I believe you implied that a secondary relationship had no spiritual aspects and was of lesser value than a primary relationship. I think secondary does not imply anything about the spiritual aspects of a relationship. I also think that secondary does not imply anything about the spiritual or emotional value of a relationship. It only implies something about how I will behave if the relationship conflicts with a primary relationship.
If your definition of “value” is behavior-based, then you might consider my secondary relationships to be of lesser value because I spend less time on them than on my primary relationship. However, if your definition of “value” is based in spiritual or emotional aspects, then my secondary relationships may be of equal or greater value than my primary relationship — they may teach me more things, or be more emotionally intense, or whatever else might be implied in a definition of spiritual or emotional value.
If you don’t think that secondary relationships are less important than primary relationships, how do you distinguish between your primary and your secondaries? Are there any ways that you treat your primary different from your secondaries? Or do you distinguish them simply ‘cos you’ve been with your primary for longer and live with zir?
I think that a primary relationship of many years’ duration that was de facto monogamous for most of those years can build a lot of solidity/strength through all the time spent solely with that partner. When you begin pursuing secondary relationships, they are automatically secondary because there is so much history built up between you and your
However, a primary relationship of much shorter duration that has been actively polyamorous from the outset is in a more precarious position. There is not a lot of history built up; the partners don’t know a lot about each other’s tendencies and reactions to things. It’s therefore trickier to distinguish between the primary relationship and the secondary relationships.
Taking as a premise that in the latter kind of relationship, only actions count (because there’s little history), I think the only way to meaningfully define the latter kind of relationship as primary is to limit the amount of time/energy spent on other relationships, either by making guidelines, or by simply behaving that way automatically.
A lot of people squick at the concept of trying to rank importance, because they think if they define one relationship as less important than another, they are actually defining one person as less important than another, and that goes against their democratic principles.
But I’m talking about actions. If you had to move in order to pursue your career, would you give your primary partner more of a say than you would give your secondary partners? If so your primary partner is, in a sense, more important to you.