I wonder the same thing... I agree with the folks here that say every relationship is different. I think it's possible to have more emotional involvement than swinging seems to offer ( I've heard the term 'sport fucking' here before) but not as involved as a full life partnership. There is a really good glossery on this site that helps those of us, me
, who need deffinitions and 'catagories'.
I think honesty and disclosure are of utmost importantce, unless it is agreed between your husband it's ok to keep certain things private or separate. Deception destroys...
I have done the swinging thing as a 'single male seeks mf couple' and it was mostly enjoyable, but I found much more satisfaction and contentment in being somewhat involved in my 'couple friends', as I call them, lives. I am 'with' a couple that I've been 'seeing' for almost 8 years. We have established total trust with each other although our relationship is primarily sexual. They are FAR more intimate than 'fuck buddies' to me. We have evolved into a 'loving cuckold' arangement that has brought the three of us very close together. I absolutly know my involvement with them has brought them even closer together with each other than they were when I first met them. He has found an outlet for a part of his sexuality that his wife wants to fulfill for him. She and I are able to do this for him which makes him love her even more. She knows this and feels his love and appreciation. She has two men that care for her and desire her which has done wonders for her self image and all but eliminated her past insecurities. His trust in her has given her the opportunity to enjoy her sexuality. I feel great knowing I had some part in helping them enjoy each other more. I'm not involved with their day to day lives, but I know I am part of there lives nonetheless and it works for us.
I also have two female friends who I am close friends with and sometimes lovers. I care for them very much and what is happening in there lives and we do have a really good physical aspect, but we don't have daily contact.
Fact is... I don't know what 'it' is, LOL! All I know is I'm happy and content and I care about the people in my life.
I said all this so maybe it will help you see it is possible to care for others in your life and have influence in their lives while they influence yours, including intimate/sexual aspects. But not be completely involved in all aspects of there lives. It's a different way of being, but I finally found peace. Good luck, be happy.