Picture it; I am enjoying my self-mixed vodka and orange juice at a lifestyle club recently. I am approached by a woman that made sure that I knew first thing that she was only there because her crazy friends dared her to go after happy hour. I introduced myself sensing her discomposure, assuming that she could use a friend. I asked her what her thoughts were about our surroundings at that point. She told me that she couldn’t possibly understand how what ‘these people’ were taking part in is not considered cheating. Cheating? I was taken back a bit, and I guess I have never looked at the swinging lifestyle in that way. I try to see different perspectives, so I continued with the conversation. I asked her to give me her definition of cheating. She realized almost instantly that the definition did not fit the activities in the club that night. The words that come to mind when I define ‘cheating’ is- deception, fornication, affair. None of these describe what we saw in the club that night. I find the swinging lifestyle to be just the opposite of cheating. In my relationship, it has created a trusting bond that I did not believe could exist. I feel free because I have opened up my heart AND my mind to the person I married.
Cheating is common, and it is so sad. Marriage can tend to develop into a ritual of life and family obligations. All the while, these responsibilities are very important; it is also important to keep your relationship a priority. When life becomes exhausting, marital relationships often suffer first. When your marriage suffers is when an affair can take place. It makes sense; an affair offers something new and exciting. It allows you to be sexual with someone that doesn’t know that you wear socks with holes during the week. In the same breath, this also describes several elements of the swinging lifestyle, except you get to do it with the person you love. No hiding, no guilty conscience.
In my opinion, it’s ok to blow off some steam now and then. Swinging may not be for your relationship, especially if it is damaged or somehow unstable. In my experience, I have seen the swinging lifestyle to create stronger bonds with friends as well as experienced it firsthand in my marriage.
It’s easy to group other beliefs or behavior into a negative mindset. I think it is common for people to assume the worst about things. Sadly the stereotype is seldom given the proper explanation. The world is progressive, and open-mindedness is becoming the norm. Hopefully, the stereotype of the swinging lifestyle consisting of cheating and people dancing around in bell bottoms will diminish as positive exposure and education about what it means to have an open relationship.