Primus Inter Pares

Primus Inter Pares - First among equals - privilege

An issue I’ve noticed coming up on a regular basis with poly discussion groups is the subject of equality. It’s also a topic that has also popped up a number of times for me personally since moving to a polyamorous lifestyle.

“Primus Inter Pares”

Is a Latin phrase meaning first among equals. The phrase infers that a person is formally considered equivalent to others in a group, but is also superior in some attribute.

I find myself asking is equality actually possible or necessary?

Equality doesn’t always have to mean that everyone gets the exact same things at the exact same time, I’d actually in fact argue that it’s better if you don’t even try to do this.

Different partners are different people, and the different people have different needs, so if you try to give them the exact same things, it won’t necessarily make either of them happy. In fact its likely to back fire horribly and reduce the value placed upon every word, action and deed.

Another problem can also be generated and it’s a real relationship killer “keeping score”, but that’s a whole new article in itself. I wrote one a while back about couples, but I guess it applies to all relationship shapes and interactions between metamour’s too – “Keeping Score”

So perhaps instead of chasing the impossible dream of equality, we should all really be thinking about fairness instead, because fairness does not mean equality.It’s basically about treating people with kindness and understanding.

No one ever said being poly was gonna be easy and if they did they’re likely to be in for a surprise 😉

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2 thoughts on “Primus Inter Pares

  1. Interesting and quite a valid point. ‘Primus inter pares’ is an ancient Latin legal term which was applied over the centuries to the political figures of various eras, most notably to Augustus Caesar, Mark Antony and Marcus Lepidus after the murder of Julius Caesar. They each wanted more than what fairness or equality dictated, civil war broke out (again) and left Augustus as the sole ruler when the other two were dead. You see this play out in UK politics as well; the PM is ‘first among equals’ until the other nine agitate enough to get the person to step down. Maggie ‘Mad Cow’ Thatcher comes to mind. It’s a legal fiction which has never worked well in any arena.

    When my first two children were very young, I witnessed something that most parents see. Dinner is finished, and now it’s time for dessert! Ice cream! The kids are sitting in their chairs, panting with anticipation! We bring the bowls, set them down, and hear “He got more than I did!” Probably two, perhaps three millilitres more. As parents, it’s easy to say “Stop the nonsense and enjoy the ice cream!” But with adult poly partners, that does not go. It’s time to discuss.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is fabulous, TK! It made me think how this paragraph applies to every relationship in my life; even in my monogamous lifestyle. We are entirely different human beings and need to have our uniqueness be respected and honored. Our list of needs is not always the same.

    “Different partners are different people, and they different people have different needs, so if you try to give them the exact same things, it won’t necessarily make either of them happy. In fact its likely to back fire horribly and reduce the value placed upon every word, action and deed.”

    Great post! Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

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