Rule Number 58

In excess of eight months this year, PF and I were dating a fantastic woman. We all had a lot in common and shared a lot of great times.

Towards the end of the relationship, though, she wanted more time that I wasn't able to give her because of my commitments to PF and my work. She wanted something more in her life - something that would endure, around more, and be forward-looking to marriage - and that's not something either one of us could offer. Eventually, she did what was good for her.

I really can't blame her. But that's not going to stop me from over-analyzing it with you.

So here's what I think. The problem for secondaries is neutral buoyancy. They exist in a place where there's probably going to be little forward momentum. This is also a place where asking for too much may be perceived as a "cowboy"-maneuver (you know, a chic coming in and roping herself a new man). If you're seeing a secondary having already a primary relationship, you've already made commitments that preclude the secondary from becoming mondo-awesome - more. That commitment's a known fact, and everybody's in agreement to honor that commitment as to avoid strife and confusion.

So that's a trick: how do you maintain the spark in a vacuum?

In my experience with this, I think I have to come down to the "risk of the single secondary". Yep, this is one of my new rules now. And here it is.

Rule 58: Secondaries should always have a primary of their own.

Ta-da! Why?

Because they're committed to that, too, and they, too, can only offer neutral buoyancy. They have somebody to keep them warm at night when I'm not around; somebody to look forward with; somebody that can look after them; somebody that helps keep them focused on the future.

Woe to those who violate Rule 58 because it's a treading lightly on water thing. The single secondary may want more. They're not otherwise distracted by another relationship or a job. They're pining away somewhere while they know - in their heart - that they're lonely, yet, all of your needs are being pleasantly fulfilled with your primary. That sucks. Yep. A real sticky wicket.

So Rule 58 will figure prominently in my next ride on the merry-go-round. I'm thinking that it's a good rule of thumb for everybody.

What do you think? Do you think secondaries just get the raw end of the emotional stick? If you're a secondary, how do you deal with neutral buoyancy?