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Question: Guilt- How to deal

Dear Lounge Advice,

We have been experimenting in the lifestyle for about 5 years now. It has really brought us together in so many ways and made our relationship even stronger. To be honest, we have had more bad experiences than good but have always been able to take something positive from them all. The ongoing problem is that Jenny tends to feel guilty afterward. Not always right away but every time. This tends to set her back quite a bit and she begins to question everything. Her self confidence is sky high on the build up and for some time after but then the guilt begins to build and she falls back. How do we get past this and have Jenny know how much she is loved and we are adults making adult decisions?

Sincerely,

(Anonymous)

  
Dear (Anonymous),

To tackle a problem, you must first discover its roots.

What was Jenny's upbringing? What were her family's views about 'family values'? Are her parents conservative?

Lifestyle guilt usually results from upbringing or societal norms that are impressed on us. For example, mainstream society dictates that we must be monogamous, life an honest life and value family. With that comes the expectation of monogamy.

If Jenny has been affected by any of things, then this may be the root of the guilt.

Here are a couple of things to discuss with her:

1) Societal norms do not dictate individual choices. We need not be 'sheep' that conform to what people think we should be.

2) Despite societal norms, statistics prove that nearly half of involved couples experience cheating. Given that cheating is so rampant, it's wonderful for us lifestylers to say that we give each other permission to branch out sexually. Plus, you mentioned something that I would have brought up- The lifestyle has enhanced an already wonderful bond between you two.

3) Given the aformentioned, any positive is just that. In a world full of negatives, a thriving relationship is a real accomplishment. If the lifestyle lends to this, then you have something to brag about.

4) If you have both been able to take away the positives from bad experiences, then she should take away the positives from the overall involvement in the lifestyle.


Don't tell her justify what she is doing. This is only a mask that will not completely remove the guilt of the choice. Remind her that she dictates her own choice, and nobody else besides you should weigh in on this.
If she is truly to be an individual, she must follow what she enjoys. She's hurting nobody, so she certainly shouldn't be imposing guilt on herself if this is something she enjoys.
Society and family views should not be a burden on her conscience.

She is not society.
She is part of her family, but she is not completely defined by them.
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