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Telecaster68

Should your partner be the most important person in your life?

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Skullery Maid

If two people in a romantic relationship are legally able to marry each other but are not actively making plans to do so

I'm personally against legal marriage, though it doesn't affect the way I live my life or relationships. I just won't get legally married (unless for some reason I have to for legal reasons).

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Jade Cross
Not everyone who marries does it as a sign of love and commitment .

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Jade Cross

You can marry everyone (though that would be a legal nightmare) or noone. But I still say that its the person and not the nature of the relationship that determines who you give more importance to.

The nature of the relationship IS because of the person, though. You didn't marry them randomly... you married the person you want to live life with, rely on, be dependable for, etc.

Yes, but who makes the choice?

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Rising Sun

If two people in a romantic relationship are legally able to marry each other but are not actively making plans to do so, I am skeptical that they are actually the most important people in each other's lives. At least one of them is not ready for that level of commitment.

Having commitment issues doesn't mean anything about how much you actually love someone. You can love someone very deeply and be afraid of commitment in the same time because you had bad experiences in your past. In the same way, you can love someone very deeply and desire this person but you're scared to act on it because of your past too.

Trauma doesn't change feelings, it just changes the way people act on them but commitment issues doesn't mean any less love.

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Telecaster68

You can marry everyone (though that would be a legal nightmare) or noone. But I still say that its the person and not the nature of the relationship that determines who you give more importance to.

The nature of the relationship IS because of the person, though. You didn't marry them randomly... you married the person you want to live life with, rely on, be dependable for, etc.

Yes, but who makes the choice?

Both of you. Both people choose each other, generally on a monogamous basis.

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The Not So Impossible Girl

Marriage scares me a lot. I'm not afraid to admit it. It takes two (or more) incredibly strong people to have a successful marriage. If even one person is not cut out for it, it can crumble. That said, I really don't think there's anything wrong in being real about your abilities as a human being. If you don't think you can do the whole marriage thing, but still want a long term partner who is important to you, you should be able to pursue that kind of thing. I don't think someone somehow loves their partner less just because they don't think they would be capable of marriage. That's just them being real about what is a healthy relationship situation for them.

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Skullery Maid

You can marry everyone (though that would be a legal nightmare) or noone. But I still say that its the person and not the nature of the relationship that determines who you give more importance to.

The nature of the relationship IS because of the person, though. You didn't marry them randomly... you married the person you want to live life with, rely on, be dependable for, etc.

Yes, but who makes the choice?

Who makes the choice on who you marry? You do. Come on Jade, I know you know that! :P

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nanogretchen4

Skullery, I am curious. Do you favor spelling out power of attorney and the other legal rights and obligations of marriage as a series of separate contracts and just not calling it marriage? Or do you favor different legal arrangements?

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Tarfeather

That's a bit of a silly slippery slope argument, Tar.

Hey, leave me out of this. D:

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Anthracite_Impreza

I just can't understand exclusivity, no offence to anyone. I just find it so... suffocating and segregating :mellow:

@Tar; My apologies! D: I get you mixed up all the time, you both begin with T!

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Skullery Maid

Skullery, I am curious. Do you favor spelling out power of attorney and the other legal rights and obligations of marriage as a series of separate contracts and just not calling it marriage? Or do you favor different legal arrangements?

The long and short of it is... I never expected to be able to get married, and I wasn't legally able to until I was about 35 years old (2 years ago). I exchanged vows with my ex in like... 2003... and that relationship ended in 2009. I've subsequently become domestic partnered (for legal benefits in the state of Oregon). Once gay marriage was legal, all our family members, bosses, etc, were asking us if we were going to get married now. The answer, quite frankly, is "No."

I've been fine this long without it, never expected to have the option, and have long, long ago accepted that there are other ways to manage these things. So, yes, I prefer separate contracts for Wills, Power of Attorney, etc. Honestly, you'd need most of that crap anyway... it's not like getting married means you don't need estate planning and end-of-life docs.

