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Question: We are considering an open relationship.

Dear Lounge Advice,
My wife of 26 years has been a soul mate and we just found out about this swinging stuff about 2 years ago...what a blast. I travel a lot and she wants to consider having an open marriage. I am open to it. Any suggestions to do this and avoid things that could go wrong. [The last thing we want to do is fall in love with another person...[or in your experience can you have multiple lovers and still maintain a great relationship]. The swinging lifestyle has been great for both of us.

Sincerely,

(Anonymous)

  
Dear (Anonymous),

First, I am going to post an excerpt of something I have written in the past that not only goes for swinging, but for your consideration of an open marriage.

This is the time to look inside the dynamics of your relationship with your mate and determine: Do we have the essential elements needed to make an open relationship viable? This is not a time to rationalize weaknesses by saying that they arenít important; that they will hold up to any challenges swinging will offer. This is a time to be brutally honest and determine, above all is, if your relationship will be sturdy enough to handle any encumbrance that is presented when you and your partner partake in sexual relations with others. You would be demeaning the value of your bond with your significant other if you were to venture into this lifestyle with the goal of sleeping with others above the fate of your relationship. If this is the case, you will quickly find that your misplaced priorities will eclipse the strength of your bond, therefore placing your entire foundation in peril. Place yourselves in certain situations and try to answer hypothetical questions. Would you be able to handle handle hearing about each other's stories about indcredible sexual experiences that occured while you were away? Would your relationship marriage stand up to one person's multiple encounters with a fantastic newfound lover? Would your sex life still be the same together even if one or both of you experienced the newness and erotic awakening of a different lover?

Bottom line- You need to have an extremely sturdy foundation, excellent communication skills and full trust in your spouse to undertake what is commonly referred to as a 'hall pass'. It certainly sounds as if you have these attributes.

I want to ask a few things of you before you decide on this. First, sit down together and look through the advice archives. I want you to pay particular attention to the Relationship Advice section. You will be searching for topics that relate to hall passes and their effects, and also topics that address attachments that occur in these situations. Be forewarned that almost all of the ones you will find are situations that have turned out for the worse. The reason I am asking you to read these is because it would be healthy for you both to see what weaker relationships have suffered from doing this. You need to talk to each other while reading these. This is to make sure that whatever happened with those people will nto happen to you. Call it a vicarious field study. I'll see if I can dig up some of the topic titles and paste them for you here to help narrow your search.

#1 My wife lied and is now seeing a man often and our marriage is now suffering.
#2 My wife seems to be more interested in a play partner than our relationship.
#3 Should I let my wife go solo with a single male?
#4 She is getting close to a man and I need advice.
#5 My wife's interest in a single man is concerning me.
#6 My wife wants to swap and date seperately.. is that wise?
#7 I'm falling for a single male and I'm married.

Next, I want you to read two particular topics in the forum that are quite recent. One is in the 'Member Polls' section and is entitled "Alarming Trend- Would you let your spouse have a hall pass?"
The one in the Lifestyle Discussion topic area is entitled "Alarming LS Trend" and I am the author of that one. I'll bump up toward the top for you. Pardon the pun, but do not be alarmed by the titles of these two posts. Both topics contain many points of view on this subject and it would be very prudent of you both to read carefully through both topics and discuss what you read.
I know it's a bit of work, but I believe it is VERY worthwhile because this is a serious decision you are considering.
If afterwards, you still have questions or concerns, please feel free to come back and ask!

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