Here is my story. I was married for many years and had two children. The marriage wasn't perfect but, I guess no marriage is. My husband was a good provider and he was not abusive in any way. I just fell out of love with him over time. Anyway, after the kids grew up and moved on with their lives, I left my husband for another man. I had been seeing him on and off for many years. I hurt my husband very badly which he didn't deserve. Now I am living with this other man. He was married before also and still has a young daughter who lives with us 15 days a month. I love this man with all my heart, and he swears that he loves me. But he is one of those people who is always right about everything and, therefore, I am always wrong. His daughter is exactly like him, so I now go through each and every day feeling like a stupid, worthless human being. Nothing I do is ever good enough. I can't even fold the towels right or make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich right. And in their eyes, I'm the worst driver on the face of this earth (meanwhile, I have a perfectly clean driving record). And there has been a new development (or should I say, a new demand) in my life. My man has decided that we should try swinging to add some spice to our sex life. So, you can imagine how that makes me feel. Now I feel even more worthless, like I can't please my man in bed so he has to go elsewhere. He really shouldn't have any complaints. We have sex everyday, sometimes more than once. But that's apparently not good enough. I feel like I am being punished for being a bad person. I keep wondering if there is someone out there who would be satisfied with "just me". Then I realize that I had that once and lost it. So, this must be my punishment. Through the course of my divorce, I lost all of my friends, most of my family, all of my money and possessions. I feel so lost. I have nowhere to go. I have no one to talk to. Do I just swallow my pride and face my punishment? I don't really have much choice as I see it.


3115 days ago
Hi again,

I remember this question a while back on swinging and I still believe it's an unresonable thing to do or ask someone to do. The only time a couple should contemplate swinging, is if both partners EQUALLY want it and have thought about the risks involved. Personally I could never entertain the idea!

I think your case is similar to the saying 'the grass is greener on the other side'. Meaning you thought you could find happiness outside of your marriage but it turned out not being better and perhaps worse. Unfortunately many married couples don't put enough effort nor do they appreciate each other enough - but I don't think you're being punished. Is there any hope you could go back to your husband??

I'm also a tad confused because you just wrote a question the other day that stated you both were having trust issues because you both cheated but now you both want committment. Could you please clarify this?

I think you should make plans and get out of this relationship, because I don't think he's going to give up on this idea plus he sounds difficult to live with. Do you have a job? Can you live with any family member temporarily? I sincerely hope you figure this out. Hugs, Bella

3115 days ago
Thank you, Bella. I guess I need to clarify a few things. When we first discussed swinging, I agreed to do it because I knew if I didn't, he would probably go out on his own to find sex. It had happened before. Hence, the cheating issue. (We both have very strong sex drives.) He assured me that, if we did the swinging thing, he would not go behind my back to have sex and I would be included all the time. So far, he has been true to his word. He assures me that he loves me and wants to grow old with me. He says, "it's just sex." "it doesn't mean anything." "it's all in fun." But I don't see it that way. I think there has to be an emotional connection along with the sexual connnection. They go hand in hand. I worry more about him establishing an emotional connection with someone than a sexual connection. I do love him and, yes, he can be difficult to live with but I don't want to leave him. I guess I'm pretty confused myself.

3115 days ago
Thank you for the reply. If a man is comfortable with the idea of swinging, I think it would be difficult to expect him to give up on the idea - you would always be thinking when will the subject come up again. If you can participate in it whole heartedly then that's your business as a couple. But don't agree to it for the sole purpose of feeling left out.

Like I said before I could never do it because I expect monogamy on both sides. But I'm going to step out of my box for a second and give you my advice on what he said about it not be emotional. As women we almost always need to feel a strong emotional connection in order to have sex. I think culturally we're taught as women to be ladies and find one man for the rest of our lives. If women had sex just for fun they're called bad names. I think some young women today are more open to recreational sex - but it's much more rewarding when you truly love that person. Yes men also enjoy the emotional connection as well, but the majority of men can engage in sex for the mere physical purpose and separate it from the emotional side. So if that's what's worrying you, I hope this helps. But I am concerned about how these kind of swinging interactions affect your over all well being. I would be green with jealously and worried about std's. Like I said before the only way it would work is if both partners are in complete aggreement, peaceful with no coersion from one side. I wouldn't want you to compromise your beliefs in the name of love. Best of luck and keep us posted. :)

3115 days ago
First, the blunt truth - hind-sight is always 20/20. Yes, it is possible your marriage was just "normal" and you thought you could find something better. Did you - I do not know, but its obvious how you are feeling now is not normal. Your husband and especially a child should never have the power to make you feel worthless.

