Often used in a hierarchical multi-person (polyamorous) relationship to denote the lover with whom one has the deepest level of commitment. In some cases this bond takes the form of legal marriage. As bigamy is not legal, the option of having two (or more) legally wedded primaries simultaneously is not currently practicable, though non-legal ceremonies may certainly be performed. In some cases "primary" refers to the lover with the most seniority.

This term is most frequently used in relation to a couple-centric poly paradigm and refers to the partner you spend the most time with, make life decisions and long-term plans with (though, in fact, all lovers are affected by one's decisions and are usually consulted for advice and hugs), cohabitate with, etc.

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