How does a conservative girl from Kansas end up embracing a full blown swinging relationship...
It all started several years ago. I was a twice-divorced, single mom living in a small town in Kansas. My whole life had revolved around marriage, raising kids, and a 40 hour work week. As a little girl, my goal was to grow up, find a husband, have children, and live in my dream house. This was what my parents and my grandparents had done, so it was only natural that I would follow suit. And having thrown those goals out into the universe, that was what I received. But, for some reason, I always felt as though something was missing from the equation. I could never quite put my finger on what it was, so I resigned myself to the fact that there must be something wrong with me. I simply went about my life trying to ignore the emptiness brought on by this missing piece, or maybe I should say, peace.
I lived this way for almost 30 years before I said, "Enough." Right before my second divorce I took a life coaching course. Finding out who I was and learning to live authentically became my new goal. I poured over the textbook and completed each assignment with the determination of someone searching for the secret to life. After months of answering questions about who I was and learning to see through the lies I had become so clever at telling myself, I completed the course and was ready to unfurl my new found wings and test what I had learned. One of the biggest lessons I learned from the life coaching was realizing I live my life based on the information I have stored within me. I only know what I know. I respond to life based on what I have experienced. How was I going to experiment with life, to know what I wanted, unless I was open to allowing new experiences to enter my life?
John and I went high school together, so even though I'd known him a long time, I hadn't seen him in over 30 years. We reconnected on Facebook as our high school class was preparing for our high school reunion. John was living in Florida, but within a matter of days he had traveled back to Kansas to see me. Before he came to town, we spent hours on the phone talking with each other. John told me he owned swinger clubs, and I looked them up on the internet to educate myself on what exactly a swinger club was. The concept of the swinging lifestyle was intriguing, actually it was more then intriguing, I was fascinated by the whole concept. Was it really possible to have a partner, yet be able to have outside relations with others? Does this style of relationship really work? I had this preconceived idea that swingers had some kind of fear of relationships or commitment of love in general. Needless to say, I had tons of questions for John, so we continued talking and discussing the ins and outs of swinging.
One thing I feel the need to point out is, when I reconnected with John, I found him to be one of the most loving, tender hearted, and centered human beings I had ever come across. He was a man you could tell lived his life from a mantra of "yes!" This made the whole swinging concept that much more enticing. If this man was so loving, maybe my concept of swinging had been off. I began to understand, that maybe swinging went much deeper than I gave it credit.
What followed was nothing short of miraculous. John and I began to dip our toes into the lifestyle together. We started off slow. We started sharing our fantasies and then worked towards making those fantasies come true for each other. We talked about boundaries and reaffirmed our love for each other through affirmations and honesty. We talked about any fears we had, and ways in which to help each other through those fears. We made dates with others and tested our responses to those dates. What was happening to me? Before I knew it, not only had John and I dipped our toes into the lifestyle, we were swimming in it. And I loved it! For the first time in my life I felt I was right where I belonged. I didn't concern myself with what others would think, because this relationship was working for me. I learned to give myself permission to live my authentic life. I began to see life as a series of individual truths. Truths we should all strive to find for ourselves, truths as individual as we are.
I have been in the lifestyle now for years, with each new experience revealing another layer in my life and each new truth expanding my world.
What I had been told by society about swinging couldn't have been further from the truth. Those involved in the swinging lifestyle have incredibly loving and strong relationships. Swinging was about overflowing an already full cup. Swinging was about sharing in your partner's happiness. Swinging is focusing on the strengths each partner brings to the table, instead of confining your partner with the antiquated view of ownership so often found in the more traditional marriage model. For the first time in my life, I didn't feel any emptiness. I was free to love my husband wholeheartedly, yet I was also able to embrace any and all who came across my path. I realized this ever expanding supply of love was the piece and peace I had been missing.
-Jackie Melfi (Co-Founder, Openlove101)