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Jade Cross
Yes, the marriage decision is done by both you and the person youre marrying (unless its a shotgun wedding/arranged marriage, in which case the point is all the more augmented). But the marriage itself is not the determining factor in deciding who you consider most important, its merely a representation of what you want to potray as the social union of you and the the person who you consider most important (and if we get technical, marriage isnt even about love, its just a social union for tax purposes and division of goods), but again Its you who decides, not the marriage that decides for you.

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Rising Sun

I've been fine this long without it, never expected to have the option, and have long, long ago accepted that there are other ways to manage these things. So, yes, I prefer separate contracts for Wills, Power of Attorney, etc. Honestly, you'd need most of that crap anyway... it's not like getting married means you don't need estate planning and end-of-life docs.

In many countries, you just can't do that if you aren't married. It's a good surprise to learn that Oregon allows this.

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Notte stellata

Well, since I'm not monogamous, it's a moot point. When you can have multiple partners, there's no reason they should be in any way considered more important than friends. I think the notion of having someone be your "primary" for practical reasons, such as kids, is reasonable, but then that person doesn't necessarily have to be a romantic partner.

I don't think it's uncommon for poly people to still prioritize romantic partners over friends (but it's probably less common than average), even if they don't prioritize among romantic partners. Some people just naturally feel a deeper bond with romantic partners or only want to build a life together with romantic partners, which is fine. It's also fine not to feel this way, of course.

I've been fine this long without it, never expected to have the option, and have long, long ago accepted that there are other ways to manage these things. So, yes, I prefer separate contracts for Wills, Power of Attorney, etc. Honestly, you'd need most of that crap anyway... it's not like getting married means you don't need estate planning and end-of-life docs.

In many countries, you just can't do that if you aren't married. It's a good surprise to learn that Oregon allows this.

I think it's the case in the whole US. You can assign anyone as your medical power of attorney, married or not. Also, if you're applying for a green card based on marriage, a will and power of attorney can be very good evidence for a genuine marriage, which implies these things aren't automatic just because you're married.

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Serran

I disagree that partners should be the most important. Are there SOME places where their opinion/feelings matter more than other peoples? Sure. You tend to live together, so housing and such they matter more than a person you don't live with, since the other person isn't having to live in the place. But, that's kinda the same with any person - in certain aspects of life, the other person has more say than another person in your life.

How my joint credit card I have with my mom is used? Up to me and her. How my joint bank account with my spouse and me was used? Was up to me and him. How I take vacations? Up to me. If it includes someone else, they get a say as well. Etc, etc.

But, if my partner was the most important then I would choose them over anyone else in my life, period. They'd matter the most. If it was between them and someone else I loved, I would choose them and cut the other person out. And I will never cut out anyone just cause a partner says so, I will never side with a partner just cause they are a partner, even if I agree with another person more. Because people I love are equally important to me. I just happen to share different parts of my life with different people. And the person you live with, whether that be a family member, room mate or romantic partner, tends to get the most joint decisions since you live together.

Time management issues are a problem in relationships, but if my partner decides to spend their one weekend off in a month or whatever with someone else, that's their business. As long as I get some time as well, I am fine. My first boyfriend would rather spend his days at his friend's house than with me all the time, but I only got upset really because he'd never even tell me his plans. So, 2am rolls around and he's not home, I didn't know if he was OK or arrested or passed out somewhere or just lost track of time. A simple "Hey, I'll be home late, don't wait up for me" was all I really wanted from him, not for him to spend more of his time with me than with his best friend. Another ex spent two weeks with a friend, told me he couldn't even talk to me while he was there (despite having net and stuff) cause he'd be busy. I didn't get upset with him for it. I don't see romantic partnership as any claim to all their time and attention, beyond what they want to give, if it's not enough then it's an issue we can try to resolve or not. My third ex, I knew his mom was the most important person in his life - I had no wish to compete with that, she was the one that would always be there for him, no matter what he did... romantic relationships are always conditional (poly people couldn't take a shift to mono usually, mono people can't take a shift to poly, cheating, etc always some sort of deal breaker exists), why would I even be upset that the woman who raised him was more important?

