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Ask John & Jackie: Transitioning To An Open Relationship and Overcoming Jealousy

By April 24, 2018 April 27th, 2018 Swing Lifestyle Articles

Hey Jackie,

I ran across this website after doing some research into the lifestyle. I identified with your upbringing and story so closely, and my husband of seven years and I have finally come to the realization that we’ve been operating under the constraints of what and how we’re “supposed” to be living, and not living our own truths. We’ve experimented with the idea of a threesome and, most recently, have felt that the lifestyle might be a good fit for us.

Do you have any advice for a new, formerly HIGHLY religious couple that was bound by the standard definition of marriage to go about putting our feet into the water?

My husband is onboard, but he’s still very traditional. I want to make him feel comfortable and secure and reassure him that he’s #1 in my heart, but I also really want to take this adventure. He’s 100% behind supporting me in every way he can, even sexually, but I do worry about his first experience and jealousy being an issue.

Does the transition come naturally?

Did you ever worry about jealousy being an issue?

What are some ways you two, in the beginning, made sure that the other person was okay, say, DURING an interaction meeting a new couple? How do you pull your spouse aside in a public space and say, “Hey, how are you? How do you feel? What do you need?”

Thanks,

Ready to live our truth

==============

Dear Ready,

First of all, I want to thank you for taking the initiative to reach out. Transforming a relationship from the standard traditional monogamous platform to a consensual non-monogamous union does have its challenges, so kudos to you for wanting to proactively address any and all issues.

Do I have advice? Well, it’s not so much advice as it’s sharing what worked for John and I. I try to keep away from advice, because what worked for me might not work for you, and I would never want anyone to feel as though they’ve done something “wrong” because my approach didn’t work for their relationship. This discovery of what works for a couple is part of the joy of learning and accepting our partner. Besides, what’s important is whether or not the choice brings peace to the partnership…whatever that choice might end up being. With that being said, I will tackle each question you presented.

#1 – Does the transition come naturally?

While I believe non-monogamy to be a natural state of being now, this was not what I was taught growing up, so no, it didn’t come naturally, at least not for me. The transition took a lot of patience and communication between John and I. I knew I wanted to try a more open relationship, but I initially struggled with feeling as though I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing. I was going against the grain, stepping outside the box, pushing a narrative that went against decades and decades of instruction. For me, part of the answer laid in education. I poured over articles and books, read scientific studies, and asked my husband a ton of questions. I like to think I had an advantage because John owned swinger clubs when we got together, and while this “inside look” into the world of non-monogamy was beneficial and did help, it still boiled down to how I was processing all the information. I kept wanting to compare this new to me lifestyle with the old format. I wanted to have that reassurance that John and I were in this adventure together. What I learned however was that at the end of the day, this relationship transformation was something I wanted to do. Yes, I wanted John to be on board and supportive (which he was), but I also wanted to own this choice. This realization came the very night John and I were driving to our very first swinging experience. I stopped being afraid of what might happen, what might go wrong, all the negatives that could come about as a result of this first threesome, and simply owned it. Regardless of what happened between John and I, the experience was going to be something I was intent on having. I was going to find out for myself if this non-monogamy lifestyle was something I even wanted to pursue. It was during those few moments in the car on our drive over that pushed me over the edge. My courage overtook my fear and I gave myself permission to live a life by my rules.

#2 – Did you ever worry about jealousy being an issue?

Absolutely! Again, the narrative most of us endured growing up was based on a super restrictive relationship. It’s you and your partner against the world. As a matter of fact, most of us are taught that being jealous is a sign of love. I know I was. If my partner was jealous of some guy talking to me, that must mean that my partner really loved me. Of course today the idea of jealousy from this stance seems controlling…not loving at all. This took me quite a few interactions to understand. The first time I got jealous over John spending time with a friend of his is a day I will never forget. Pangs of loss and fear kept running rampant through my mind. I was trying to deal with our new relationship model with old, incorrect information. I had to learn it was okay to talk to my partner, to be honest about how I felt and discuss my fears. These raw and vulnerable conversations were pivotal in transforming my jealous responses to those of love, trust, and compersion. I also learned to walk through my fears. After all, that’s really what jealousy is in a nutshell…a fear. Once I was able to verbalize my fears, those fears become manageable.

#3 – What are some ways you two, in the beginning, made sure that the other person was okay, say, DURING an interaction meeting a new couple?

This has to do with boundaries and rules the two of you will set. Before John and I met up with our first play partner we talked about each of our roles. What was John going to do? What was I going to do? What was our “safe” word? I wanted John right beside me through the whole thing, and John wanted my first swinging experience to take place in an arena of safety. We were both in agreement going in, and on the drive home we talked about the evening. What did we like? Was there anything we didn’t like? How did we feel? Was everyone okay? We also allowed ourselves to soak in the importance of what had just happened. We had opened our relationship to include others. We had been open enough and loving enough with each other to take the relationship to a much more natural and accepting level…how cool was that?! I never felt closer to my husband than in those first few moments we shared together after that monumental experience.

