Tag Archive: clarity


(or Secondary relationships, brought to you by the letter P and the number 2)

My sweetie pointed me toward K&P tonight to look at a post about love being what you do vs what you feel. And it was certainly interesting, but I noticed and read several about ‘secondary’ partners that sort of triggered a need to post.

There seems to be this mental association to the label of secondary, that somehow calling somone secondary or being called a secondary partner means that you’re “lesser” or “disposable” or treating your partner as lesser or what have you. And that may well be the case in some relationships. Which is complete crap of course. Sure, one of the actual definitions of the word secondary is: of second rank, importance, or value.  But, did anyone other than me learn in kindergarten that words can have multiple meanings?

How about this definition: not first in order of occurrence or development.  What exactly is wrong with being the second person I am in love with or develop a relationship with? What exactly is wrong with calling that relationship ‘secondary’ or ‘my secondary relationship’ or ‘my secondary partner’? D is my primary partner, yeah that means he was here before you. That doesn’t mean that a secondary partner will get a smaller piece of the love loaf. (Have a habit of making similes about love not being like a loaf of bread, though I guess that makes them reverse similes? Whatevs, I just wanted to say love loaf. Oh, I said it again! Nee.)

Or this: of, relating to, or being the second order or stage in a series. Hmm. Sounds like poly to me! Let’s pretend! I have a series of relationships… longest running: primary, next longest running: secondary, etc, so on and so forth. Having a longer history or a deeper life entanglement (think bills, kids, family squabbles) with a primary partner doesn’t mean a secondary partner is lesser! Matter of fact, most of the time it means a secondary partner gets more relaxation, more calm, more good things; because they are less(uh-oh, there’s that four letter word again!) likely to have the same life responsibilities that a primary partner will have.

Alternate synonyms for ‘secondary’ if you just can’t wrap your head around the whole ‘secondaries aren’t lesser’ thing: accessory, alternate, auxiliary, backup, extra, relief, reserve, subsidiary, supporting, tributary, consequential… Hell, call it anything except late to dinner provided you’re treated well and happy in it.

Seriously, who gives a flying fuck on a flat faced flugle horse about the label, honestly?! Stop spending so much time hung up on “oh, gosh that label sounds like secondaries are lesser or being treated as lesser”. Focus on what being a second partner is to you and the people you are with! If they are treating you as lesser and disposable, then you have an issue. If not, you don’t need to make the label the issue. Enjoy having another person in your life to love and be loved by!

(Imaginary cookies to everyone who gets the movie references sprinkled through out. Again, I’m a dork. :))

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About love…

For me, part of loving a person is love as a noun. Loving all of them; for their potential, personality, their flaws and quirks. Loving them whether they fail or succeed. My love doesn’t come with strings, my love is just about how much someone matters to me. About how much I hope for their joy. There is no expectation of love in return. I can love people even when they have become horrible people, even when I wouldn’t choose to spend time around them. They can change as they need to change, because my love is about adapting, about seeing what people are at any given moment.

Circumstances may force our separation, but we may in time find a way to be together again and a few past relationships have been welcomed back into my life that way. Our relationships now may function differently than the past but, when the circumstances were that one of us needed to go make some mistakes or learn something elsewhere, or just pull our lives together for a stable base, my love is still there.

And for me, part of loving someone is love as a verb. Love as something we ‘do’ for one another that is necessary to sustain an active relationship. Making time together, being present in the relationship, respecting boundaries, communicating and compromising… are all things I try to ‘do’ to express my love whether that’s love for a friend, relative, or partner.

On another hand, my love just is. Once I love someone, whether our relationship continues or not, I love them. I think of them, miss them, and hope they are well. I am happy when they are joyful and a sounding board for sorrows if they turn to me as a friend.  Love as an emotional state, not a series of actions.

I don’t love a person for ‘just’ what they are now or ‘just’ what relationship they hold in my life, but as all the possible people they can be. I love them for their struggles, mistakes, and changes, not in spite of them; so a change, in itself, can’t undermine my love for them. How much I love them is how much I love them. Other emotions or rational reasons may become stronger than that love; like the risks involved in loving a heavy drug user, loving someone who’s abusive, or simply them growing out of their love for me.

