Thanks to all for the kind words of wisdom. I have always prided myself as someone who doesn't blindly jump into things, I like to do a little research beforehand if possible. It has kept me alive on more than one occasion at work, but can sometimes aggravate my other half. It is a great trait for me because of what I do, but I can let it overtake me in things that I should just let go and go with the flow. This is a topic that I am trying to find a good mix of the two; I want to ask questions and look into this for the very reasons you have all mentioned (strictly swinging w/ preset limits of comfort vs. finding others and allowing what happens emotionally to happen, the falling in love unexpectedly issue, etc.), but I don't want to be such a stick-in-the-mud that I don't try something if the opportunity presents itself before the analytical side of my brain has done "enough" research. I have a large nerdy side, I will freely admit it. I will also freely admit that it frustrates the piss out of me when I am unsure about something and can't make that analytical side calm down
In the everyday course of my job, I deal with people who are in/going through/coming out of bad relationships. I see a variety of reasons for this, but by far the biggest reasons are money and trust. My wife and I have great trust in each other, a large part comes from the fact that we can be open with each other without a great fear of backlash (other than the typical apprehension anyone feels before bringing up a new idea or concept with their significant other). The falling in love issue is probably the thing that would concern anyone the most. It was the first thing that crossed my mind when this topic first got discussed. A little back story here:
My wife (J) was a friend of my younger sister in grade school. I was older than them (senior when there were freshmen), and I first really met J when they were freshmen, she and the girl I was dating were close friends. I picked on them because they were freshmen (typical, I know) and once I graduated didn't see her much until my second year of college (parents moved out of state after my graduation). J was dating the guy who was my roommate my second year of college (another high school friend of mine) so I saw her occasionally when she would come visit. She ended up coming to the same college and we became good friends her freshman year. I stayed a fifth year and we saw each other on a daily basis and hung out in the same social circle, but there were absolutely zero interest in each other other than good buddies. I moved off and started a career and lost touch with her (before the wonders of MySpace and facebook), and she moved off and started her life. We both got married. Fast forward seven years... we both ended up divorced. We ended up back in contact through her ex boyfriend/my ex roommate on the internet. We started chatting and carrying on like old school friends. One thing led to another and boom - the falling in love sneak attack hit both of us. Things definitely changed and we could tell so one day one of us (cannot remember who) brought it up. We both told each other how much our feelings had changed, and a year later we were married. Fast forward to present...
When J and I started dating, I was aware that she had a best friend (D) that had been her best friend since before high school. J and D were close. They talked every day and I could tell something was special about it because there was a subtle change in J's voice when she would talk to or about D. I asked her about her relationship with D on a couple of occasions and she would tell me the same thing each time, "I can't explain it, I don't know how. She's my best friend, more like a soul mate, and yes I love her but I can't explain that love." I didn't get it. I knew they were both free spirited type people, modern day hippies in professional settings if you will, who love life and living. Both denied having any sexual feelings for each other, saying they weren't into the "bi thing" even though I knew (and both freely admitted to) they had "made out" on a few occasions in the past when hanging out with their boyfriends/husbands and that the male halves hadn't been involved, so I just took it as carrying on the hippie ideals that young people tend to fall in love with and shrugged it off - "girls". Three years of marriage goes by, and D (who lives several states away) had gone through a bad split with her husband (who also was a school friend of ours). By this time D and I have become great friends and also talk almost everyday and seek each others advice on matters of great importance. She wanted to come back home and see some of her family and get away from the drama with her family issues so we invited her to stay with us for a weekend to get away and clear her head. She comes down, we all go out and relax and hang out a bit. We end up in deep conversations while drinking alcohol and one thing led to another and they both ended up having their first girl/girl sexual experience (other than the before mentioned light making out). I wasn't an actual participant. The next night was the same except I took some part in it. The strange thing was, there was no awkwardness between any of us the next day or since then. It was odd to me (analytical thinker) that things were "business as usual."
Some time rolls on and D and I get in a minor spat over unrelated junk and we don't talk for a few weeks. She thinks I don't want to talk to her, I think the same, and J is frustrated with us both
She talks to both of us separately and realizes that we both terribly missed each other and the close friendship we had forged and pointed it out to us and things went back to "normal." J asked me how I felt about D, what my true feelings were about her. I couldn't answer her. I couldn't explain it. I was driving down the road when we were talking when it hit me. I looked over at J and said, "I finally understand." I understand how you can love someone and not be able to fully explain it to someone else verbally. J loves D in ways I kinda understand but will never fully comprehend because of the 20+ year friendship they share that I don't. I have grown to love D for other reasons (our friendship and ease of talking to each other about anything at all and brutal honesty with each other that is refreshing - she is a fairly analytical person like me at times). D loves both of us and tells us that every time any of us talk to one another. It was an odd (not in a bad way) situation in my mind...until now.
I put that out there because, in a way, I kind of feel like I am living the warning you all spoke of with the unintentional intimate (not purely sexual) love warnings. I never looked at it that way until I read several of the stories on here and coupled them with the warnings in this thread. I kinda understand the notion that this isn't something you do, that it is something you are, its a way to live your life. I am surprisingly (related to that analytical thinking side of me) totally at ease with it. We all love each other for our own reasons, and I'm totally cool with it. I just never looked at it in that light really.
I guess that I (we) are just unsure about how to seek these out closer to our location. The long term/albeit long distance relationship we have with D is great, but we both are interested in something closer and more frequent; not to replace D (which will never happen), but to (I guess for a lack of a better word) supplement (wording issue - I know it sounds horrible) our new found likes and desires if you will, and our joy at spending time with other people that we can be free and be ourselves around (I hope that makes sense). The advice and words of experience have been a great help. You have made me feel much better about my feelings and have pointed out an issue to discuss with J that I hadn't thought of (swinging v. this) to see what it is that we really want closer - distance wise - and more frequent. I guess that the best way is the make new friends route and let what happens happen if it is something that everyone is comfortable with, and you all have pointed me in directions to help in that aspect as well.
Thank you all, you have made me feel welcome and not like the confused, uninformed, idiot that I was picturing myself as in my mind
A couple of Advil or Tylenol and a glass of water, wine, beer, or mixed drink will help ease the eyestrain I am sure you are all experiencing if you made it this far down through my ramblings...
Have a great day everyone!