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'We started swinging to save our marriage. It's three years later and I'm miserable.' UPDATED

'We started swinging to save our marriage. It's three years later and I'm miserable.' UPDATED


If you love someone deeply, you're willing to go to great lengths to keep them in your life. But sadly, sometimes the healthiest thing you can do is let them go.

In a popular post no the Swinging subreddit, a man asked for marital advice following years-long shift in his marriage. He wrote:

"We started swinging to save our marriage. It's three years later and I'm miserable."

My wife (35/F) and I (33/M) have been together for 10 years and have 5 kids together. We started out as a strictly monogamous relationship but as time went on she made passing comments indicating she would be interested in an open relationship and each of us having the freedom to play with others. In hindsight, I don't think I realized how serious she was about wanting to do that.

About three years ago, I noticed she began showing some telltale signs that something was going on (always putting her phone face down, turning away from me when texting, etc...). Long story, short: There was a guy at work she started hardcore flirting with and was trying to hide it. She even had his contact saved in her phone under a different name, hoping I wouldn't notice.

I knew something was up and called her out on it and she came clean but insisted it was just flirting and nothing had ever happened (which I believe her on). A few weeks later, she wrote me a letter telling me she was leaving me. Not because of this guy specifically but because she was worried she would cheat on me eventually as she always has had a desire for variety.

She assured me it had nothing to do with me or enjoying s*x with me (we still were having amazing s*x quite often). For her, it made more sense to end the marriage instead of hurting me over and over by cheating. I respected her approach at this point as she obviously did care enough to tell me her true feelings.

This woman is the love of my life and the mother of my children and I really wanted to save our marriage. On a whim, I suggested the open marriage as long as we could agree on a set of rules and stayed completely honest with each other. She agreed and we tore the letter up. In my mind, it's not what I wanted but I thought we should at least give it a shot.

Swinging Initially

After writing down the rules we agreed on (see Rules below), we started by going to a few swinger parties and a couple dates with other couples.

We eventually decided we both liked it better if we had our own play friends and we played separately from each other (ie - not same room playing. She would go out with a friend one night and I might go out another night). Initially it was just her who was going out but I could tell it was starting to bother her that I wasn't doing the same so I made a couple new FWBs.

During all of this, I secretly was hoping that she would have a few experiences and realize in the end, she would just want me but it was not the case. Also, I found that on the few times I would go out with my FWBs, I wasn't really enjoying myself. Shortly after this I decided that I was going to stop swinging and it would just be something she would do.

Our Rules (in case anyone was curious)

• No sleeping over

• Honesty - each partner will know ahead of time if there are plans to play with someone else

• Just s*x - not looking for Polyamorous relationships

• Must use protection

• We take care of each other's needs before our friends (meaning - we shouldn't be playing with friends more than we are playing with each other).

Three Years Later

Now, three years later, we have gone through several long periods of time where she has no desire to swing. Those times have been great while they lasted but as of a few weeks ago, she has found a new FWB.

They are actually together right now in our home (kids are at school) and I'm sitting here at work trying to figure out how I can keep doing this. I want her to be happy but I want to be happy too.

To my wife's credit, during this whole time she was always super open with me. Anytime she found a new friend, she told me right away. She would tell me upfront if she was trying to make plans to play. I also was very open with her about my feelings through all of this - that I wasn't enjoying it like I thought I would.

That I was having some jealousy issues, especially during the time they were together and I was sitting and home with my thoughts (or at work with my thoughts, like I am right now). We talked multiple times about this but in the end it came back to her wanting to do this to be happy. I know that if I demand she stop, she's just going to leave again.

I'm not sure what the best path is at this point - as I mentioned above, we do have an open line of communication about everything. She's just not willing to give it up. I want to be happy but I don't want to lose her - both for my sake and for the kids. Looking for some suggestions as I can't continue to sit here and cry at work like a dope.

Edit - Some are pointing out correctly that although we started this off as swinging and going to swingers parties, it evolved into an open relationship. My apologies if I posted this in the wrong sub - I couldn't find an active sub that seemed more appropriate

TL;DR - Started swinging to save our marriage, 3 years later and I'm miserable.

Commenters had lots to say.

pixiegod wrote:

Wow. This could be a difficult situation. She has been upfront and has really acted responsibly about her communication. This being said, you both have totally different takes on love and marriage. One or both of you have to change your mindset for this to work. This being said, you only can't control the actions of one of the two players here.

These are questions only you can answer. If you choose to stay, you have to be ok with what is going on. Not just turn a blind eye, but be happy for your wife in days like this. You have to be excited for her. You have to enjoy it like she does for what it is, a s*xual awakening that she most of the times shares with you.

This is possible. Maybe you can turn it into a game where after she has had her fun, that you spend some time together and you fuck her harder than ever, claiming her back. If you choose to leave because you feel you will always be miserable as long as she finds FWB's...then leave. But you have to be ok with leaving.

Sure she is the love of your life and the mother of your children, but you are slowly being driven mad with her living a lifestyle that is just not you. She will always be the mother of your children, but I can assure you that you will find someone who will share your monogamist mindset and she will fulfill you the way you deserve it.

There are only three right answers here...

Stay and truly accept your wife as she is. Leave and realize that you will find a better match for you. She decides that she loves you more than her other affiliations and is happy, truly happy with not having variety.

The only two wrong answers are...

Stay and be miserable, not accepting your wife as she is. Leave and never get over her, never opening yourself up to the love of another.

Since there are kids involved, I really don't want to give direct advice. They will be affected. But you should talk this over with your wife. Give her the same respect for truth she gave you. Tell her how you feel. And for your own mental welfare, please do one of the three right answers.

