A Story About Swinging and Everlasting Love

Chris Goldberg-Swinging

I’ve had the privilege of speaking to so many women and men about their relationships over the past few years since I’ve started this blog. Every story is interesting but some teach you more about love than others. The following interview is with “Meredith” (a married middle-aged mother of two adult children). It is a heart-warming example of a couple’s courage to re-negotiate their relationship deal after decades of marriage.


How long have you been in a committed relationship?

I met my husband when we were both teenagers. We just celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary.  Our kids are now young adults.


When you got married, did you talk about what faithfulness would mean to you as a couple?

No. We did not discuss it. There was no reason to assume anything other than monogamy and that we would grow old together.


Did your plan of happily ever after work out?

Several years ago we went through a very difficult time as a couple. My husband lost his job and our financial circumstances changed dramatically. At around the same time, I became very ill, which severely affected my mental health. After being married for more than 25 years, we decided to separate. We moved into separate apartments.


What happened while you were separated?

It was very scary. I was in my mid-40’s and alone for the first time in my life. During my separation I hung out with an old girlfriend who was a swinger. I met a lot of her lifestyle friends, and began to go to their parties—I only observed and did not participate in any sex.

I wanted to see other men but that wasn’t the reason Randolph and I broke up. It was more of a by-product of our break-up. I realized I had never been with anyone other than my husband and thought it funny that I had nothing to compare him to.  But in all seriousness, and more important, I felt I needed something more that was not there.


What new conversation did you have once you got back together?

Our separation only lasted a short time. When we got back together, we started to talk about our desires more. My husband is not as demonstrative as I would like him to be. I am affectionate, and he is not. Before our separation I would put this need aside because my other needs were being met. But during our separation I realized just how much physical warmth meant to me. After we got back together after our separation I wanted to talk about our fantasies. I told him about my introduction to the lifestyle.


Did you ever think that you would have sex with anyone other than your husband?

Before my husband and I separated I could not wrap my head around people in general, much less myself, having sex with someone they don’t love. My husband once spoke of a man he worked with that used the services of hookers. I just couldn’t grasp that.


How did you re-negotiate your monogamy deal?

First and most important I told Randolph that I would like to experiment in the lifestyle but would only be involved if he is 100% comfortable. Randolph has veto rights. He is the one I want to be sitting beside on a rocking chair when we are 100 years old. My lifestyle is not about finding a replacement spouse. It is more a form of recreation and socializing. The lifestyle people are my friends but there is no emotional attachment as lovers.


Isn’t Randolph concerned that he may lose you to the lifestyle?

No. The lifestyle doesn’t take anyone. Bad marriages end bad marriages. As for Randolph losing me to another man? Well, if that is what is destined to happen, I could meet another man at work or the grocery store, it wouldn’t be due to lifestyle activities.  First and foremost, I would never leave my husband just for good sex because it is such a tiny part in the grand scheme.  When we discussed the lifestyle going in, I asked Randolph if he believed without any doubt that I loved him. Had he said no, or hesitated, we would have had much bigger issues to discuss.


Would you say the lifestyle has improved your relationship?

Yes. The important thing that being in the lifestyle did for our relationship is that you have to communicate or it won’t work. There is so much to discuss because the terms of my participation are very explicit. We had to both agree to these terms and establish boundaries. It really blows the lid off any assumptions.


It has made us both happier. Randolph has never been a social person. He is happier at home. I get to hang out with my friends in the lifestyle who are awesome. Even if I dropped out of the lifestyle, I would still remain people’s friend and attend the occasional function. I genuinely like them. Everyone is down to earth. Most of the people I know are just your average typical mid life couple. It’s just about having fun and good sex—if you are lucky that night! This has really helped my self-esteem.


Also, I know now that Randolph is not fond of certain things in the bedroom that I enjoy. I can enjoy those things with other men at the lifestyle parties, and don’t bother Randolph about it anymore. So we both enjoy that aspect. But I will always come home to him. He is the person I will come home to forever and ever.


What do you expect of Randolph with respect to faithfulness?

I expect him to be faithful as he always has been. It is still possible to be unfaithful even in the lifestyle—breaking the rules we agreed to in advance, for instance. The only difference now is the boundaries of faithful have changed.


How do you know your husband really doesn’t mind your lifestyle?

There are Saturday nights where he will say, “Hockey is on tonight,” hinting I might as well go have some fun given I’m not a fan of hockey. But his acceptance really hit home after we spent a day together with another couple. Randolph knows that there is one guy in particular that I play with a lot, and have oral sex with. I always believed it would be awkward or even hurtful for Randolph to meet him, given Randolph is not into the lifestyle. But I realized at the end of the day that Randolph thought that the guy we spent the day with was my playmate—even though he wasn’t. Randolph had been fine all day; there wasn’t any awkwardness at all. This solidified for me that he really is 100% ok with my lifestyle. This last affirmation was a very big thing for me.





Photo credit: Flickr/Chris Goldberg

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