it will be so much better when we are all under one roof.
07/22/2012
oohlookasquirrel oohlookasquirrel
I'm a poly beginner with less than a year of actual experience under my belt, but I learned pretty quickly that the partner who came into my life second did NOT like to be called secondary. I have assured him that he does not come second in my heart or my priorities and that my previous use of the term was used more chronologically than in any other way. I've since dropped the terms. I'm sure "primary" and "secondary" are terms that apply well to some polyamorous relationships, but as we all learn quickly in the polyamorous world, our lives are often far more complicated than the labels that exist to explain us.

Maybe the terms are less offensive to those who are already initiated into the poly world. Both of my partners are new to polyamory, so the terms were all new to them too. I could see why the word "secondary" would sound bad to someone who hadn't heard it used all the time. Much like "vanilla", which offends my not-so-kinky partner because he feels like it implies that those who are not kinky are dull. It's such a useful term though, and vanilla is a delicious flavor! meh. labels. boo.
07/26/2012
Airen Wolf Airen Wolf
Quote:
Originally posted by oohlookasquirrel
I'm a poly beginner with less than a year of actual experience under my belt, but I learned pretty quickly that the partner who came into my life second did NOT like to be called secondary. I have assured him that he does not come second in my ... More
LOL my life partner decided he liked "life partner" rather than secondary because he is second to no one! He is arrogant and duly entitled to BE arrogant, cause I loves him. Now we all know that Sigel and I have a relationship that forms the cornerstone of our combined relationship and that if anything happened to it everything changes. it doesn't mean that my relationship with Arch is less important or secondary...especially to our son!

Both men have strengths they add to the family and both have weaknesses that need the other's strength. If we were to add another (probably a female...there's way too much testosterone in the house as it is!) then she would have to be complementary and find her own niche but she would be primary in our group. It might be difficult for her since we are all committed to not having any more children (as in we are all getting "fixed")but she'd have to accept our child centered household for the next few years. Still it would be amazing to see my guys getting to know another life partner...and getting to know her myself.
07/27/2012
MissMori MissMori
This is a good discussion - and some great responses!
I do consider my main partner "primary" and He does me, since we have a romantic/emotional relationship that we don't necessarily have with other partners. Some are good friends I also have a sexual relationship with.
As far as being a "secondary" myself, I'm comfortable with it in the relationships where I am one. It's because they are married/long-term committed relationships where I just come visit when I can. I don't feel lesser for it - I like being able to be part of these friends' lives and I enjoy seeing their happiness. Even when I was single I liked being in that spot. Maybe it's because no one actually calls me "secondary". I'm just a friend who also has a sexual relationship with them. It's different from their primary partner, but I don't want to be married/committed to everyone I love so I'm able to enjoy it without feeling lesser than the main partner.
07/27/2012
Airen Wolf Airen Wolf
Quote:
Originally posted by MissMori
This is a good discussion - and some great responses!
I do consider my main partner "primary" and He does me, since we have a romantic/emotional relationship that we don't necessarily have with other partners. Some are good friends ... More
So at last we meet the mythical unicorn! Can I pet your pretty glossy sides? I do so love a woman who knows what she wants and is content to just soak up a bit of sweetness and not try to get all possessive.

Me? I tend to want to tiptoe all through my lover's lives so I have not earned my golden horn
07/28/2012
Mistress Dragon Mistress Dragon
Quote:
Originally posted by Airen Wolf
So at last we meet the mythical unicorn! Can I pet your pretty glossy sides? I do so love a woman who knows what she wants and is content to just soak up a bit of sweetness and not try to get all possessive.

Me? I tend to want to tiptoe all ... More
You are so funny Airen, you may not have that golden horn yet, but you are a golden friend to have. I can only wish that someday I can have the life you do with two men that love me more than they love themselves. You are one of the luckiest lady's I know.
I know at this point in my life I have my main love or husband that will be my one who holds my heart the longest. I do not know that I can say there will never be someone that can also make me love them as much as I do him. If there is then they will be one of the lucky one's to be in our lives with the love that the two of us share it can only make it stronger.
Thank you for being the family you and Sigel and Arch are and showing the rest of us that there is a way to have all that love for each other. Not many people are so lucky to see the way your family works and I am in that few. You all are AMAZING.
07/29/2012
MissMori MissMori
I thought I lost my horn when I quit being "technically single"!
I'm all for being petted, though, even I don't have the mythical status I once did!
07/29/2012
MimiPhryxus MimiPhryxus
We don't use the terms simply because they feel derogatory but there is a difference in my husband and our girlfriend as far as I can't imagine my life without him but, right now, our girlfriend isn't as committed to us just yet so there's always this chance it might not work out. In that case I suppose that by definition the relationship with her is a secondary one.

Its my hope that one day they will be equal partners in my life tho.
07/29/2012
Total posts: 10
Unique posters: 7