When I talk to vanilla people about my relationship with Mr Jones one of the most common reactions is “I respect your right to choose how you live your life but I couldn’t possibly be like that with my wife / partner” Which is a completely understandable reaction. I guess the thing that most people don’t consider is that we didn’t wake up one day and decide that we were going to have an open marriage. The decision itself to open the door was one that took a long time (like years) to happen.
I remember very clearly when Mr Jones and I made our relationship permanent telling him that I was not going to hold a physical infidelity against him because I knew that he loved me and no matter how many women he fucked outside of our marriage he wasn’t going to leave me. There were a few factors that led to that feeling of confidence; Firstly I was confident of myself in those days in a way that I am not so much now. Secondly he had been in several very serious relationships before I came along and I was the first woman he seriously considered having children with.
I knew that he considered having children a very serious thing. It wasn’t an endeavour that you entered into with just anyone unlike getting engaged. Which seems to be the opposite of most people’s ideas. Maybe that is the reason there are so many mixed families out there and so many children who don’t have a good idea of family or security. But we digress.
Another thing that I remember very clearly and I am not sure if I ever voiced this fear, I know I certainly didn’t at the time. Was that I was deflated by the idea that I would never have sex with another person except Mr Jones. It wasn’t that I didn’t like sex with him, it was some of the best sex I had ever experienced. But rather that I feared becoming old and stale and that I would be missing out on something.
So there we were, almost drowning in the emotional sea of having young children and dealing with life in general. I was struggling with the effect of children on the quantity of my sleep, on my career and on the way the world viewed me. He was struggling with an unexpected sense of responsibility, a sudden change in the amount of my attention he was receiving and more specifically a lack of physical contact between us.
As time wore on the conflict between what I wanted and what I thought I should do became stronger and stronger. I have realised only recently the massive amount of guilt I automatically heap upon myself at every opportunity. Given this you can imagine how much guilt I was carrying around. Mother guilt, wife guilt, daughter guilt and, just in case it wasn’t enough, guilt for not having enough guilt. All of this negativity had a serious impact on my confidence in myself as well as my general outlook. I withdrew from everything including my marriage. But instead of recognising what was happening I took the view that the problem was the marriage, it wasn’t supporting me in the way I needed.
I was very passive / aggressive at that time. I didn’t stand up for myself I just held on to my negative feelings and tried to hide them because, you guessed it, I felt guilty that I wasn’t the perfect modern superwoman.
Things came to a head when a work colleague took advantage of my unhappiness and insecurity and after much coercion on his part and a quantity of alcohol on my part I ended up naked with him. It would be much cooler if there was swinging from the rafters sex but the reality of things is that we had both drunk too much, I was consumed by guilt and fear and he couldn’t even get an erection. So was there sex? Technically no but I definitely cheated.
This series of events became a turning point in my marriage for a lot of reasons. Firstly I bought to a head some of the issues that had led to the infidelity in the first place. Despite my conviction that he was oblivious to my feelings and issues Mr Jones knew something was amiss and so he had preempted my infidelity a little. In an intense discussion he made me promise that I was going to be honest about everything that happened. He had worked out that my work colleague was cutting his grass so to speak and he knew it was probably only a matter of time.
Because of all of this I fessed up almost immediately. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. What followed was an intense few months of late night deep and meaningful conversations, painful and frustrating revelations of feelings, long buried and hidden from each other and of course, guilt. On the plus side issues that both of us had were voiced, and actions were taken to deal with them. Both of us learned a lot about communication and honesty. But more importantly we both learned that the only factor that was going to end our marriage was ourselves. The actions of other people didn’t have any effect as long as we kept communicating with each other.
It wasn’t immediately after this series of events, both of us needed some time to heal, but because of the things we learned about each other that Mr Jones suggested that we open the door of our bedroom and enter into the mysterious world of swinging.