Here’s something we don’t often hear about: the dangers of going to polyamory from swinging, addressing the very real issue for swingers of falling in love with playmates and forming long-term romantic attachments.

Truly, though, this can happen to anyone. Love and relationships are very sneaky–they can come and go on schedules that don’t match ours and thumb their noses at our carefully-defined lifestyles and rules. In truth, I think what this article nails right on the head is the old broken-record motto of poly:

It all comes down to communication. It’s critical to ask your partner how they feel and to share your feelings. The absolute worst thing that you can do is to hold your feelings inside – what you really want – because you’re afraid your partner may not understand. You have to talk about what you both want from the relationship and what boundaries you’re comfortable with. And in some circumstances, you may find out that you want different things. If this is the case, you’ll have to decide if you are willing to compromise or go your separate ways.

It doesn’t matter if you’re single, coupled, monogamous, married for 30 years, swingers or poly–at some point, you’ll probably find yourself falling for someone that you didn’t intend or expect to. It’s happened to me when I was single. It’s happened to me when I was in a monogamous relationship. It’s happened to me when I was in a poly relationship. And really, the only wrong action in any of these cases was to pretend that I didn’t feel that way. In every case, I told someone important. When I was single, I told a girlfriend. When I was monogamous, I told my boyfriend (with shame, but fortunately he understood). When I was poly, I told that boyfriend the second I recognized the strong feelings.

So please, whatever your relationship structure, recognize that this will be a possibility. Acknowledge it when it happens. Then communicate and figure it out.


Commenting area

  1. bigbrother August 23, 2007 at 8:40 am · ·

    Interesting topic, minx! My wife and I enjoy a relationship that includes “swinging” as well as the freedom to form deeper relationships, and it’s a bit amusing (although I can understand their position somewhat) to see the lengths to which some couples in the swinging lifestyle to avoid any semblance of attachment or affection. Would I be out of line to request a polyweekly podcast that gives a little attention to this topic, as well as to poly folk who may have started out as “swingers?”

  2. I like the point. There’s really a danger when you’re not as open as you should be in a relationship. This book I’m reading espouses the development of love via the deepening of relationships, and what you do whenever you’re in the poly situation is remarkably similar to what I’ve read. Kudos for being open in your relationship: God only knows how hard that can be.

  3. I had no problem with following this advice until two days ago. Now my best friends and my wife all are happy having benefits and I am trying to work up the courage to ruin it all by telling them I am in love with the other woman. I know she loves me too, but I fear it is platonic love. If she only has platonic live for me she won’t want to further risk the group friendship on swinging. If she feels romantically towards me we both love our spouses too and have kids besides. We aren’t about to put that in danger. Although on stone level I really want to. In my right mind I would rather keep my mouth shut and enjoy the sex and other intimacy and suffer silently the tragic condition of being with so many people I love and having a great sex life. Sounds like a great problem to have.
    So why am I not happy?

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