When Jack and I started talking seriously about moving forward with this swinging thing, one of our first conversations was about our motivations. So why do we want to do this?
I started dating Jack during my freshman year of college. My previous relationship had ended badly, and I was not at all sure that I wanted another serious relationship so soon. I soon found myself in one anyway, despite my misgivings. I didn't date much in high school–one real boyfriend, one dating relationship that didn't really get a chance to go anywhere, and a few failed or dead-end flirtations. I didn't get to date much in college, either, outside those two big relationships. The first one was short, but I was damned sure I was in love with him. I married the second one.
There were times, in college, when I chafed in the confines of my relationship with Jack. In particular, there were two male friends of mine to whom I was very attracted, both mentally and physically, and I really wanted to pursue those possibilities. Really very desperately wanted to. I'd always had a sneaking suspicion that I wasn't very good at monogamy, and I was quite sure I didn't much care about it as a moral concept. What I did care about was being honest with Jack. I did not cheat on him, but there were a few times when it took every ounce of my willpower not to do so.
So now I'm in my late 20s. I've never had sex with anyone but Jack. I love him, but every once in a while I wish I could just walk away and go do all the things I never did because I was with him. It's not a feeling that has anything do with him; it has everything to do with me, and a sense that I missed out on some things I really wanted. I've spent a long time trying to quash those feelings when they arise, but the more I dig into the idea of swinging, the more right it feels to me. Why would I want to walk away from Jack, who is not only my husband but my best friend, when I can enjoy those experiences I've wanted so badly with him at my side?
For his part, Jack also didn't do a great deal of dating, and the dating he did was mostly fueled by the desire to find the person with whom he could spend the rest of his life. He's a year older than me, and has had sex with a grand total of two people. Like me, he says that, looking back, he sees a lot of missed opportunities, chances he didn't take. And he is intrigued by the idea of seeing me with another person, as well as by the idea of being with somebody else himself.
We're both socially conscious people who take an interest in the way society orders itself. We both take pleasure in stepping outside the proscribed norms. We both feel that a relationship, or at least, our relationship, is not predicated on monogamy, but on friendship, love, trust, and understanding. I've always felt that monogamy was a social construct, and an overrated one at that. When we began dating, Jack, though he valued trust above monogamy, still felt that monogamy was important to him. But over the nearly ten years we've been together, he's come to agree with my position on that particular ideal.
So, once again, why do we want to do this? Because we're interested in it, and it seems to make sense for us. Because we want to keep our relationship fresh and exciting. Because neither of us want to look back on our life 60 years from now and discover that we're harboring resentments or regrets for the things (or people) we didn't get to do.