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Question: Thinking of separating due to inability to agree on boundaries

Dear Lounge Advice,

My husband and I have reached a point where we cannot seem to mutually agree on boundaries. It is starting to cause quite a bit of strain on our relationship to the point that we have discussed separating.

We entered into the lifestyle because I am bisexual and have always had a strong attraction to women (as well as men). For awhile we would only play with other women, mostly together, although sometimes he would just watch- but we would always be together. After a few years I became interested in being more couple oriented and he seemed ok with that idea. In the beginning I was careful to let him pick the couple so that he would feel comfortable but the first experience ended up being very uncomfortable for him. I on the other hand was wildly excited by the experience and had no clues or signals from him about how he was feeling until weeks later. Once he did confide in me I began to feel resentful that he did not allow me the same freedoms that I allowed him.

We have developed quite a few close friendships with other couples and still regularly go to Lifestyle parties finding that we are often attracted to very different people that are often not a part of the same couple. At times we will click with a couple and those experiences tend to go off without any problems but if he finds himself attracted to another woman I usually encourage him to explore the situation and go for it even if I'm not hitting it off with the guy (because of the group situation this tends to be ok). If I on the other hand find myself attracted to the guy but my husband is not involved with another girl then he tells me he's not comfortable. He has told me that he feels that I should be making him more comfortable and that I shouldn't do anything if he's not ok with it. My problem is that if he was attracted to a woman he wouldn't feel the need to ask me and I wouldn't require it... I'm excited when he's excited and want him to be enjoying himself. I want the same freedom in return but because he is not excited by seeing me with other men he says he can't do that. At this point its become a pretty big problem because I've started just acting on the moment and later on he's really upset.

I want to take his feelings into consideration because I do care about him but I feel like there's a double standard. We are both hurt and want to find balance but are also very stubborn and are egos are butting heads. He thinks I am being rebellious and at times I do view his behavior as more of a father figure that a partner. I would like to bring our relationship to a more mature level but we both have so many resentments and have lost trust in eachother.

Ultimately my question is~ how can we find balance when I really enjoy havinng sex with other men but he wants to be in control of when and with whom that happens. I want the freedom to choose for myself without him feeling uncomfortable or insecure.

Thanks!

Sincerely,

(Anonymous)

  
Dear (Anonymous),

If you stay in the lifestyle, you need to stop going with the flow if you're not attracted to the male half of the woman he finds desirable. The only one who can do this is you. If you resent him for not wanting to 'take one for the team' as you might be doing, then stop doing it yourself. I realize that your intentions were good when you began doing that, but it's obviously not a tactic you should be engaging in anymore.
Since you asked for my advice on this, here's what I recommend (strongly).
Both of you need to take a break from anything lifestyle related. If it has come to the point that your relationship is suffering this much, step back- way back.
Do you both value your marriage? If so, then the LS can wait. You both need to reestablish a healthy bond.
Here's an analogy I sometimes use:
Swinging in a relationship is like the wind to a fire. If the fire is strong, swinging will be the wind that breathes more life into your fire, making it burn brightly. If your fire is weak, that same wind will eventually extinguish the flames.

Your fire is dying and if you continue to swing right now, you do so at the detriment of your marriage.
Truly, what is more important to you both?
Extracurricular play OR a lifelong promise you made to each other at the alter?
Do you understand the magnitude of this?

Please think carefully about swinging at this point.
I'm sorry to be blunt here, but not being able to agree on mutual boundaries is a rather silly reason think about separating. Don't you think?
Go rediscover the reason you both got married. The lifestyle isn't going anywhere.
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