Intimacy can conjure a variety of emotions, and it can get complicated! It happens to all of us. Here are some tips to help you navigate feelings in non-monogamy.
Navigating the world of swinging and consensual non-monogamy can hold many treasures that you and your partner may be eager to explore. Just like any other type of relationship, feelings may come up. Jealousy? Excitement? Discomfort? Worry? Fear? These are all normal emotions.
Feelings WILL come up!
It’s very unrealistic to think that you or your partner won’t have feelings come up at some point — even if you think you’ll be fine going into any given scenario. The trick is addressing them as soon as they come up. Make sure the foundation of communication in your relationship is a safe one: neither you nor your partner should feel scared or unwilling to talk about your feelings when they arise.
You can’t control your feelings, but you CAN control your actions.
When feelings come up, it can be easy to slip into being reactive and/or defensive. A successful partnership will require you to evolve reactivity to calm, effective communication. Instead of acting on impulse, take a moment to collect your feelings and think about how you want to relay those to your partner. If something has come up for us, it’s our responsibility to address it and how we communicate it effectively. Exploding at your partner and saying things you can’t take back will not only make it hard to surmount that specific situation but can cause long-lasting hurt in your relationship.
Use strong communication and listening skills.
If we don’t communicate or listen, it’s a vicious cycle of misunderstanding, confusion, resentment, and can set you up for failure. Make sure to bring up your feelings early and candidly. On the flip side, make sure to listen to everything your partner has to say before responding. Place yourself in their shoes, be patient and listen, analyze, and discuss together CALMLY.
I feel/felt [emotion] when [whatever happened] because [why]. I need [what you need].
I felt jealous when I noticed that you were paying more attention to her than to me during our threesome because I wanted to feel more included. I need you to be more aware next time and make sure you’re paying as much attention to me as you are to our new partner.
Take space and process how you can move forward together to avoid similar feelings in the future.
I mentioned avoiding reactivity above for good reason. If we make impulse choices and actions based off of high emotions, we may do a disservice to ourselves and our partner. Listen to your partner and take some space to process on your own to collect your thoughts. For instance, if you had a negative experience at a sex club one night, don’t come home and get into a screaming match — take time to sleep on it and think about it to start fresh the next day. Then when you’re both ready, come together to discuss a solution. Were these feelings avoidable? If they aren’t avoidable, what can each of you do to help minimize these feelings in the future?
Need more advice about swinging?
I’m happy to help! What do you want to know about swinging and open relationships? Share with me in the comments below!
Until next time, Stay Lexual!