Why do some couples in the lifestyle fare so well with swapping partners and even having solo playtime, whereas others seem destined for divorce court as soon as the term â€œswingerâ€ is mentioned? More often than not, it’s because the couples in that latter category are missing a key component to a successful, lasting relationship. Whether you are a traditional, monogamous couple or a polyamorous twosome, communication is the key to building a positive relationship.
You may have heard that good communication is all about sharing your feelings, but what if the person on the other end of that sharing isn’t open to hearing them? In fact, a base component of a great relationship is listening to what the other person is saying. And it goes beyond just knowing that they’re talking. As Nancy J. Foster, J.D., a family and business mediator, reminds us, â€œTo be a good listener, we must, first, pay attention.â€ (link: http://www.mediate.com/articles/foster2.cfm) Listening is much more than just the casual â€œUh-huhâ€; it requires actively participating in the conversation as a listener. And, as Foster points out, most of us aren’t taught how to do that. It’s something we have to be committed to learning.
While you certainly want to listen to your partner’s thoughts on how s/he feels about swinging, and you want to share your own views on the subject, listening and communicating goes far beyond the bedroom. To have a successful relationship, you need to be able to talk about everything: bills, kids, errands, household chores â€¦ and sex. If you haven’t already established that this is a safe, respectful relationship where people listen to each other and are invited to share anything and everything, how can you possibly venture into something as big as having different sexual partners? That addition to a relationship can be catastrophic if not handled well.
No one person is â€œin chargeâ€ of this foray into the lifestyle; both parties should be equally heard and respected. That means you must feel safe to say that you do or don’t want to do something (or someone!) and not fear anger or resentment. Set your ground rules beforehand; for instance, if one person says no, you’re both out. This level of honesty can be challenging for some people, but it’s a vital component to a successful relationship, whether you’re in the lifestyle or not.
You can have a lot of fun and a ton of wonderful experiences in the lifestyle, but it all begins with strong communication. Are you ready?