Use of the terms “primary” and “secondary” to describe poly relationships
Do you use these terms?
Why or why not?
Same reason you’d use any word – in context with people who use that word as I do, it’s shorthand.
What do they mean to you and your partner/s?
They describe the levels of interwoven lives and commitments we’ve chosen to share.
What has been your experience with them?
They tend to upset people who are being described as filling a role they find doesn’t fit their needs or perhaps doesn’t fit the situation they’re actually in.
They tend to work for people who are comfortable in their relationships and occasionally need a descriptive word to explain the way a particular relationship is functioning at this time.
How do you feel about these terms? Do you have any opinion about other people using them?
They don’t bother me per se.
I find I have stronger negative feelings when other people use them to force a role or demand control over the emotions of another.
How do non-polys react when you use these terms?
Same way poly people do – with a variety of assumptions, preconceived notions, and their own history and experiences coloring their world view.