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Old 02-02-2013, 09:21 PM
mrblueeyesxxx mrblueeyesxxx is offline
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Default Need advice

My wife and I have hit a roadblock in our swinging lifestyle and I'm not sure what to do. We had both been in previous marriages that did not work and we both felt like we were not able to truely be ourselves. When we met and started dating we both decided to share our turn ons and be honest from the beginning. We learned that I was a bit of a voyer and she like to be watched. We didn't act on our fantasies initially and agreed to wait until we were married and had a solid foundation first. After a few years I suggested swinging where she would have sex with other guys and I'd watch. She was reluctant initially but we soon jumped in and had some fun.

After about a year, and a handful of encounters my wife expressed a desire to have a baby. I was reluctant because I had 3 children from my previous marriage and I was enjoying our lifestyle and was concerned that it would end once we had a child. My wife reassured me that this was something that we both were into and she wanted to continue to live the lifestyle. I felt reassured and agreed that I'd like to try for a baby. We had a wonderful child and that's where our focus was as proud new parents. Some time passed and I suggested getting back into the lifestyle. My wife expressed that she was feeling a little self conscience and was not ready. I wass disappointed but understood. As the years went past, the subject would come up with the same result where we decided to wait. After 6 years of periodic discussion, she finally agreed to give it a shot again.

We began looking and didn't have any luck finding a suitable partner for her. I suggested that she look for a black man as that had been a fantasy of mine to see her with a black guy. 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. 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. Then all she wanted to do was text and chat with the original guy. She would act like she was looking for other partners but remained focused on the original guy. They wanted to meet again and I agreed because there were no other prospects. 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. 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.

We cut it off with him after that. She said she'd find someone else as we liked the lifestyle. Again, she could not find anyone and we stayed on hold. His name kept coming back up and eventually she would resume her texting, chatting and meet ups with him until I eventually voiced my concern and she stopped.

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.

So here we are. I went into this with the thought that this was going to be simple hookups where we could feed off the energy of these encounters and enhance our own sexual experience. In my opinion she became obssesed with 2 men in particular that gave her a lot of attention. Maybe I was naive to think this could be uncomplicated and move on from experience to experience.

I'm interested in hearing your opinions. Am I just paranoid and jealous which is what she thinks?
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  #2  
Old 02-04-2013, 06:13 PM
ThatGirlInGray ThatGirlInGray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblueeyesxxx View Post
She was reluctant initially but we soon jumped in and had some fun.
Quote:
I was reluctant... I felt reassured and agreed that I'd like to try for a baby.
Quote:
After 6 years of periodic discussion, she finally agreed to give it a shot again.
Quote:
She reluctantly agreed but then soon found that she was very attracted to them.
I can't tell from your side of the story whether you thought you were negotiating or whether you realized you were pushing her, justifying it in your mind by saying "Well, I'm right, she always ends up having fun". From your wife's side of the story it seems she felt very pressured by you. But then it seems she did the same thing to you, pressuring you about having a child until she said the things that would get you to agree (i.e. that she would continue to be interested in swinging/being watched). Now, perhaps she did honestly feel that way at the time and was not intending to be manipulative. I can't know, and frankly I doubt you can either, since even though you were there you weren't in her head. Either way it seems like you were not prepared for the fact that EVERYTHING changes after having a child and someone who has never had a child can't understand in advance how their lives will change.

Quote:
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. 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.

We cut it off with him after that. She said she'd find someone else as we liked the lifestyle. Again, she could not find anyone and we stayed on hold. His name kept coming back up and eventually she would resume her texting, chatting and meet ups with him until I eventually voiced my concern and she stopped.

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.
Lying is not good, no question there, but I wonder about WHY she lied. Have you two discussed that aspect? Also I'm not sure what was wrong with her googling him- what was it that you objected to so strenuously?Saying you "cut off that relationship" leads me to wonder how controlling you are, especially with how many examples your post gives about times where you wife did something or stopped doing something based on what YOU wanted. How often do the two of you actually reach a compromise you're both content with? Or is just one person badgering the other until someone "wins"?

