Central versus Primary
Aubby was excited. She and Sara are starting a womens polyamory discussion group and even the formulating steps have her animated. “It makes you look at these questions like jealousy and ones relationships to your lovers other lovers in a deeper way, which you would not have to in monogamous relationships.”
If you want to build a new culture, you definitely need some new language.
In the world of open relationships (aka polyamory) there are different words used for different configurations and different roles. One of the more discussed relationship models is a configuration where there is a dominant relationship in which one or both of the partners have other smaller relationships.
Conversationally, these relationships are often called “primary” which is a term that i think very often has a meaning, but people often bristle when i tell them what my definition of a primary polyamorous relationship is:
In the event that all the lovers can not come to consensus around some issue, it is the primary relationship which will be deferred to.
From my perspective there are a number of problems with this type of definition, including that it can rewards bad behavior. If you are in the primary relationship and you dont want to deal with some new partner, you can simply block and likely will get your way.
The alternative term (that i use) for especially significant relationships in a polyamory context is central.
A central relationship is one where the partners are planning the important decisions of their lives around each other.
This does not mean that they are planning to do everything together. It does mean that if you are making any biggish life decision the input and counsel of your central lover will factor into your process. It also means (unlike the primary) you can have more than one central relationship (as i do) assuming you are willing to do that amount of processing work.
With Open Hands: A short handbook on Open Relationships