And frankly, after being given the choice between a friend and my partner (in a very "it's him or me" sort of way) ... I tried choosing the partner cause that's what society expects and I regretted it. I will from now on never accept someone making me choose who is "more important" - if someone is important to me, they are important. No one gets the role of most important. And they all can either respect that I love them all, or leave me alone, cause getting mad at me for not wanting to choose one or the other is not something I will accept. Thankfully, my friend forgave me trying to conform to society's expectations and it didn't ruin our friendship.

So, I guess you could frame it - different people you love are more important than others in different aspects of your life. I would agree with that. Right now, I live with my mom, so she's the most important when it comes to things like living arrangement decisions and financial decisions. Before that it was my spouse, since we lived together. If I live with anyone else, it will be them, whether they are friend/family/romantic partners. But, overall importance, everyone has their places where they are most important to me.

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Notte stellata

I agree with Serran, but I also think people who say their romantic partner is most important may very well not agree to cut off a friendship if their partner demanded it. There are different ways to compare people's importance (as we can already see in this thread): Who do you spend most time with? Who do you share finances with? Who would you always move with? Who would you donate a kidney to if more than one person needed it at the same time? Who has a say in your (platonic) interactions with other people? etc. Except for the last question (whose answer should be "no one"), it's not unreasonable to choose one's romantic partner if it's how they truly feel. Prioritizing a romantic partner because the society says so is another matter though.

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Skullery Maid

I agree with Serran, but I also think people who say their romantic partner is most important may very well not agree to cut off a friendship if their partner demanded it. There are different ways to compare people's importance (as we can already see in this thread): Who do you spend most time with? Who do you share finances with? Who would you always move with? Who would you donate a kidney to if more than one person needed it at the same time? Who has a say in your (platonic) interactions with other people? etc. Except for the last question (whose answer should be "no one"), it's not unreasonable to choose one's romantic partner if it's how they truly feel. Prioritizing a romantic partner because the society says so is another matter though.

Thank you, yes, I was going to say this. My partners are the most important (after me, of course), but that doesn't mean I blindly do what they say. If my partner said "never talk to Susie again" I'd tell her to fuck off, not because Susie is more important to me, but because not being told what to do is very important to me. Partners can still be wrong, they can still be assholes, and ultimately, I still know what's best for me more than they do. It also doesn't mean I'll take my partner's advice above all else. There are people with more knowledge and better perspective on some things and I would absolutely take their advice over my own. The thing is, my partner wouldn't expect me to always side with them, always listen to them, etc, because I'd never be with someone like that.

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Rising Sun

The thing is, my partner wouldn't expect me to always side with them, always listen to them, etc, because I'd never be with someone like that.

You put the finger on one of my pet peeves. Situations where you can never disagree with somebody because you know that their partner is always going to come to blindly defend them no matter how much crap they're saying or doing. It's as if their relationship grilled their neurons. I could never have a partner or even a friend like that, that's behaving like a little dog, not an independent person.

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Skullery Maid

If my partner had my back about something that I later found out she knew I was wrong about, I'd be so pissed!

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Telecaster68

Echoing Skull's point: one of the reasons for choosing a particular person over others is that they're the kind of person who would never pull that kind of shit, or expect it of you, and have no problem with your calling out their crap, just I actively want partners to do that to do me. I can be full of it, and articulate about it, and if they don't have force of character to give as good as they get, I'm not interested. It's really not about spineless acquiescence.

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Autumn Season

In a way I prioritize somebody I am in a relationship with. (Or close to a relationship with.) I spend more one-on-one time with them than with anyone else and I see them regularly. However it seems like I don't prioritize a SO as much as would be normal? If for example I saw my partner twice a week and I saw a friend once a month, then I would choose my friend when it comes to whom I'd spend a particular day with. If my partner wanted to move to a different country and invited me with them, I'd consider it carefully and probably refuse for selfish reasons. At this point of my life I also don't want to live with a partner or share finances with them.