Quote:
I went into this with the thought that this was going to be simple hookups where we could feed off the energy of these encounters and enhance our own sexual experience. In my opinion she became obssesed with 2 men in particular that gave her a lot of attention. Maybe I was naive to think this could be uncomplicated and move on from experience to experience.
Possibly naive. Some people successfully navigate swinging, but often once sex is involved feelings can follow. This can be especially true for women, from what I've read and experienced, and it's basically impossible to enforce a rule that says, "Thou shalt not develop feelings for someone." So while you may have entered into this wanting and expecting one thing, you now need to deal with the reality that it is not what you expected and apparently not what you want.

Quote:
I'm interested in hearing your opinions. Am I just paranoid and jealous which is what she thinks?
I don't know, are you jealous? If so, of what? Of the time and attention she's spending on these other people? Of the fact that you don't get to watch her with these people? As far as paranoia goes, I haven't seen you say anything about being afraid she'll leave you. Are you? It's difficult to tell if you're paranoid if you aren't talking about how you feel about what's been going on, only what actions were taken. I would certainly understand not trusting her after she lied and needing time to rebuild that trust, but it doesn't sound like either of you are willing to take a break from the lifestyle long enough to repair your relationship.

I would say that both of you need to do some significant thinking about what you NEED from your relationship and what you WANT from your relationship and then see where those needs and wants intersect and where they don't. And then figure out if there's enough compatibility for compromise to be reached.
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  #3  
Old 02-04-2013, 07:21 PM
sparklepop sparklepop is offline
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Hi blue,

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?

Quote:
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?

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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?

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.
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  #4  
Old 02-04-2013, 07:37 PM
ThatGirlInGray ThatGirlInGray is offline
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Sorry to nitpick sparklepop, I think your response is fine otherwise but
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparklepop View Post
This is really difficult, because although swinging comes under the general umbrella of poly
This is inaccurate, and you seem to use open and poly as interchangeable. Swinging, Poly, open relationships, etc are all under the umbrella of "Non-monogamy" (or "Ethical non-monogamy" if you want to clearly distinguish from cheating). Non-monogamy can include myriad levels of physical intimacy, as well as emotional intimacy and expectations. Calling it swinging versus open versus poly tends to give some idea of the basic practices and expectations of physical and emotional intimacy, though it's only a guideline, not set in stone. It may be the case here that while he wants swinging (which is generally couple-centric and focused on purely sexual interactions), she may need closer to an open relationship model, where her other relationships do not include him unless it's by the choice and consent of her and her other partner and it's understood that she will feel attraction for and may have a friendship with her other partner(s) (provided she rebuilds the trust that was lost and abides by all future agreements).

ETA: I do fond your comment about learning about NRE spot-on. I was going to comment on that myself until I saw you had it covered.
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Last edited by ThatGirlInGray; 02-04-2013 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:26 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Quote:
So here we are. I went into this with the thought that this was going to be simple hookups where we could feed off the energy of these encounters and enhance our own sexual experience. In my opinion she became obssesed with 2 men in particular that gave her a lot of attention. Maybe I was naive to think this could be uncomplicated and move on from experience to experience.

Well, it sounds like you were wanting a (1A) model. ( Source for quotes here.)

Quote:
a) Heterosexual couples who are "swingers." They attend sex parties or meet sexual partners through personals ads or through various activities and networks. Some couples only have sex with other couples, others engage in three-way sex by locating another man for the woman or another woman for the man, and only have sexual adventures with their spouse present. Other straight couples allow either spouse to have recreational sex with other partners without the spouse present, but this is strictly sex and no emotional involvement or commitment is allowed.
But it doesn't sound like the couple made the plan for dealing with the "cons" to that model and prepared themselves for that possibility.