#4 – How do you pull your spouse aside in a public space and say, “Hey, how are you? How do you feel? What do you need?”

You’ll find that the more you interact with others the closer and more parallel your goals will be. The deeper levels of honesty will transform the communication you have with each other. Body language, hand signals, that knowing glance, will all be ways in which you’ll begin relating to one another. Also, it won’t seem at all awkward to simply say, “Is everything okay?”

Just like with anything in life, swinging is a process. Every interaction you and your partner have will be slightly different. Some will be off the charts amazing, while others might find you in a huddled mass of fear. While you might want to shy away from the fears and not so wonderful moments, they’re just as important as the joys. It will be those moments of vulnerability that will form a completely different foundation from which you and your partner can stand. You’ll learn brand new ways to communicate, brand new ways to experience your sexuality, and brand new ways to offer support and unconditional love (compersion) towards one another.

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5 Comments

  • Lynn Moorhead says:

    Hi Jackie,

    Your typical great advice, to what does seem to be a common thread of questions.

    Dear Ready,

    The first link Jackie provided is to her book on the topic, and as someone who immediately bought upon release, I highly recommend it to answer most any questions you might have. It is a quick and easy read, and provides a massive amount of insight from someone who has “Been there, and done that”.

    Thanks.
    Lynn M.

  • Sahajacouple says:

    Hello Jackie:

    What a great and insightful response to Ready’s questions that surfaces in the mind of every couple contemplating a new lifestyle involving non-monogamy, i.e., sexual interaction with someone other than your spouse. Your book Swinger’s Lifestyle is a wonderful resource to those couples wanting out of the monogamy rut imposed by the society. The only prerequisite to enjoyment of sex with another partner is the couple’s complete readiness, and, surrender to the new sexual experience, unconditionally. This is corroborated by own experience and those of other couples we have come across. The key is that the agreement between the husband/wife/ partner has to be unconditional and genuine. We can narrate several instances where the sexual interaction (a full swap) with the other
    couples’s mate led to an open marriage and great satisfaction socially and sexually for bothAs narrated by the wife of one couple, that was friends with another couple for some years. The couple had the first full swap experience to the complete metamorphasis in the couple’s relationship. The key was the husband giving his wife complete freedom to choose whether or not to experience sex with the other husband and him with the other wife, both sexual interactions taking place separately. As narrated by the wife she was completely sated with the mind-blowing orgasms, without guilt, and this was the beginning of their venturing into open marriage.

    Another instance has involved two couples we have known very well. What helped the couples is some
    A reading of Jackie’s book plus some exposition of honest-to-goodness personal experiences.

  • Thom says:

    Hi Jackie& John. My wife and I have been together for 10 years now. We have both had limited “experiences” before we met. She actually attended Hedonism II in Negril. We have discussed fantasies, (I’ve had to bring it up) And she said she might enjoy watching another couple. But, I have never said, hey, “what would you think about trying out swinging?” I actually did suggest having a Sensual massage from a couple we found thru a website online, and she was all for it, and I gave her several opportunities to change her mind, but she did not and was actually quite excited about it. They came to our hotel but weren’t really a couple, everything was great until the guy said: ” for another $200 bucks we can take our clothes off and anything can happen.” We still spent two hours with them and it was exciting watching her getting the massage. … we are in our late 50’s and she has body issue hangups. she is a tall woman 5’11”, with a few extra pounds, but not fat.
    Anyway, the question is , how should I ask her?

    • Jackie Melfi says:

      How about, “hey, what would you think about trying out swinging?” You could then have the Openlove101 website available for her to look through, or you could look into clubs in your area to visit together. You could decide to visit a club, just to see what you both think of the environment. If you are anywhere close to Dallas, Houston, Austin, or New Orleans you could visit one of our clubs, http://coletteclubs.com/. Jackie

    • Jackie Melfi says:

      Hi Thom,

      One of the things I love about my relationship with John is our communication. Those vulnerable moments where we are honest in our thoughts and unafraid to vocalize our desires. I remember the first time John and I discussed turning one of my fantasies into reality. Those first few moments I was nervous about sharing my deepest fantasies. IDK, maybe I was afraid John would judge me or think my inner most thoughts were “weird,” thankfully, John was super supportive and loving during those initial conversations. We simply talked about the subject at hand. Worst case scenario, I would reject the option. Best case, we would embark on a fantastic journey together. Either way, we knew our love would carry us through both outcomes. It was because of John’s understanding and support that I felt more comfortable in toying with the idea of fulfilling what I always believed would remain a fantasy. Had John been too afraid to bring up the subject, our path to swinging might have followed a completely different route or none at all. It was because of John’s trust in our relationship that enabled our relationship to expand to the next level. Jackie

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