What are we doing to our marriage? We really need advice!
I so need some outside perspective and advice. This is my first post on this forum and I'm really sorry to be introducing myself like this, but I don't know where else to go. I'll try to be as brief as I can, but some background is necessary to really understand my situation. This is going to be long no matter what...just writing makes me feel somewhat better so don't feel you have to read it all. But if you actually have the patience and have any thoughts for me, I will appreciate them.
I'm not even sure this question belongs on a forum about polyamory. Technically, what we are doing probably falls under the swinger banner, but there are strong aspects of poly in there too. I could ask these questions and look for advice on a swingers forum, but I don't really think most swingers would understand the relationship dynamics and the fact that we've found ourselves unintentionally emotionally involved with another couple.
My husband and I have been together since we were literally kids. We are in our mid 40s but have been together almost 30 years and married for almost 25. We love each other deeply and passionately, are best friends, and have always been proud of our very strong marriage. Friends and family often comment on what a "perfect" couple we are. Our one child is now grown so we are very young empty nesters.
It started out simply as a dare to each other to go to a nudist beach on vacation about 8 years ago. It turned out we loved it and over the next few years our vacations evolved to totally nude vacations and we started seeking out nudist places at home. I had never even considered non-monogamy. I guess I knew swinging existed but I had never given it even a thought as something I would like to do. There was nothing even remotely sexual about our nudism. We just enjoyed it and enjoyed the new friendships we were making.
Then about three years ago my husband told me about some voyeur/exhibitionist fantasies he had and that he had been looking online and was really curious about all the other couples out there looking for the same thing. That is when he told me more about swinging and explained the differences to me about the different types of swinging (soft swinging vs full swapping).
At the time I wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. On our next vacation, as it turned out, we actually had invitations from other couples to just be in the same room with them which would have fulfilled my husband's voyeuristic fantasies. Still, even the thought of doing that was really upsetting to me. There was some emotional, physical and sexual abuse in my early childood, and though I had overcome the issues in my relationship with my husband, I still had a lot of sexual hang ups.
But he had planted the seed. Despite my hang ups, I am and always have been kind of a rebel--very adventurous and very unconventional. He had piqued my interest, then some close friends of ours started swinging and telling us their wild stories, and the next thing you know I'm online researching and started to get really curious and interested.
Now, briefly, my husband (I'll call him R). R is very conventional and somewhat conservative. We've always balanced each other well. Without him to reign in my more adventurous, rebellious side I could maybe get myself in trouble. He would be satisfied with a very simple, conventional life. I need adventure. But once I bring the adventure into our lives he is always glad I did and enjoys it (e.g., travel to offbeat places, political activism, nudism, etc.) R would have been all talk and no action when it came to the swinging if I hadn't become interested myself and taken the initiative. He is also a very emotional person and when he gets upset over something, really upset, it is like he loses control briefly. It isn't uncommon for him to break things and hit walls. There have been a few times in the past 30 years when he's been physical with me. Never hitting me or anything, but shoving me or raising a hand to me and scaring me, and I've been in the path of items that were thrown a couple of times. Probably because of my background I get very distressed over this behavior. His temper scares the hell out of me. On the other hand, the vast majority of the time he is a very sweet, sentimental, and loving man who constantly tells me how much he loves me, both in words and action. (continued...)