Quote:
This model is popular because it is the model most similar to traditional marriage and does not threaten the primacy of the couple. For most married or co-habiting couples, it is not such a stretch to have a few outside relationships as long as they know that the primary commitment is to the marriage. They can still be married, have children, live together, be socially acceptable, and "live a normal life", keeping their outside relationships secret from friends and family. It doesn't require making any radical changes in your lifestyle or your world view. One major benefit for many couples is that they feel secure that they won't be abandoned, because their spouse has agreed that outside relationships will be secondary. This is simpler and easier to organize logistically than other forms of open relationships. If there is any conflict over time, loyalty or commitment, the spouse always gets priority.

However, a major drawback of this model is that outside relationships are not so simple or easy to predict or control. Having a sexual relationship with someone else often leads to becoming emotionally involved and even falling in love, frequently causing a crisis in the primary relationship and even divorce. Initiating a sexual relationship is opening a door to many possibilities, and often secondary relationships grow into something else which does not fit neatly into the confines of this model. Many people who become "secondary" lovers become angry at being subjugated to the couple, and demand equality or end the relationship. For this model to be successful, couples must be very convinced that their relationship is strong enough to weather these ups and downs. Conversely, some couples who start with this model decide eventually to shift to some form of the Multiple Primary Partners model to allow secondary relationships to become equal to the primary couple relationship.
Quote:
I'm interested in hearing your opinions. Am I just paranoid and jealous which is what she thinks?
You sound like you could be. Are you? Does anything here help or ring a bell?
http://www.practicalpolyamory.com/im...ed_10-6-10.pdf

Are you confident and strong in your marriage/relationship with your wife? Can you both trust? Feel secure? If not -- it's going to be weird.

Things like "constant looking over your shoulder" because you do not trust the partner to behave in trustworthy ways. Or trying to "restrict/control the partner" because you do not trust the partner to restrict/control themselves enough to honor the shared relationship agreements and create safe space for you in the marriage.

What ARE your shared relationship agreements? What's the personal standard you both created together for yourselves and will honor and each hold yourselves accountable to?

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 02-05-2013 at 01:28 AM.
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:20 AM
mrblueeyesxxx mrblueeyesxxx is offline
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Thanks everyone for the input. I think GalaGirl nailed it with the comments about swinging. That is what our arrangement was in getting into the lifestyle. No strings sex with no emotions involved. We never agreed to a polyamory relationship. Although after reading everything posted, it does seem that my wife has interest in the emotional connection she's getting from certain men. The lying to cover this up is what has made me feel so insecure.

I'd like to clear up the focus on controlling behavior. I am by no means a controlling husband. My wife is free to live her life the way she wants. She can live her life how she wants including what she wears, where she goes, what she does for a living, who her friends are, etc. It has also been her choice if she wanted to swing or not. She has maintained that she wants to live a swing lifestyle, and also states that she does it only because of me. I get conflicting messages constantly. I do believe that she's confused about exactly what she wants.

I just don't want her to have any level of emotional connection with other men. That's it. I want to be her sole source for emotional support. If that makes me controlling by everyones definition on here then so be it.
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:37 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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It has also been her choice if she wanted to swing or not. She has maintained that she wants to live a swing lifestyle, and also states that she does it only because of me. I get conflicting messages constantly. I do believe that she's confused about exactly what she wants.
She seems clear in her post that she is willing to stop swinging. That she wants most is this stuff resolved:
  • He will not listen to me.
  • He remains angry at me and is constantly bringing everything up, rehashing things, questioning my motives and my fidelity to him.
  • I am so frustrated and I cry all the time now. I can't function.
  • I want our marriage to work! But I can't get through to my husband!

That sounds pretty clear to me.

But if she gives you mixed messages, you could choose to not press on with pursuing extra relationships until you are both are clear. Each one is responsible for your own best individual healths -- physical health, emotional health, mental health, spiritual health. You are not caring for you well if you carry forward with a mixed message. You risk a ding.

You are BOTH responsible for tending the shared marriage and the health of the shared marriage. If one partner or both partners go forward with extra relationships without stopping to be sure all in the shared marriage are clear on the mission, their wants/needs/limits are considered, or checking to be sure there's a plan if/when feelings change... and the marriage suffers a ding as a result? It's on BOTH partners for not looking after the marriage well.