To sum it up, the prioritization can have different levels.

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Float On

maybe you should change your name to Starfeather so we can differentiate you two :rolleyes: (I'm laughing hysterically over here.. personally I've always been able to tell which sexual is which xD such a rude scenario :P )

although sometimes I confess I think of the pair of ya as brothers :redface: like sisters skullz & cone xD

ok. lemme stop roastin y'all

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Skullery Maid

I kinda think of Tele as Tar's older, cooler uncle... the guy who'll take you into the skybox and show you how to bet on horses and drink bourbon.

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Telecaster68

Bourbon I can do though I prefer single malts. I've been in a bookies once in my life, and a sky box is like a tivo in my world.

Sorry to disillusion you, Skulls.

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Busrider

I'm joining late an skipped a page or two.

The point to me is that you can't have a neutral position. If you have a partner, you've chosen them, and part of that choice is choosing to not be neutral.


But youre the one who males the choice are you not? Thats whu I mentioned before that from a personal stance, the answer of who you wish to put first comes from you. Its not the nature of the relationship that determines it.

Yes, but to me, one of the defining characteristics of a relationship partner in the sense we're discussing, is that they come first (apart from the parental illness/kids exceptions).

Sure, I'm choosing to define the relationship like that, but I was honestly shocked that this wasn't universally the case. I don't actually see why it's a primary relationship without that characteristic.

I think default: Job first, me second - gap - reality check: "Who needs me how badly?" -> Appropriate decision. -> action ... *re-checking* -> next decision.

Clarifications: My Job is a) OK, b) not easy to replace. c) needed. So I am kind of treasuring it in a way that I might play buffer for a while, as long as my stamina lasts but once I see no chance to carry on, I'll cut social ties.

The next question is IMHO realistic. - Yes a TV evening on a partner's couch is nice to have. - OTOH: Friends might tend to be in really deep shit and send a "Mayday!" In those cases I feel obliged to get my ass up & going and put them higher than my partner for a while. To make that clear: I am not Mother Theresa. - I want to have fun and success. - Helping others should be like big dog licking it's balls: doable and kind of enjoyable. If people confront me with lifes looking like WW2 in 1943 for Germany I 'll most likely tell them: Sorry, I am not enough to help you. Either find more shoulders to burden this on or don't count me in at all.

On a purely social level (i.e. no problems and disasters for a change) I tended to delegate decisions to my partner.

Other roles: I luckily have no kids. My parents aren't very active anymore but appear still getting along and have friends of their own. - No further family contacts.

If I had kids I would insist on them becoming kind of independent. - Taxiing a 19 year old daughter each 2nd week? - No thanks!

Considering my urban lifestyle I 'd appreciate a 16 year old daughter to commute by bicycle or public transport. To me an education towards realism & independence (i.e.: If you want, then you have to get) seems very important. And yes, I think what didn't harm me as a guy should be OK for a girl too.

"Friends vs. partner" <- almost looks like a red flag to me. - I did pride myself to date somewhat interesting & kind of intelligent (at least besides the mistake of choosing me...) partners, so I expect them to somehow get along with each other. - At least 66%? - I would count at least 3.5 partners of friends among my friends too.

Synchronizing "friends meeting weekends"seems a good plan for a relationship too. - She invites Jill, I'll visit John or something like that. And yes, it could be that if John wants to invite me might partner ends matching the date dependent on her friend Jill's schedule.

Disclaimer: I haven't been jn something marriage like for long. But I think a healthy balance of contacts and even alone time is important.

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Serran

I agree with Serran, but I also think people who say their romantic partner is most important may very well not agree to cut off a friendship if their partner demanded it. There are different ways to compare people's importance (as we can already see in this thread): Who do you spend most time with? Who do you share finances with? Who would you always move with? Who would you donate a kidney to if more than one person needed it at the same time? Who has a say in your (platonic) interactions with other people? etc. Except for the last question (whose answer should be "no one"), it's not unreasonable to choose one's romantic partner if it's how they truly feel. Prioritizing a romantic partner because the society says so is another matter though.