Only two of those you have direct control is her choice alone. You have a right to be happy as well, and currently you don't sound it. You deserve it. So please communicate and go down the road of one of those choices that will make you happy.

OP responded:

It is difficult and believe it or not, I'm not upset with her at all. Aside from the very beginnings of this, she has been open and honest the whole time since we agreed on this. I want to be happy for her and try to be happy for her. I definitely get the appeal of the variety aspect. And there's the added bonus that she's typically more worked up for me than normal, which I love.

In the last two weeks of her chatting/meeting this new guy, we've had s*x at least once a day which I love. I want to work on being OK with this - truthfully it's been probably a year since she played with anyone else and all the original emotions came back so fast.

Chicup wrote:

"Started swinging to save our marriage"

That's all I needed to read (I did read the rest). She started swinging to save her marriage. You didn't start swinging to save your marriage as much as you gave into her demands. You obviously have no desire to swing.

Sadly you fell into a trap a lot of spouses have, and its a shame you didn't ask about it before you started. Right now she gets to have her cake and eat it too so to speak while you are miserable. This is all about you now.

You need to have one of those sit down talks with her, and tell her how you are feeling about this. It may end up she refuses to change and you then get to pick being miserable or divorced and start healing.

randouser wrote:

I know you don't want to hear this but you have to let her know you can't do it anymore. If she isn't willing to make that "sacrifice" to keep you and her family together then let her go.

Just remember, there is a woman out there who will be happy with just you and you'll have an amazing life with her. If your wife is willing to break up her family for some side d*ck she really isn't worth keeping she? Anywho...good luck.

Plantarus53 wrote:

This isn't swinging. This isn't really what I think of as an open relationship either. This comes closest to blackmail, essentially "if you don't let me f**k other guys then I will end this marriage and break up our family." All this talk about honesty is superfluous. I guess at least she isn't being dishonest.

However, doing something over and over again that you know hurts someone and then telling the other person about it is not how you foster a loving relationship, at its BEST shows that she cares way more for herself than for you (but maybe still cares for you a little) and at its worst is just sadistic.

You are miserable and now you're stewing at work while you wife gets fucked at your home. Time to make her decide, keep the family together or let her break it up so she can have her fun. Put the decision on her so it is not you breaking up the family. I'm truly sorry this is happening to you.

Two weeks later, OP shared an update.

I have had a handful of requests for an update and a lot has happened. My wife left me on Tuesday. Based on all the advice I received here, I had another talk with my wife and poured my heart out to her about how I am truly feeling in regards to the open relationship. Most of the things I said were things I've said before but I made it much clearer that I am having major issues with this and not just minor annoyances.

I told her I was not ready to call it quits on the marriage though - after all, we have been together 10 years and have 5 kids together and I do still love her very much.

Long story, short - she refused to be open to discuss any compromises and also refused to go to counseling. A couple days after this conversation, she told me she wanted out. That she hasn't been in love with me for a long time and that the only reason she was still with me was because the swinging made it manageable for her to stay.

She said a lot more also...most of it hurtful but I think I've expressed her point pretty clearly and don't need to go into excruciating detail.

Now I know what some of you are thinking - this is exactly what I needed...I needed to be out of this toxic relationship

Even though I know this is true, god d*mn it this hurts. Have spent all week crying...went to counseling by myself. I know it's for the best but I keep thinking about all the years we've been together. Remembering the old times...our first date...when I proposed...the birth of our first daughter. God d*mn it this sucks.

To top all of this off, she tells me today "Well I'd still be interested in being play friends with you - we can have some fun occasionally." F#$k no. I'm rambling now so I'll wrap it up - I know in the end I will be in a better place but it's hard to see how just yet. Thank you to everyone who gave me advice.

And yes I realize at this point, this is probably more appropriate in relationships due to the Breakup and such but I figured I started this here in r/swinging and wanted to finish it here.

TL;DR - My wife left me.

The internet fully had OP's back.

Plantaris53 wrote:

She sounds like she became a super b#$ch! You pour your soul out and say you love her and she basically tells you it's over and by the way I haven't really loved you for a few years and the only way I could be with you was if I was f#$king other guys! Then after she rips your heart out she throws out something about still being friends with benefits! OMG!

I realize this is only one side of the story but she sounds very self-centered, insensitive, and cruel! As hard as this is she was the equivalent of an emotional lamprey. Just sucking the emotional energy out of you without ever paying it back. No one can live with someone like that.

Focus on your kids. They will need someone there for them. She might be too self absorbed to take care of their needs right now. Use their love to help fill some of this void.

wifeisin2girls2 wrote:

Really sorry man. I know you're hurting now. You sound like a very level headed, thoughtful, articulate guy, tho, so I'm sure'll you'll land on you feet. I'd like to point out to others that this is a perfect example of why swinging should not be used as a means to save a marriage. It should only be something that very strong marriage partners engage in.

margotnuclear1 wrote:

Wow. Best wishes, my man. Keep going to counseling by yourself, it'll help. I know it hurts like absolute hell, but there's a life on the other end of this, I promise. Here's some stuff I know you don't want to hear: your ex acted horribly irresponsible, selfish, mean-spirited, tone deaf, heartless, cruel, manipulative, and UGGGGGGH it upsets me just thinking about it.

You are going to be better off without her, and as much as it hurts to say, your kids are going to be better off with less of her if this is the type of person she is. It's unreal that people can go on so long being such a shell of a person to someone who's being so real to them. STAY STRONG, redditor. You're going to be better off.

As painful as it is right now, OP did the right thing for his future.

Sources: Reddit
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