Dear John & Jackie,
Hello! My girlfriend and I have been with a two couples before and we loved it but some jealousy started to arise. What are ways to help her feel comfortable again with the idea of swinging.
Dear Jealousy 101,
Communication, communication, communication! It is very important to have open lines of dialog whenever fear surfaces. Setting the tone for open conversation requires a loving atmosphere for you both. It is important your partner feels safe exposing those fears, just as it’s important for you to be able to digest your partners fears without guilt or shame. What is the fear? How does it make you feel? Sad? Angry? This exploration into fears (jealousy) will help both of you find out more about each other. Just because you are encountering a “negative” feeling doesn’t necessarily mean you should stop what you are doing. Sometimes those bothersome feelings are perfect messages we have an issue that needs our attention…a true chance to grow. It’s also important to remember the same fears can surface more than once. Some days we may feel as though nothing could negatively affect our mood, other days it will feel like a struggle. This can be the result of any number of reasons. Maybe pressure from work, the kids, the bills, etc…our mental state of mind can change our perception of what is happening.
Affirmation is also important. It can sometimes feel very scary to be transparent with your partner. Having the support and love and patience from our partner as we travel through our fears (and jealousy) can make or break our ability in conquering those fears. I know for me, having John beside me through my own fears was paramount. While it was ultimately up to me to walk through the fear, John’s added support gave me strength.
Dear John & Jackie,
I was wondering how often a couple usually swings? and if sex between the two partners themselves changes after trying swinging (in terms of frequency/passion/etc)?
I feel that it must take a very strong couple (like yourselves) to truly make swinging work. In your experience, how often do you think relationships are negatively affected by swinging? I think it would be something that would be fun to try, but I am afraid that it may ultimately negatively affect my relationship.
On the fence
Thanks for writing in with such great questions and you’re right…it does take a strong couple. Here’s the thing though, it takes strength regardless of the relationship model. Whether or not I elect to be in a monogamous or consensual non-monogamous relationship the “success” of the union is going to hinge on a few key points. Those being things like honesty, empathy, emotional intelligence, trust, transparency, and compersion. Too often, couples neglect to dig down deep into these poignant factors.
We all have our own perceptions and histories of how a relationship is supposed to work. These perceptions and histories are as varied as there are people, each person bringing something slightly different into a relationship. This is why communication is so vital, it’s about bringing those differences into a cohesive dialog that each person can relate. For instance, if I have low self-esteem, my perception of a partner talking with someone else could be negative. On the other hand, if my partner and I have discussed our personal vulnerabilities and issues, and allowed empathy, compassion, and affirmation to take place, then being able to interact with others will be less threatening, because we know our partner is a support for us.
How often a couple swings is purely personal. There is no limit to how often or how little interactions take place. This is part of the beauty of a more open relationship, you and your partner get the chance to design whatever relationship works for you.
It has been my experience that the sex between my partner and myself does change. By giving each other the freedom to explore our sexuality we end up coming away from those interactions having learned something. No matter what, I always come away with an appreciation for my partner.
Here’s the thing, swinging will force you as a couple to talk. It will force you to get honest with each other and it will force you to walk and talk your way through fears. For a lot of couples this seems far too daunting a task. For those couples who want to have a relationship in which freedom is paramount then these steps are greeted with enthusiasm. The swinger couples WANTS to be free from the constraints of fear and wants to create the most loving, nurturing, and honest based union possible.
When does swinging not work? Those couples who are in relationship bankruptcy and think swinging will fix the marriage. More often than not, swinging will simply amplify whatever issues the couple is experiencing.
Remember fear and excitement create the same physical responses within us. Sometimes it’s about what we tell ourselves is happening.
John and Jackie Melfi are married swingers and in an open relationship. They were featured in an ABC News Nightline special report “Getting ‘Naughty in N’Awlins’: Inside a New Orleans Swingers Convention” and are the force behind the industry famous colette swingers clubs in Dallas, New Orleans, Houston, and Austin and the award-winning blog Openlove101.com with over 20 years of combined experience in open relationships and coaching thousands of couples.