I don’t think that love has to be returned to be real. For me, love is a part of me, not a reflection on the person. It’s my emotion, and it doesn’t have to be reciprocated. When I care about someone, I love them. And it would hurt to lose them, though I would be happy for them to find what they need, elsewhere or other than me. I’ve had people walk out of my life completely, hurt me terribly, and still I love them. I may not have a functional relationship with them, I may not foresee ever letting them in my life again, and I may even take actions to keep them separate from my life. That doesn’t change that I love them. Our lives simply grew apart or personal choices that we each made meant our relationship(as it began) was no longer sustainable.

Once I love someone, that feeling never ever leaves, even though I may never be able to live with or date that person.. It just changes logistics, realities, availability in time or other reasons to end our relationship or opportunities to grow together. Love is the fact that I have to work to isolate them from my life and my heart, if things go horribly wrong, because a part of me will always want to let them inside.

Decisions. Some hard decisions are coming up for me over the next few months. I’m going to be moving… I have wanted to move for years, it was just not feasible. And now, I don’t see anyway to avoid it at this point. So not an ideal situation.

To complicate that I have to worry about the kids… a good school, babysitting, the ‘trauma’ of moving, changes in their routine and just general kid worries! How’s my family going to handle me moving out of their sphere of influence? My parents especially and to a lesser extent my siblings all seem to think that they should be running my life.

Yay for family dynamics!

I have some decisions to make around my relationship with D too. He’s started a new job which is going to put us on different schedules for the foreseeable future. (I just realized how ugly ‘foreseeable’ is strictly in a visual sense. shudders) We’re talking about the adjustments that will leave us with sorting out… time: for kink, M/s,  sex, family, friends, and for just *being* together. We’ve talked about how most likely I’ll be going to a lot of events without him. Which, yes, I’ve done before. And I’m perfectly capable of doing so again. Just… not my favorite idea.

And with both of us soon to be looking for a new place… we’ve discussed moving in — together. Decisions, decisions.
Time. Much has changed  over the last 6 months. A lot of things and relationships and interactions. D and I have moved forward in our relationship on multiple levels and exploring as much as reality will allow. R ended our relationship. Money issues and school and babysitters and on and on have all changed.

T, with whom I had a mutual committed interest, and I discussed just today how that interest has changed/not changed. sigh And the conclusion was that it needs to adjust from ‘committed interest here, waiting for the right time’ to ‘this is my good friend, possibly occasional play partner’. He’s picked up some new responsibilities (work and relationship) lately and with those, his life is busy. Which is, of course, understandable… but upsetting. Sometimes I hate being practical.

Though I was told today that my being ‘imminently practical and full of blunt clarity’ is a loved characteristic. Thank you, D.

Here did she fall a tear, here in this place
I’ll set a bank of rue, sour herb of grace.
-William Shakespeare

Rue. sighs Quite a bit has happened in the last 6 months that have tested my grace. Mainly, the ending of the relationship with R. And I’m struggling to a certain extent now to establish a scening relationship with him, without lingering pain and regret lacing that or harming our friendship. I’m biting my tongue a lot, a LOT at the “objections” coming in from B… they seem to be really similar(exactly) the issues I got accused of being ‘my fault’ and used as reasons for ending our relationship… hmmm…double standard, much?

Ooh, was that catty or blunt clarity again? Either way, more a club than a stiletto, I suppose.

This was sort of inspired by a conversation from Fetlife on non D/s issues in poly and ‘ownership’. The following are my personal definitions.

Envy: a feeling of longing for something that someone else has. I wish I could ride the pony too!

Jealousy: A negative feeling of longing, wanting to take away what someone else has. I want to ride the pony instead of you!

Possessive: jealously opposed to the personal independence of or to any influence other than one’s own upon a child, spouse, lover etc. You can’t ride my pony!

Territorial: Owning and protecting a particular territory. Teaching the pony to jump is my job.

Ownership: The ultimate right, subject to certain restrictions, to enjoy, occupy, possess, use, or give away an item of property. This time with the pony is mine.

I am territorial. I do claim ownership. I can feel jealousy or possessiveness; which is usually an indication to me that I better talk to my pony and right quick about what I’m feeling and why. *wink* Envy, I think, is not a negative emotion.

And here’s a direct quote from the thread:

“When I say I’m territorial, I’m talking about having a clear sense of what stuff is mine and what stuff is not mine and having a natural inclination to stick with what’s mine. I don’t tolerate interference with the stuff that’s mine or trespassing on my turf, as a general rule; when I have to tolerate it, I do so grudgingly and with more than a little emotional disruption. My territoriality is intrinsic to my ability to be polyamorous in the first place – I need a clear sense of what is mine and what isn’t, so that I can release any sense of entitlement to things outside my territory.”

