Thursday, May 6, 2010
Alone in the crowded poly world.
As a sort of continuation of a previous article I'm focusing on being a poly-single today. Or another description for those who like tags, being a Secondary.
What I heard recently were some mild complaints that being a single poly is extremely frustrating. It means you aren't prioritized in relationships at all. You will be cast aside, stood-up, and all but forgotten when your love needs to spend time with their SO or Primary. You are the last to be invited to a party or out on a date because your love does those things with their SO, not you. And even if your love had plans with you, when their SO squeaks they go running and you are left to fend for yourself.
I haven't really encountered this much myself though I have had partners who made it clear it was a huge concern for them. Once I explain I don't believe much in labels (such as Primary, Secondary, etc.) they relax a bit. When I further explain I prefer everyone involved to be equals, they relax a little more. Usually things calm completely when they see my actions and that I won't tolerate my loves competing or using time with me to compete with each other.
But is that really the problem referenced in the second paragraph above? I don't think so. I think the problem there is the person allowing someone else to control them resulting in feelings of being something of a second class citizen. If the person you love isn't making you a priority why are you with them? Of course we are talking polyamory here so there have to be reasonable exceptions. The SO is in a car accident; of course they should go be with their SO! But is it okay to break dates with you just because an SO is feeling needy? Hell no! And if that is happening, and you are staying in the relationship, then YOU are allowing it to happen. In my opinion if they are allowing their relationship to exist in that way they have no room to complain. Don't like it? Change it or get out!
I mentioned how I don't believe in labels and prefer equality. That is one way that I ensure all my loves are a priority. Yes, it puts the responsibility on my shoulders but I don't mind that. And in a relationship where I am functionally a Secondary if I don't feel my love is making an effort at equality and fair prioritization then I will exit the relationship. Why? Because even as a Secondary I have control over my relationships. Even if that control is the simple question of whether or not to have a relationship.
So what do you think? Have you ever been in this situation? If so, what did you do?
Or, am I completely off the reservation with this one? Should love be enough for us to overcome the frustrations mentioned?