Walking The Line – Between Open Marriage, Polyamory, and Swinging

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I'm not sure where we fit in.

My husband and I decided to open our marriage a little over 2 years ago now. We weren’t sure what we really wanted and sort of just bumbled around trying to figure things out. We decided to go about doing things separately at first, each finding our own partners to have sex with. It was definitely easier being a female and finding partners than it was for my husband. It was a difficult time and we had our ups and downs. The main thing that we were worried about when we first started was emotional attachment. That is such a scary thing to a spouse…. “What if he/she falls in love with someone else?” So we decided no emotional attachment. Unfortunately, as we kept going along we started feeling an emptiness that went along with just having sex for sex’s sake. It just wasn’t as fun as we thought it would be. We were slowly realizing that we just weren’t built that way, we wanted something more.

But… we thought “it is what it is.”

Our outlook changed a bit once my husband met a polyamorous woman and her husband. The way she viewed all of this was very different from the way we were going about things. She believed that you could have more than one love in your life and that it was ok and a good thing. You still had your primary partner but you could love others as well. Could this really work? Could we handle it? Well, she required too much of his attention and we just weren’t ready for something like that. The relationship she was looking for from my husband was just a little too much for me at the time. Melding our families together was not what we had in mind. So, scratch poly off the list… or at least the way that she wanted to do things.

Enter swinging. After going it alone for over a year, we decided that maybe it would be better to do things together now. Our first experience together as a couple was a MFM threesome. We had that first experience with a guy that I had met very early on in my separate time. Something about him always stuck with me. From the moment we first saw each other, there was this amazing chemistry between us that I never found with anyone else that I had met. We always enjoyed our time together and he was very open to just about anything. So, who better to introduce into the mix with my husband? They met and both ended up getting along very well and so we had our first threesome. It was an amazing and surreal experience. We all had a great time and it left my husband and I feeling closer to each other than ever before. It had also made me feel closer to the other guy as well.

As time went on, we started trying to meet couples in the lifestyle. We went to meetups, clubs, and even a hotel party. I don’t know if it was us or the people we were meeting, but it seemed that these people were just looking for notches in their bedposts. One time fuck buddies. Which was fine for them, but it just wasn’t our cup of tea. No one seemed interested in getting to know us. We also reached out to many couples online and rarely, if ever, got any responses. Were swingers really that shallow? Was it truly only about sex and racking ‘em up? We started to become very frustrated and wondered if we should continue with meeting couples. We listened to podcasts and read blog after blog about what great friends people had made in the lifestyle. We began to wonder if maybe something was wrong with us? Did we have “newbies, stay away!” written across our foreheads? Did we look funny? Were we going about things wrong? We were ready to be done. But… we decided to try to meet one last couple. We actually met them through Twitter. We got along chatting online… “Ok, let’s give it one last try?” Luckily for us, they turned out to be an amazing couple who were very similar in their thinking to ours. They have been willing to get to know us. They have become great friends and have been very patient with us on our learning path. We have now started meeting some of their friends who are also great people. We finally feel we are meeting the people we thought didn’t exist in the lifestyle. People who actually want to build friendships and relationships with us.

It’s amazing how things can change and evolve from what you originally thought you wanted. We were so afraid that having relationships and connections would hurt our relationship and here we have come to learn that, in fact, they have only strengthened our relationship with each other.

We still are not sure where we fit in, or if we even should label ourselves at all? The guy I told you about earlier has become my lover on the side that I have developed strong feelings for (with hubby’s blessings). We continue to see each other alone and occasionally include my husband. We also have made great swinger friends who we have become close with and are hoping to continue to meet more people like them. So… are we poly? Swinger? I really don’t know at all. If anyone asks, I prefer to say we are non-monogamous.

Wherever we fit in, we will continue to walk that line between poly and swinger… and hopefully continue to evolve and just be happy in discovering who we are.

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4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    One of the things I learned very early on in my exploration of ethical non-monogamy is that there is no one-size-fits-all model for how relationships should be. To paraphrase a wise person, the only constant in the universe is change. Just as people change, the relationships that define how people interact with each other change.

    I identify as polyamorous; I am currently in a monogamous relationship with a woman who is ostensibly wired for monogamy who used to be in a toxic open marriage. She and I have explored non-monogamous fantasies extensively, and they arouse both of us. She is interested in the concept of swinging, but has difficulty with some of the notions (and she doesn't understand polyamory at all).

    Can a poly and wired mono couple become happy swingers? Can a wired mono find happiness in her metamours? Can we benefit from extra relationships as they evolve and grow, perhaps crossing the line between poly and swinger many times? These are questions we ask ourselves, and in seeking the answers to them we define our relationship, and our relationships with others, in our own terms.

    What are we? Learning and growing. Trying to find a label to fit me, her, and us is a fruitless exercise—it would just be a temporary tag to help others identify a brief moment in our journey together. Chances are very good we will have a very different label next year, and perhaps another the year after that. And that's okay.

    Because regardless of what sort of relationship we have, when someone asks us what we are, the answer I want to shoot back with a smile is, "happy."

  2. Avatar
    Damsel4davey on

    Very good to know that it’s not just us!! Ty for sharing your story!! Helped a lot in where my husband and I are in the start of the lifestyle!

  3. Avatar

    I would just like to say……….take care of feelings. I was introduced to the ‘poly’ perspective but when I didn’t fit their rules, I was harshly “let go”. 
    So much is said about “no drama”. Life is drama and feelings are fragile. I’m having a very hard time with my bruised heart mending. Yes, I know….boo hoo….poor me…but still.  

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      Sorry to hear about that, and it’s not a poor you thing, just because people
      are “enlightened” to non-monogamy, doesn’t mean they aren’t also jerks

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