You know when you’re reading a blog or a thread and someone states something that makes you hiss:  ‘YESSSS, fuck! That is exactly what I’m talking about!’? That was totally my reaction after reading that comment.

My relationships are two(or more) people choosing to share territory. CHOOSING TO SHARE an emotional space over which we each have decision making control and to which we both absolutely have responsibility.

Time that my partner has committed to me: Our territory.
Time that my partner has not committed to me: Not our territory.

Though getting additional time with my partner outside of our time is encouraged and healthier for us in the long run. There has to be enough of our territory for us both to feel we’re sustaining ‘us’. Being territorial requires knowing where and when your territory ends. Basic personal boundaries, people! If Thursday’s my day with Partner A? My partner B and his partners C & D better respect that territory and do one of two things:

A) Don’t trespass!
OR
B) ASK permission from both of us to enter our territory.

Because when I feel my territory is being invaded or my partner’s not protecting it’s boundaries or ANY OF OUR OSOs aren’t respecting it? Is when I feel jealousy or possessiveness; and is an indication to me that I better talk to my pony(s) and right quick about what I’m feeling and why.

And when there are no boundaries laid out? I have no security or knowledge that any territory is actually mine. I never know if any territory I enter is mine or whether I’m invading. I refuse to knowingly be that person, I have huge respect for personal boundaries. And when my partner’s put me in that position? Is when I feel angry! You’ve just used me as a tool to NONCONSENSUALLY invade someone else’s territory! And that’s an indication to me that I better talk to my pony and right fucking fast about what I’m feeling and why.

On R(emembering)…

Yes, I’m thinking on you again. Some people might be wondering “Why?”

I don’t know. Some things just won’t go away.

I know what’s my fault. I fell in love with you. It happens seldom enough that when I do fall, it’s significant.

I miss you a lot.

Not the you who restricted me out of your life…the you that you were when we were happy. The you that made me smile and laugh. The you who would talk for hours about yourself and your worries, wants and loves. The you who sang me Tim Minchin songs in bed. The you who couldn’t keep your hands off me.

I wasn’t looking for you at all. I didn’t even know who you were when you found me. You asked me out. I told you all the things that would make that difficult. I gave you an itemized list: distance, my kids, time needs, old wounds, other love interests, etc… I gave you fair warning about who I was and what I needed. I asked if you were dating anyone outside of your wife, who is a friend. You said no.

You pushed. You pushed hard. You wanted a strong secondary relationship. Not a primary, you had H and I had D; but for me to have a strong influence in your life and you in mine. We started calling it ‘main’ cause it wasn’t exactly primary… but wasn’t exactly secondary either.

I relented. I had no hopes for the evening to turn out well. You charmed me. You made me laugh.

You encouraged me to let down my guard. I worried about emotional attachment. About becoming attached too quickly. You encouraged it and you said you were becoming attached too. I loved.

Finally, you had me. For almost two months, things went well. You started dating another secondary, B. One that you had omitted spending 2-3 nights a week with when I had asked if you were dating. There were issues with scheduling from the start. All the things we had agreed on for us, didn’t work for her. All the things you said you didn’t want to do with her, she wanted.

Suddenly, the majority of our time was being used up, not to meet our needs together; but to meet B’s needs.

That’s when you stopped pulling me to you and got distant. That’s when other omissions started becoming clear. That’s when you started pushing me away. That’s when our relationship started being last on your list. That’s when you started shutting me out of parts of your life. Kink. Public time. Energy. Focus. Communication. Sex.

I asked if you were done? Being me, though, when you said no, you loved me; my immediate thought was that you meant it. Because I don’t play mind games. When you offered things to me, it didn’t occur to me that those would become ‘ways I restricted you’ or ‘things that I asked for’ later. I believed in you because I loved you.

I wanted to save what we had…because I was in love with you.

We made it through the holidays and then you needed a ‘break’. You were stepping back from both me and B and would talk with each of us about our schedule. In the mean time, we’d each see you one evening, shared; and one night, alone.

I tried to sort out what went wrong. I thought maybe I made a mistake. You punished me for placing restrictions on you that I never asked for and then you punished me for trying to fix what was now broken. You accused me of manipulating you. I didn’t get time with you for 2 weeks.

