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What Is Couple Privilege?

What is Couple Privilege?

Couple privilege is the advantage that an established couple has, which is especially pronounced when a new person is added to a relationship, whether the new person is dating one or both of them. This is most obvious when the established couple has been together for a long time, especially if they live together, or are married. There is no way out of couple privilege – it’s just there, giving silent advantages that people consider normal. It is mainly brought up as a problem with “unicorn hunters” or those that enforce a primary/secondary prescriptive hierarchy, but it can come up in any scenario where two people are dating before another person comes into the picture. Even if you’re an egalitarian Relationship Anarchist, couple privilege can sneak up on you when you’re not looking.

(There are some people that completely dismiss the idea of “privilege” as a thing in any scenario, which is a completely different problem, but it definitely still exists. If you’d prefer to call it something else, you could call it “couple advantage,” but it boils down to the same thing.)

In many cases, the way in which couple privilege is most visible is when a new partner starts a relationship with one or both people in an established relationship, and the people in the existing relationship give the new partner a list of rules in a take-it-or-leave-it manner. The couple often gives the reason that if the third person doesn’t like the rules, they are free to leave. This is only one of the more obvious ways, however; there are many smaller ways that are less obvious and sometimes more insidious.

This isn’t to say that couple privilege is necessarily a bad thing on its own, it’s just a thing that is there. Having privilege doesn’t make you a bad person, as it’s just something that happens. It’s what you do with that privilege that matters.

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But Who Comes First? The Difference Between Prescriptive And Descriptive Hierarchy

But Who Comes First? The Difference Between Prescriptive and Descriptive Hierarchy

The argument over hierarchy is one of the most contentious ones in the polyamorous community. Many people find it important to label their relationships Primary, Secondary, and sometimes even Tertiary. Others are militant in stating that terms like that are unfair to those labeled Secondary or Tertiary. Some have used terms that attempt to remove the hierarchy, such as nesting partner or anchor partner, sometimes in place of the term Primary. The argument has been made that a nesting (cohabiting) relationship or a marriage automatically enforces a hierarchy, and those in nesting relationships are unable to be non-hierarchical.

This argument is rehashed constantly, probably second only to the argument over unicorn hunters. Something I’ve realized, however, is that often those that argue will end up agreeing on everything except what the term “hierarchy” even means.

There is a solution to this argument, and it lies in the concept of prescriptive hierarchies versus descriptive hierarchies.

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To Unicorns, From An Ex-Unicorn

To Unicorns, From an Ex-Unicorn

Hello, fellow bisexual woman! You may be brand new to the idea of a relationship with multiple people, or you may have been polyamorous for years now. Either way, I’m guessing that you’re here because you are interested in dating a couple. Maybe one particular couple has approached you, or you might have your eye on a couple yourself. Or maybe you just like the idea of a triad in the first place. Congratulations, in any case! Triads can be happy, healthy, caring relationships. However, there are a lot of pitfalls to watch out for on your way to making a happy, healthy triad. You’ve heard of Unicorns, now you’ll find out what dangers to avoid in order to not become prey.

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To Unicorn Hunters, From An Ex-Unicorn

To Unicorn Hunters, From an Ex-Unicorn

You can see my other post on the topic here, directed at “Unicorns”.

Note: This post is not referring to everyone that looks for a triad – in this context, “Unicorn Hunter” is specifically referring to the kind of people that make the really common mistakes below. It’s similar to if someone mocks a new Dom that doesn’t understand consent by calling them Christian Gray. If you want to look for a triad, go for it!

Dear Newly Poly Couple,

Welcome to exploring the world of non-monogamy! It’s exciting, scary, exhilarating, tense, thrilling, and any other word you can think of in the rollercoaster of emotions. You’ve already talked about what you want, laid down groundwork, and set rules to make sure that each of you are comfortable. You may have even had a threesome or two already! Now, you’re all set to find a bisexual woman to join your relationship, love both of you, and be just what you both need. Right?

Not really.

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