True, they may not. But, a lot of people who say "partner should be the most important" end up meaning it to a very big extreme, that I know. Very Hollywood ideal sort of thing. "Well, we can't disagree with their spouse cause then they'll hate us for merely having a differing opinion" uh, what? It's like relationships are supposed to completely blind you to everything, faults and all and anyone who dares say anything gets cut off. I hate that ideal that some people follow. My ex thought having a romantic partner meant you couldn't even like hanging out with friends anymore, cause that would be saying you like them more than your romantic partner, for choosing to spend time with them at all instead of all your time with your partner... I was like o.O to him, "the most important person" meant you never choose to spend time with anyone else, he'd even apologize for spending time with his own brother instead of me...

It's fine if people are happy with that, of course. I just... think I would find it a very toxic environment to be expected to always choose my partner cause they are meant to be "the most important", I didn't thrive well under trying to live up to that expectation either.

Of course, I know not everyone means that when they say it. To some it might just mean "If I had to move away for someone, it would only be my partner" or "If I had to choose someone to take to a desert island, I'd want my wife" etc. Reasonable less toxic meanings.

For me, I prefer to think of it as overall you're all equal, but in certain aspects you each matter the most.

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Notte stellata

My ex thought having a romantic partner meant you couldn't even like hanging out with friends anymore, cause that would be saying you like them more than your romantic partner, for choosing to spend time with them at all instead of all your time with your partner... I was like o.O to him, "the most important person" meant you never choose to spend time with anyone else, he'd even apologize for spending time with his own brother instead of me...

Yeah, it makes me cringe every time you mention that kind of thing about your ex. If you see your partner every day and spend time with friends once a week, it suddenly means you like your friends more? Doesn't make any sense even purely based on the numbers. Being with someone who thought that way would drive me crazy in no time.

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Serran

My ex thought having a romantic partner meant you couldn't even like hanging out with friends anymore, cause that would be saying you like them more than your romantic partner, for choosing to spend time with them at all instead of all your time with your partner... I was like o.O to him, "the most important person" meant you never choose to spend time with anyone else, he'd even apologize for spending time with his own brother instead of me...

Yeah, it makes me cringe every time you mention that kind of thing about your ex. If you see your partner every day and spend time with friends once a week, it suddenly means you like your friends more? Doesn't make any sense even purely based on the numbers. Being with someone who thought that way would drive me crazy in no time.

It is weird, cause that wasn't making him happy either. :lol: So he was just doing it out of more of an obligation thing he felt to "be a good husband"? And IRL if I mention what he thinks to people IRL, they all act like it's normal and being "a devoted spouse"... like it's a good thing? What he actually wants is a room mate with romantic perks, fewer strings, fewer obligations. That's what would make him happy, not the "ideal" of making your spouse your end all be all that he was trying to live up to.

... I don't want someone that chooses me over everyone else, wants to spend all their time with me, would give up friends for me or would alienate family on my behalf if we had a disagreement. But, people tell me then I don't want a romantic relationship that is serious, cause that's what a partner is. Someone who sees you as the most important person in the world and will choose you every time.

People here have more reasonable definitions (mostly) of it. But, it's possible not everyone is thinking the same thing when they reject the idea. Since different people put different definitions to "most important".

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Skullery Maid

I honestly don't even know what "most important" means.

How about this... my partners are my favorite people.

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Guest

I honestly don't even know what "most important" means.

How about this... my partners are my favorite people.

Aaaah this, yes. Yes, yes, yes! So much this! :cake:

(Also agreed on the "legal marriage is poo poo" bit above, but don't wanna derail into that discussion and get Sally to wag a finger at me again. :lol: )

As for most important... I think the healthiest "order" is 1) myself, 2) nothing for quite a while, 3) everyone else equally.

Not saying I'm terribly good at keeping that order up, but it's sure my ideal.

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