I could have sworn I read your wife's post regarding this the other day, but I cannot find it now. I seem to remember (unless I'm dreaming all of this - which I could be) that she felt she just had friendships with these men. I wish I could find the thread now. Oh - I found it.
Ok, so - in her version, she didn't mention that she lied to you about what happened in the hotel one night. That's quite an important thing.
However, it might be that she omitted that information because she found it irrelevant to her question; which really was.... how to reassure you of her love for you? How to help you see that she was not and is not in love with those guys?
She reluctantly agreed but then soon found that she was very attracted to them. We found a guy that she liked his look and met up with him. It was a hot experience and it seemed to light a fire in her. It was not a complete success as he had some issues keeping it up but other than that was fun.
In her version, she said that you were angry about him not being able to 'get it up'. Do you think this was the case? If so, do you think this added any pressure on her to keep some things a secret, so that she wouldn't have to experience your reaction if the sex didn't go quite to plan?
She continued to text with him after that and it was fun seeing her excited. They seemed to have a connection and contuinued to text each other daily. He's get her to take pictures of herself at work and send to him. I suggested she find another partner and she met one other person that first few months.
Why did you suggest that she find another partner? Because she was getting too close to that one? Obviously, looking at both of the threads regarding this, it seems that she does want to be free to experience some level of closeness beyond sex. It's important to listen to that. More on that later.
They met alone a few times after that with the thought that the guy was nervous with me there and they were so attracted to each other that they would really connect. The third time they met, my wife did not come home that night. She said it was late, had been drinking and was going to stay the night in the hotel room. She assured me that he had left. When she came home in the morning, I found that my wife lied about the encounter. She lied and said they used protection and then she confessed that they didn't.
Had they slept together during the other few alone-encounters? (By 'slept' I mean just had sex). If so, how did you react to this? Why did she feel the need to lie? The lying part is shit and needs to be stomped out - but part of the process of getting over broken trust is understanding *why* something happened. Did she fear your reaction? Did she just want a selfish moment? Was she ashamed of not using protection and then freaked out? Is she not yet brave when it comes to being honest about fucking up?
She had deleted all of her texts with him. I pressed about if he really left that night and she maintained that he did. I remain suspicious because when I talked to her that night she said he already left. She was very short with me on the phone, talked in very general terms, said she was tired and was going to bed.
I don't blame you for being suspicious.
I do think that if you're going to work past this, perhaps the details don't matter as much as the future plan of action that the two of you need to come up with together.
As for deleting her own texts with him - yes, I hate that kind of stuff. However, I do know that sometimes these things happen because we either a) say things on the spur of the moment that we regret and that aren't really true, and/or b) realise that, if read by someone else, they are likely to be taken out of context. It means you'll never know what they said - but the main thing to pay attention to is that your wife has come on here and is clearly desperate to prove to you that she loves you and is committed. That's a great thing to work with.
Towards the end of this episode, she met another guy whom she began hooking up with. I was never present for any of there encounters. She met him fairly regular as he lived fairly close to us. I later discovered that she had been googling him, looking for pictures online of him, and reading anything she could online about him. I discovered this and cut off that relationship.
You do realise that this is controlling behaviour?
This is really difficult, because although swinging comes under the general umbrella of poly; polyamory (especially on this forum) is more geared towards emotional connections with other people. Even when love is not actively encouraged or sought-after, it is usually acknowledged as a possibility. Regardless of anything else, polyamorous people usually struggle with the idea of controlling their partners. To do that means to treat a living entity as your material possession. I am only pointing this out, because it is unlikely that anyone on this forum will think that behaviour is ok - whereas, perhaps, on a swinging forum, it might be a more common thing.
In my opinion - and this is also something I see a lot of here - it's not about "you can't do this", it's about "This is a rock hard limit for *me* - I'm really sorry I can't be more open about that particular thing - if you do really have to do it, I would never think that I could stop you; I just might not be able to stick around for it."
And that's the thing with open relationships. Would you tell your wife what to wear, what to eat, what to buy, what job to look for, what to spend, what to do with her day? If the answer is yes, you have some work to do and swinging is going to be too risky-a-pursuit for you, because you simply cannot control other people's emotions. Swinging only works if both partners genuinely just want sex, with nothing else. If you don't believe in controlling your wife in other ways, why do you believe in controlling who and how she dates?
Now, if you're both making a solid AGREEMENT, that's fine. But you both have to genuinely agree with the terms of it. It also has to be realistic. From the two sides of the story written here, it seems there's a very slight mismatch between what you both want, what you both think and there are some control red flags being waved about.
So, breaking it down finally, there are various things that you both need to look at.
Control - either she needs to agree to be controlled to an extent and STICK to that agreement - or you need to loosen those reigns a bit.
Needs - you said that she seemed to become obsessed with these men. Look beyond the men. What does she need? Do they make her feel more attractive than you do? Do they make her feel more valued? Do they give her someone to talk with, a friend, someone to just chat with? Are any of these things considered a huge void for her, or does she just enjoy the frivolity and light-heartedness of it? That's her responsibility to communicate.
Honesty - no more lying. Period. Three strikes and you're out rule.
Agreement - what is realistic? If you both go back to saying "just sex", then you're going to have to have some serious guidelines written down. It's going to have to be clear, to the letter. Don't get me wrong - I don't have a problem with swinging in the slightest *if* both people want it and both people are cool about sticking to guidelines. Guidelines would be steps that attempted to prevent any kind of bonding - like texting all day and meeting alone.
You could explore a polysexual agreement - which is like swinging, but a bit more open. Basically, along the lines of it being ok to develop friendships and to care about people, but it's "not ok" to fall in love.
Then, of course, there's polyamory. Perhaps neither of you are into that idea at all. But the swinging vs poly scale is one giant grey area and it is so common to read about people 'accidentally' falling into forbidden love with their casual FWBs. And what do we know about forbidden things? Yep! That they are all the more tempting!
In your wife's thread, she talks about not being in love with these guys. But (in my opinion) she clearly needs something more than just sex, if she's going to carry on with this swinging thing. So I'd be very, very wary about continuing with the model you have. I'd say that it's either going to have to be back to mono, strict swinging with very clear rules, or something altogether more open.
Perhaps while you're discussing things, you can both do some reading. Have you read much about NRE (New Relationship Energy)? It sounds like that is exactly what your wife was experiencing - so understanding it might help you guys out a lot.