We all shared a non-kink weekend event. You didn’t seem to miss me at all. I had to ask for time alone to reconnect. You commented about how we were so easy together afterward. I found out during that weekend that you’d already taken back B.

I waited another two weeks for you to talk with me about our schedule. We had a weekend long kink event, you and me and B. I left that weekend feeling like I had to force you to spend time with me.

Two days after the event I finally broke down and had to ask you what my schedule was going to be with you. And you cut me further out of your life and cut our time down from what our relationship started with by two thirds.

One night a week.

Really one night a month since I’d have to share that night with your other partners 3 out of 4 weeks a month. And you couldn’t explain how that was fair to us or me.

I asked about options:

Could we alternate another night between me and another of your partners?
No.

Could you let me know when you had days off so I could hermit with you like your other partners?
No.

Could I come up to you on a week night and spend a few hours, though I couldn’t stay overnight cause I’d have to get the kids off to school in the morning?
Maybe. Sometimes. Not every week. You weren’t sure.

Could I be included in your community meetings, like your other partners?
No.

Could we make a time during the day that was ours?
No, daytimes were for you.

Could you give me a phone call one or two nights a week?
No. You hated talking on the phone.

I asked again how was that what we had wanted out of our relationship. How was that fair to us. How was that going to meet our needs as a couple.

And you were done. You quit. I ‘wanted too much’. I couldn’t give you the ‘distance’ you needed. I was ‘unhealthy for you’.

All of 4 hours after completely rewriting our relationship, you were done.

And I didn’t and don’t understand; what I wanted from you at the end of our relationship was the same thing we both said we wanted at the beginning… and you insisted that you still wanted those things too.

And I’m still left with not understanding. I can’t get the answers from you. We haven’t really talked for a while. Not really talked. I try to keep it light, because it still hurts when you get angry or defensive or blame me for us breaking. Suddenly, I’m the only one at fault. You won’t admit to doing anything wrong. You can’t see the other things that affected us. My truth is ‘just my perception’ and your truth is the truth.

I know there were things I did that were wrong for you. You’ve said so. But you won’t talk to me about what they were. You won’t explain how they were wrong. You won’t explain why you hid them from me for so long. You won’t explain when you started feeling them. I don’t want to fill in the blanks myself, cause that’s not fair to either of us. So the questions simply sit there. And occasionally fly around my heart and cut me again.

You don’t seem to miss me. You didn’t seem to mourn us at all. Most of the time you act like we don’t still have feelings for each other.

It’s been six weeks.

And at some point, I admitted to myself that I was missing you still. I feel foolish because I still care, still miss you and still want to fix what didn’t need to break. I want to talk about burying the past and getting back together. Trying us, now, out for size. Not a primary, we both already have one. But a solid secondary relationship. And that was when I realized it wouldn’t matter… we’d had that. And it wasn’t worth enough to you to protect it or fight for it.

I started writing an email. About what I’d need that was ‘less’ or ‘different’ than what I needed before. And that was when I realized I DIDN’T WANT TO KNOW if you would just pull away again. That was when I realized I don’t have lower needs from you. Focus, energy, sex, kink; all based during time that was ours. My time with you being treated with respect by you and B. Being treated fairly. Not being shut out of your life. Open, honest, clear communication. Remaining honest with me about your sexual activities, for our safety.

I had never asked you for your focus during time that was someone else’s. H’s time was hers and I respected that. B’s time was hers and I respected that. I never had to be everywhere you went. I was perfectly able to greet you, show my love and say goodnight without interfering in your time with another partner when we all ended up in the same space.

But if I asked for the same respect, I was being selfish. I was interfering. I was ‘trying to take things away’. I was being ‘negative’. I was ‘isolating’ you. I was being ‘manipulative’.

But it doesn’t end there.

I still can’t turn off the caring. I still miss you. I still love you. I don’t particularly like you right now, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t care. It doesn’t mean that I don’t miss you like crazy.

You can’t stop either.

We still talk everyday. You still ask me for my advice. I still talk to you about my day. We still spend time together within the community.

Why can’t I turn you off? I’ve never had a relationship sour so quickly, never been accused the way you accused me, never been treated as… low in value as you treated me at the end. I’ve had years long poly relationships in the past. More than one. What happened?