Relationship priority. It’s a concept that many of us may never have heard of, but it’s been on my mind for awhile now.

It’s something I’d never heard of until a few years back, when I went out with Paige. If you read back then, you remember it didn’t go quite as expected.

But after my date and the aftermath that followed, my dear old friend Lily Lloyd from the former A Black Leather Belt (RIP Lily, wherever you are) brought relationship priority to my attention.

If you’re a married couple, or have primarily only been involved in traditional heterosexual relationships, relationship priority is going to be an odd concept, one which, on the surface, you’re not going to see an issue with.

After all, it’s what we’ve been taught since we started thinking about boys and girls and first dates and the birds and the bees. It’s been ingrained in us since day one.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

What Is Relationship Priority?

When you’re polyamorous, you love and have relationships with more than one person. And each of these relationships are different and special in their own way.

And equal. And therefore should be treated as such.

This is where those of us who have only been in monogamous relationships brains glitch.

Let me give an example for clarification:

There’s M and I, in a long-term, previously monogamous relationship with children. We live together and share financial responsibility. We decide we want to open our marriage and date other people. 

We get involved with A and start to date. There’s new love and butterflies and the excitement that new relationships bring.

On a random night, I’m out of town, and A is coming over to hang out with M. We have always been a couple with A, and M has never been one on one with her. 

Feeling insecure, I tell M that I don’t want him having sex with A if I’m not there. 

Now, to those of us in monogamous marriages or partnerships, or to many that have considered having threesomes in the past, this may make sense.

I don’t want my partner fucking another chick if I’m not around. He’s my partner.

But he’s also A’s.

And A is in a relationship too.

Now take a moment and put yourself in A’s shoes. How does she feel? Like she’s not as important? That she’s a prop instead of a partner? Either way, she gets the raw end of the deal.

And this, my friends, is one of the main reasons many poly singles don’t like to get involved with couples. Because we always put each other, and our singular relationship, first.

The Point, I Guess

There was a point to this, and I guess it’s this: if you are considering opening your marriage up, and opening it up to more than just casual sex, both “primary” partners need to understand that things are going to change.

As new relationships grow and develop, the primary relationship will change as well. And that’s okay. If you want this to work, you have to let it. There are times you may feel hurt. Jealous. Insecure. Talk to your partner about these feelings, seek reassurance, and learn to trust and move forward.

It’s unfair to be in a relationship with someone and not take his or her needs into consideration. You need to make change and accommodate your new partner as much as you do with your primary partner.

So if you think you may want to open up and date other people, either as a couple or as singles, talk about relationship priority before it happens. Think of how it can manifest without you realizing it and ways that you can keep it at bay.

This will not only help your new relationships grow, but it can help to strengthen your primary relationship as well.