Originally published at
Quick, name your primary!
Did you name your spouse? A live-in lover? Someone you don’t live with that you are deeply in love with?
What about yourself?
No, I’m dead serious. You are the only person that you’re sure as shit to live with the rest of your life. Anything else is pretty much up in the air due to choice, fate, or accident.
That being the case, it’s behooves you to make sure your relationship with your primary is in good order.
Now, this is not to say that it’s a bad idea to love your loves with as deep and as strong a passion as is in you. In fact, if you really do love your primary, and keep your relationship with yourself in order, you’re going to find that it’s much easier to be truly loving to other people.
See, it takes a lot of the risk out of it.
I strongly recommend seeing if you can lay your hands on Open Marriage , by Nena and George O’Neil. It’s an old book and it can feel a little dated, but the premise is superb. The basic premise is that it’s really not a good idea for a married couple to be joined at the hip and see themselves as a single unit, but as individual people choosing to have a relationship together.
Now, this is a serious change from my own previous viewpoint. For years, I did think that the “all for one, and one for all” attitude made for the ideal marriage.
I still have a rash from the chafing!
Now, if there’s anything that is core to me, it’s that if experience whacks me on the nose, I change my opinion. <grin> Yes, it takes experience to do it. You can’t tell me anything! But, yes, I can learn.
So, what does being your own primary entail?
Well, first of all being able to and willing to attend to your own wants and needs and all that happy horseshit. To be your own primary means that you’ll be responsible for meeting your own needs. You don’t hang that on anyone else. I mean, if someone wants to be involved and that, great! But you don’t need it to be able to be fulfilled.
Do you have a social circle that does not depend on any of your loves? Do you have interests that you share as well as interests you don’t? Are you confident that if something happened and you found yourself alone you could still build a good, healthy and happy life? If not? Don’t feel bad about it. Our culture is not geared to training people to be that self-sufficient. So, don’t feel bad. But do work on it.
For some people, and I’ll include myself, a very freeing thing is to know that you can support yourself financially if necessary. This means that you’re not scared. You know you can take care of yourself. If you have never kept the books, or held a full-time job (yes, there are still housewives out there who haven’t set foot in the outside workplace for years ! I was one of them for many years), learned to drive or maintain a car or do basic home maintenance, or any of the random daily stuff — learn. This goes for people who’ve held full-time jobs, but don’t know how to cook, do laundry without ruining their clothes or stuff like that, too. It might mean that you go to school to pick up a marketable skill. It might be making sure you’re keeping up on marketable skills. It might mean taking over housework chores you don’t ordinarily do as part of self training. But do what it takes.
This is going to open up your heart to be able to have much greater intimacy with your partners. It’s a lot easier to be loving when you’re not scared of loss. You’ll be able to give your partner freedom without being threatened. You won’t say yes to things that make you resentful. You’ll find it easier and less threatening to say yes to your partner’s wants and needs. You’ll be able to forge an excellent relationship between two (or more) independent and strong people, and yes, you’ll find it immensely fulfilling to have those relationships. You just won’t be dependant on them. This is not to say you’ll be tepid about relationships or not care. I mean, if I lost a partner would it hurt and totally suck? Ummm…
It would suck big twinkie.
But, the one primary I will always have, and the one that it is my total responsibility it is to take care of is me. That’s one thing I cannot ever lose.
It’s a good and fairly relaxed place to be.