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Question: Will an advanced 4-way relationship work?

Dear Lounge Advice,
My wife and I have been together nearly twenty happy years and we're still very happy with each other, our relationship, our family, and our future. However, we have been very selective in considering any play partners since it is our choice to be sure there is a fourway attraction. We met a couple almost 2 months ago that we have great connection with, and we’ve all really enjoyed getting to know each other while having some really hot times with them as well . We have a strong attraction to them, as they do for us. We really enjoy their company in the many situations that we have seen them in (private, public, and with our families) and we will make time to get together any chance we get. The only problem with what seems to be a great situation for all of us is that we can't clearly see the potential hazards of building this relationship to new levels. We do have open and honest discussions with our spouses and then all together about how we want to go forward but we have some reservations. We really enjoy the passions but nobody wants to get burned as we’re drawn closer to the fire. We have gone on a couple dates where I had the pleasure of his wife by my side, and my wife by his side for the date – and that was so much fun, we really enjoy spending time with the other’s spouse. We want to spend more private time with the other's spouse so we’re consider going on private dates and everyone is open to the idea but cautions are being considered so we don’t screw up what we’ve already built. With many years of mental conditioning for pair bonding, this concept of our 4way relationship actually working, growing into a safe and strong friendship seems difficult to navigate while keeping everyone’s best interest in mind. Throwing caution to the wind seems reckless and so foreign to our "normal" lives. We have extended a lot of trust to each other and that feels comfortable. We have mutual respect for everyone wants, desires, and for our pair relationship and families. When I try to put this into perspective, it’s too far from the norm that I can’t seem to wrap my head around it.
How can this relationship work? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

(Anonymous)

  
Dear (Anonymous),

Forget the norm- You've already abondoned the norm by branching into the lifestyle.
I can fully understand your reservations about this situation.
Here's where the reservation would have sound logic: If ANY person in this situation has any less than a solid, 100% sound relationship with their own spouse, the underlying faults in the 'homebase' relationship will become exposed quickly.

You may feel this about your own marriage, but can you gaurantee that the other couple has a soilid enough foundation to handle this without developing unnecessary feelings?
I'd recommend a four-way talk into the seriousness of doing this, but people put on good game faces in front of others. Because, in all reality, would anyone falter about thier own relationship while discussing it in front of others? Perhaps both couples should agree to have a private heart to heart to see if this will really work- this private talk should be candid and consider all scenarios openly and honestly. If you all come back together and agree that this will work, try it out.

But please, talk about it during the entire journey. If any jealousy or insecurity arises, back up and talk before allowing it to go further.

This isn't a whole lot different than moving a normal relationship to the next level- It's just a bit more complicated because the feelings, thoughts and needs of four people need to be considered instead of two.

Again- forget the norm. The 'norm' is whatever you want to make it within your own lives. It matters not what others practice our preach as long as you are happy with your decisions and nobody gets hurt in the process.

Remember- No atter what happens, your own spouse is #1, and that should never change.
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