You both are suffering here, the marriage is suffering here. You both could choose to move it forward in healthier ways so you don't have to suffer like this.

Quote:
I just don't want her to have any level of emotional connection with other men. That's it. I want to be her sole source for emotional support.
Ok. That is what YOU want in an Open Marriage. Is she willing to go there? Does it take her own wants into consideration? What does SHE want in an Open Marriage? Do both your wants and her wants pass SMART criteria?
  • Specific?
  • Measurable?
  • Attainable?
  • Realistic?
  • Timely

Are your Open Marriage agreements mutually satisfactory and something you both can honor?

If you cannot agree on what you both want in an Open marriage, can you agree on the parameters for a Closed Marriage? Would it serve the marriage better to Close and end the swinging then?

Quote:
The lying to cover this up is what has made me feel so insecure.
Why could she not truth it to you? Why is she not able to come to you and honestly say "Can we talk about this limit? Because it is hard for me to realistically keep. My needs have changed." Or is she telling and you are not listening?

How will be partners behave toward each other from this point on? Is honest communication going to be part of your relationship agreement moving forward?

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 02-05-2013 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 02-05-2013, 04:29 AM
ThatGirlInGray ThatGirlInGray is offline
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Originally Posted by mrblueeyesxxx View Post
I just don't want her to have any level of emotional connection with other men. That's it. I want to be her sole source for emotional support. If that makes me controlling by everyones definition on here then so be it.
So is she not allowed to have friends and family members from whom she receives emotional support or has an emotional connection? Particularly male friends?? I realize that probably isn't what you mean, so it would behoove you to figure out exactly what you DO mean and where that feeling is coming from. It may be something you will need to work through, unless you plan on cutting her off from every male she might potentially make an emotional connection with, regardless of whether sex is involved or not. (Yes, I realize I'm pushing this WAY to an extreme. I'm doing it to try to show you how ridiculous and unrealistic the statement "I want to be her sole source for emotional support." is.)

And, yeah, to come on a POLYAMORY board and say "I don't want my wife having an emotional connection with another man" and then expect positive reactions- well, that's pretty foolish, since emotional connections are a big part of what poly is about. If you came on here saying, "I need help dealing with this, it's very difficult." you would get TONS of understanding and support. Many people here came to poly through swinging and have probably been in shoes very similar to yours. But I'm betting from the way you phrased that last sentence that no matter what we say now, you're not going to be open to listening because you've classified us as "against" you since we've identified your (common, perhaps even "normal" in some mono relationships) behaviors as controlling. Hopefully you can realize that no one's doing it with malice. We are spending our free time to try to help and give what advice we can, which includes identifying the behaviors we see as being part of the problem.
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:45 PM
mrblueeyesxxx mrblueeyesxxx is offline
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Well I agree that going on a poly website is probably not helpful considering my point of view. I came on here because my wife posted here originally, which should have clued me in to where her head is. A lot of what people posted has been fairly interesting and thought provoking so I appreciate the opinions.

As far as the last response, you are taking my comment to the extreme. Which does not apply to me. My wife can be friends with whoever she likes including men. I just don't want an emotional connection with a sexual partner other than me. That is something completely different than friendships. In our relationship that is overstepping a line.
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:28 PM
ThatGirlInGray ThatGirlInGray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblueeyesxxx View Post
My wife can be friends with whoever she likes including men. I just don't want an emotional connection with a sexual partner other than me. That is something completely different than friendships.
Mmmm, except for the emotional affairs that don't even involve sex, particularly if they're long-distance/online. And except for the many, MANY relationships that have started (mono or not) as friends and then deepened into something more, sometimes before they involved sex, and especially common after sex is involved. I understand your desire and I'm not trying to invalidate it, I'm just trying to show you (in a different way than GalaGirl did, since even though you say she "nailed it" you haven't commented, that I've seen, on the part that commented on the major drawbacks of swinging) how what you want may be incompatible with you desire to have you wife have sex with other men and be a swinger. Is it possible to have sex without an emotional connection? Sure. But you just can't tell what will happen and I, for one, wouldn't bet my relationship(s) on it.
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