As we dive deeper into the world of polyamory, I find myself making clear distinctions between love and partnership. To me, it’s the difference between my primary relationship and my secondary relationship.
With my primary marriage, partnership is fundamental. We make decisions together about our children, our household, our goals and plans. We have a lot of logistical issues to work out. We have to deal with a lot of unpleasant stuff along with the fun of spending time together.
Having a second gives us the gift of experiencing love without having to negotiate partnership. We don’t have to be compatible in how we spend money or how we want to plan our next 30 years of life. Our parenting styles don’t have to align. We don’t have to have the same fundamental values about ethical issues. We can focus on what works for us. What we love about each other. We don’t have to embrace the full package. The headaches and the messiness of life can be set aside. It can feel like a vacation from problems or worries sometimes. A gift of stepping away from a decision for some delicious fun.
We have a good friend who is also newly in love with a primary relationship. My boyfriend noted that her head is always in the future, thinking ahead to how this relationship could transform into partnership. He lamented that she was losing the beauty of the present moment. But she had no choice as a primary agreement, I responded. If she is looking for a long-term partner, all that other stuff needs to align–in addition to the moon and the stars, great oral sex, and romantic dinners by candlelight.
Having a second provides the gift of experiencing the fun parts without having to transition in our mind to the next steps. I am fully away that nothing is forever and I’m sure these emotions of how our foursome works will change. But for now, I’m enjoying that even after a year, I can still stay focused on the present moment rather than worrying about the future.