PQ 11.8 — Will it be possible for the secondary nature of my relationship to evolve into primary, if my partner and I desire that? If not, how will I feel about my relationship remaining secondary long into the future — say, ten or fifteen years?

a healthy vegetable garden with plants spaced a bit apart
Image by Alan Levine / CC BY

PQ 11.8 — Will it be possible for the secondary nature of my relationship to evolve into primary, if my partner and I desire that? If not, how will I feel about my relationship remaining secondary long into the future — say, ten or fifteen years?

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Human beings are notoriously terrible at predicting the emotional future. That means questions like these have utility as thought experiments and perspective checks. However, the results are always somewhat suspect.

But as I wrote in an earlier installment of this series:

Now, not every connection is going to grow into something larger. Sometimes the chemistry falters, and nothing takes hold. Other times, the relationship stays low entanglement and dates infrequent. But sometimes? One seed can grow into a giant tree.

And even if not every connection really takes off and fills the space, crowding them too close together without anywhere to grow is a sure way to kill them.

Relationships are finicky things. Compatibility can be fussy indeed. People change and so do feelings. Connection that takes root quickly can die out just as fast, given the wrong factors. But leaving room for a relationship to grow is one way that we can make conditions a bit more hospitable. Because if the plot is too small, not much can grow in them. Not comfortably at least.

Mutually Secondary

That said, I have seen some “strictly secondary” arrangements work out long term. However, when this has happened, both partners were mutually secondary. They each had other cohabiting primary partners, responsibilities, and entanglements. It wasn’t a matter of one half of the relationship hoping to be “promoted” to primary status while feeling lonely and unfulfilled.

I’m not saying that sort of arrangement can’t ever work out. Stranger things¬†have happened, for sure.

But it’s a significantly different scenario. And usually a much more difficult emotional reality.

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This post is part of a series in which I answer each of the chapter-end questions in More than Two with an essay. For the entire list of questions & answers, please see this indexed list.

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