It’s quite common within the poly community for people to use the terms “Primary”, “Secondary” and even in some cases “Tertiary” as a way of defining relationships and connections.
It is also the case, that people to suddenly jump to the conclusions and consider this as treating people unequally. Much of this pre-conception is based on the way that these terms are in considered by some to effectively assign value to people, relationships and the love within them.
“So, is this actually true?”
Do these terms truly represent a hierarchy of importance or even value?
Like so many things I’ve discovered during the past year, this is totally dependent upon those parties involved and is not always as black and white as some people choice to think.
This is where polyamory really needs to shine with regard to it’s more egalitarian system of relationships over the classic dominator culture.
Many people perhaps try to apply the normally accepted dominator culture onto these terms and that’s where it all starts to fall apart. It’s a veneer and its doesn’t fit properly, it brings with it loads of baggage and incorrect pre-conceptions of value and worth.
“What do you really mean by ‘Secondary Relationship’ anyway?”
Most people within the poly community still choose to use these terms to help define how each different relationships fits into their life, it is not a ranking or competition. But to be totally clear, when someone uses these terms its always important to understand what it means to them and how it impacts on others.
In fact using these terms carefully is positive, it can help others understand the dynamic within any given relationship and make an informed decision about if they wish to get involved. Unfortunately this information is not shared as often as it should be and that’s why often people get hurt or people end up feeling undervalued
Having a primary relationship or being a primary partner is okay, its a clear declaration of a fact it is also important to consider couple privilege too at some point. This is often overlooked and taken for granted, which is where further problems can occur later on.
The reality of the situation is that often some people or relationships play a far more central and significant role in people’s lives than others. This commonly defined by children, financial or other similar factors that need to be considered. It is therefore vital to be clear about this and what can work for each party involved before taking the plunge.
Being clear, truthful and honest about your wants, needs and desires enables potential partners to make well-informed decisions and therefore work together to create some totally amazing relationships.
On the reverse, people who treat others as disposable or undervalued assets, will more often than not find their relationships, poly or otherwise, difficult and challenging to 0 maintain.
“I’m only human…”
As human beings we are all important and showing respect for each other will go a long way towards dealing with any issues that present themselves in the amazing multifaceted world of polyamorous relationships.