Do you use these terms?
I usually try not to.
Why or why not?
I feel like it is slightly dehumanizing to my partners to try to “nail down” (if you will) a fluid relationship in such a way. There are instances for the sake of someone understanding that I am forced to use them, but I usually state how uncomfortable I am with using those terms.
What do they mean to you and your partner/s?
If I’m talking about my “Primary” would be the person that I have “heavy” life investments or entanglements with, such as has been stated before (marriage, shared expenses, things that are quantified as “normal” family stuff). The “Secondary” would be my other Boyfriend or Girlfriend, these are the people that know that I love them in my own way and that each of them have a special place in my life. However, there is also the understanding that if my “Primary” needs me those needs will come first. Usually this causes no issues for me, because I have been blessed with a partner who understands my needs as far as my perceived freedom goes, and does not invade my time with my “secondary” relationships.
What has been your experience with them?
My experience has been varied some take the terms at face value and others don’t, it is just a matter of finding a wording that makes everyone comfortable if not happy. The best compromise is where everyone is mostly content. (I mean really you can’t please everyone, though you sure as hell can try)
How do you feel about these terms?
As I said before I find them slightly dehumanizing considering how fluid human relationships are. The most important thing, in my opinion, is making sure your “secondary” knows they have a place in your life and that the place they have is special and important.
Do you have any opinion about other people using them?
The only preference I have is that people use them as infrequently as possible.
How do non-polys react when you use these terms?
My experience has been mostly shocking, I have several open minded friends that accept it, but there is always the donny downer. One of my closest friends from high school has “forbade” me from talking about any of my boyfriends and girlfriends to her, “If you must talk about them refer to them as friends and that is it.” is what she says. She loves to hear about my Fiancee though… it is all about perspective I suppose.