Part of being in a poly household means learning to share. We share time, affection, space, and each other. I means acceptance not expectation. We discussed a lot of this in my post about sacrifice. In the early days of our poly life I had a lot of issues with security. While my role as wife is and always will be a strong and firm one in Hubby’s life I didn’t always know how to recognize or believe that. Likewise, we had a lot still to learn about times when other partners will inevitably take priority and how to handle those moments.
Hubby and I currently have limited contact and are, for the most part, separated physically for the next several months. This comes at a terrible time, and will explain any lengthy absence I take from writing. Life is hectic, stressful, and a lot bigger than these little arms can carry, but I’m doing my best to hold it all together. What it has done, however, is show us where we may have lacked that sense of priority, or at least caused us to reassess how we express it.
Not every poly relationship has the same system of hierarchy. Some families have more than one husband or wife. Some have primaries and secondaries. Some have no system at all, everyone is equal. Early on Hubby made it clear that, as his wife, I am the woman he chose to be his partner. This means I have a lot more on my plate, but it also means I enjoy a certain position. I am his wife, and while others may hold very special and similar positions down the road, none will be his wife. This doesn’t give me permission to lord over Hubby’s other partners. On the contrary, it puts me in a position of a mentor. This is the benefit and responsibility of my priority.
There are many problems that arise in a poly relationship surrounding priority. One being how a primary feels when her partner has NRE with someone else. It can be daunting when he is suddenly smitten and can speak of nothing but this new love, but it’s important to remember not only how crucial these formative early moments are for a new relationship but also that you are his confidante and best friend. You are the one he wants to share this new experience and excitement with because he loves you. Sometimes Hubby may get a little over excited and have to be reminded that it’s our time or that it’s our date at the carnival, so no, we should not win a teddy bear to take his new girlfriend. Still, this NRE is not a threat to your status.
Another issue that arises is recognizing how a significant other expresses that you are at the top of his list. No, he probably will not walk up and pee on you in front of your new girlfriend or accept you doing it in front of his. No, your wife will probably notˆagree to get you name tattooed on her forehead. Well, maybe they will. He might, however, ask if you want to see a movie before he takes his new girlfriend. She might turn down a night out once in a while just to stay home and relax with you. Just because they aren’t grandiose gestures or things you would do does not mean they aren’t important actions to your significant other. Sometimes a slight change of perspective changes everything.
The biggest issue that comes with priority talk is that sometimes you don’t take priority. If you’ve given a night for him to be with someone else, unless there’s an emergency you owe him that respect. If her other partner has a serious need or problem, or just really needs her for some reason, you owe it to both of them to be the bigger person and not make an issue of it. This is where those sacrifices come in, but this is where being poly really means loving, and loving our partners more than ourselves. I could be selfish and make demands that let me have a little more alone time with Hubby when I can see him while we’re apart, but to the detriment to his other relationships, and to him. As wife, and as his partner, it’s my responsibility to make sure he’s happy and everyone’s needs are met, because I love him. I know in the end there are little things for only me, even now, and those are the things I look forward to when I can’t quite get what I want now.
In the end, priority isn’t about who comes first, but about being strong and sure of your place in a relationship. It’s about compromise when the needs of others must come before your own, and it’s about partnership. Yes, we are at the core, but that does not discount any other relationships that may stand the test of time. It just means ours has that strength and power. It means ours has that love. I recognize, now, those little things, and I love them even more than the little ones. This is what he gives his Wife. It doesn’t matter to what he gives anyone else.
Go now, love everyone!