A and I have had a lot of talks about primary vs. secondary and what they mean and blah blah blah. I think my disdain for this topic comes out in that sentence. I hate the primary/secondary dichotomy that seems to be pervasive in polyamory. This isn’t because I think it’s bad in general, but because I think the terms are loaded with meaning that requires qualification and justification and there’s just too much potential for miscommunication.
My life lately has been up and down and all over the place. So, real life, really. But I could venture to say that my downs have been a little lower than is normal for me and my ups are so much part of my life, but I love them every time. For example, tonight, I was putting my girls to bed and we had a tickle fight. Their giggles are the best sound in the whole world. I felt happier in that moment than any other moment today. Yesterday, I had an amazing experience at work. Someone showed a lot of appreciation for me. Appreciation I didn’t ask for. Appreciation for doing my job and caring about her well-being. It made my day. She had no idea that my weekend had been dealing with the asshatery that overtook hubby this weekend, but the gift she gave me was everything I needed. Last night, D came over, and we laughed and cuddled, and talked and had amazing sex. The connection is overwhelming sometimes and then it isn’t, because it’s everything that is right in this world.
Today, I made an executive decision!. I’m going to switch from calling hubby “hubby”, and start calling him “F”. At one point, I said that no one should be called F, but I think he’s earned the title of F over and over. F for Fucker, F for Failure, F for Fucking asshole douchebag cunty bastard that keeps hurting my children and playing a victim when he should be acting like a fucking adult and suck up his shit. (See, aren’t you glad I shortened it to F? Imagine if I had to type that out and you had to read it every time!)
I’ve been working away at re-establishing my independence after 14 years (yesterday) with F (Yes, having an amazing evening with D that involved fucking several times was the best way to celebrate that anniversary), and feeling generally good about it. Every time I think that maybe I jumped ship too soon, he does something even more dickish, and then I’m so very happy that I don’t have to be married to him for that much longer.
Today, F was a giant fucking dickhead to my girls. One by one, all of them ended up home, crying, miserable because he wasn’t coping with them being kids. In the end, my eldest, who is 7, was punished unfairly and was screaming for answers from him. While I was changing our son, who is 2, and putting him to bed, F left the house in one of our vehicles. Our eldest tried to run after him. Another followed her, scared for her safety. Another was screaming on the step that the other two had run away. Here I was with a naked boy and no one to help. Eventually we all made it back into the house with much drama. My eldest collapsed into a heap of jello on my knee and let out all her hurt. She misses her daddy. She says he’s changed and isn’t nice anymore. That he used to be fun and kind and patient and now he’s always angry and never home. I’m so proud of that kid. She expressed her feelings and talked to her dad and told him she needed him and he came back and rose to the occasion (ish, he was still a dick, just less of one). But my girl? She’s amazing. God I love her.
This all was hard for me. I had that tickle fight with the girls at bedtime because I needed to see them happy. I cuddled them extra long and let them sleep in my bed because I wanted them to feel safe and secure and loved. I wanted to hurt F badly for fucking up so badly with my girls. I wanted to make him feel the pain that they were feeling. The pain that I AM feeling because they are hurting.
But I didn’t. I was the bigger person. Again. Because my kids need that. Because my mom was that person for me and my sister and I know how much it means to me now, 30 years later. Because those kids deserve so much more.
I’m hurting a lot over this. Over the fact that my 7-year-old is in so much pain that she can’t do anything but scream sometimes because she doesn’t have the words to explain the hurt she feels. Over the fact that F is coping so badly that he doesn’t see how badly he’s managing his life and his interaction with our kids. Over the fact that this guy who is so smart and has so much to offer has focused all his efforts on his emotions and his priorities and himself as a victim. That he can’t see past his own ass to realize what he’s doing is hurting his kids. His wonderful, beautiful, innocent, amazing kids. And their hurt, it hurts me.
Today, A was supposed to come over. I knew early today that he might not be able to. His wife is swamped at work and had to work late. I certainly understand a woman working hard in her career and trying to get ahead. I understand that statistically, she has to be so much better than her male colleagues, and that she has less time to do it in, because she is a wife and a mother and all the other things those of us who are amazing, strong, independent, fierce women are.
A is swamped at work. He has so much on his plate right now, I don’t know how he gets from breakfast to supper without a breakdown. This extra work stress comes with a boatload of personal stress that no one deserves and that, like everything else, he is handling with class and poise and a whole lot of attitude. But I know it’s wearing at him, and very occasionally, he admits it is.
There’s my perfect storm. I’m not someone who needs support a lot. But today, I really want someone next to me to cuddle. To hold me tight and tell me everything is going to be OK. (I want to say something about lying to me, but honestly, I know everything WILL be OK, eventually). I want someone who will distract me from life and all that needs to be done. Physically, emotionally, or otherwise, I needed some attention tonight.
I’m not weak enough that this is crushing to me, but the fact that A couldn’t come over got to me more than it normally would. Normally, I’d give myself the little pep talk that goes something like this: “Long-term, does this matter to you? Are you going to actually be upset tomorrow when you wake up? Does this change how you feel? No? No? No? Good. Then shut the fuck up and get on with life.” (I do sometimes chastise myself for being too feely….)
But today was the perfect storm. F caused shit at home with my kids. D and I were together yesterday, so he was an amazing support via text, but I can’t expect him to dump the family and come to my side. A was supposed to come, but couldn’t. He couldn’t because his wife was working late. I asked if he could come when she came home and he said he’d probably fall asleep snuggling with his son.
None of these things are unreasonable. Sure, if we were all NRE’d up and this was a super powerful sex thing, I could see him electing to stay awake and come over when he could, but we’ve developed past that point. Like you didn’t know this was coming…..
BUT….I feel secondary. There. I said it. For the first time ever, in either of my relationships, I feel like I’m less than. A and D have always made me feel like a priority. I’ve always respected their responsibilities to their families, their relationship with their wives, their careers, their kids and everything else. I’m really good at this. I want to be with them, free of obligations or demands or complications or drama. I’m good at seeing that end goal and forgetting about the stuff in between. Except when I’m not.
Tonight, I sat at my table, and I actually thought for a minute that A’s wife may have stayed at work late because he was supposed to come to my house. (I know, logically, that this is not ever something she would do). Then I thought that maybe I was complicating A’s life too much and that I was starting to be an obligation. (Despite the fact that I know that we feel the same about each other and have an amazing time together). So I asked him. Of course he doesn’t feel obligated.
Tonight I had a need that couldn’t be filled. When it wasn’t filled, because of perfectly legitimate reasons, I let insecurity and weakness overcome me. I started questioning my role in other people’s lives. I felt “less than”. I felt secondary. In all the ways that the word “secondary” sucks. I felt unloved and unwanted and unsupported and alone.
That’s it. Right there. I felt alone. But in the end, no matter what your definition, I am alone. But alone means one. One means Primary. I guess I’m my own primary? Hmmmmmmm….I’m going to leave this all here!!!