What I do see in your comment is you feel it is hopeless and it is a punishment of some sort.

1. You always have a choice in things.

2. You sound like you have a Christian base belief system - if this is the case, know you aren't being punished. We were made in God's image which means having free will.... the ability to decide. Because of your decision you are feeling as you are now. Because of your new man and daughter's personality/attitudes, they are choosing to make you feel as they are.

No one here can tell you what to do - you can only look at your past and your present and do what is best for the future. This could be communicating with the current man and telling him that you do not feel comfortable in swinging and would rather work on your sexual relationship with methods that involve only you two. You could communicate with your man and his daughter and tell them how they make you feel. Feeling better in your relationship does not necessarily mean abandonning it - but it doesn't always mean you have to stay either.

3115 days ago
Dear Conjohnlevay,

All of the information that BellaCutie and Misscris have given you is very good. I would like to emphasize to you that you are not being punished in any way. Maybe you feel that way because the life you expected is not the life you have been experiencing and you regret the decision you made. Period. Many of us make decisions that we later regret. But life goes on. I do know of an actual research study that says that men don't associate love with sex the way women do. So your partner could swing without becoming emotionally attached to someone else. But, this still leaves you participating in something that you do not like and living in a home with two people who abuse you emotionally.

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that I don't see things getting much better for you if you choose to stay in this situation as it is. Do you work? Could you earn your own money? Even if you do not plan to leave at this time, you could begin to create a life for yourself other than within this threesome. Working could also introduce you to some potential friends. I would also do what Misscris suggested and talk to your partner and his daughter about how they make you feel. Your self-esteem and peace of mind is at stake.

Best of luck to you.

3115 days ago
Hi conjohnlevy,

I don't believe your being punished. How did you loose all of your family, friends, possessions and money in the divorce? Did you give them up to be with your future partner? in which case no-one is worth that. Or, do your friends and family dislike your new partner? which might be a telling indication of something.

You say you love your partner with all your heart, what is the reason that you fell in love with him?, was he always controlling and critical ?, did you expect that he would stop doing over time? how long did you know him before you became involved with him?.

The relationship your in is definitely not an equal relationship and you don't seem to be getting your needs met, but your partner is.

I don't think this issues is about swinging, and I agree with thumbelina, that you are being emotionally abused, abuse doesn't have to be physical, it often involves verbal and emotional abuse, and your husband is trying to control what happens with you and what happens in the relationship. He has modeled such bad behavior that his daughter is exactly the same as he is.

Giving in to swinging isn't going to make your partner happy and stop all the criticisms. I doubt anyone can make him happy, I also wonder why his wife left, I wonder if she got fed up with all the emotional abuse. He doesn't appear to understand that what he is doing is unhealthy in a relationship, his relationship skills aren't very good. Your partner doesn't seem to be aware, or care that all his criticism is making you feel worthless and potentially causing you to feel depressed. It is going to take a lot of work for him to understand this. But It doesn't appear from your post that he would be even willing to go into therapy to work on himself and on the relationship.

Where does this leave you? only you can make the decision as to whether to continue to say with him, hoping that he sees the light and changes, but I doubt this going to happen anytime soon. You can talk to him about how his behavior makes you feel. Have you tried this? what were his responses?. If he seems genuinely interested in making this relationship better for the both of you, and work on it, then you might have a chance. But swinging isn't the answer to your problems. If you partner is unwilling to listen to you, thinks there is nothing to change, and continues to bring up swinging as something that is good for both of you, your chances of having a healthy, equal loving committed relationship are doomed.

It is better to be single than 'sick' in a relationship.

Are you able to reach out to your family and friends for support, to talk to them and slowly start to rebuild those networks of support. If finances are a problem Can they help you get away from him until you get back on your feet.

Don't just accept this your fate, but things rarely change on there own. You have have a plan and starting with small steps make those changes.

I wish you well.

3114 days ago
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3113 days ago
I personally do not know the answer to your dilemmas, whether you should stay or leave, swing or not swing. But I believe you need support—and a way to clear your head so you can make sound decisions for yourself. And to get a realistic assessment of your situation as to whether you really have a future with this man.

I have read of a study, and although I may not be totally accurate in my recollection, it involved brain scans of people who were “in love.” And they found, when people are in this state, that the emotional brain was extremely active, but their cerebral activity, that takes place primarily in the prefrontal lobes, is extremely low. And it seems, in many cases, when we are in love we can’t think ourselves out of a paper bag. There seems to be a whole lot of chemistry that gets in the way.

You have lost your friends, family and connections from your former life. Therefore, I would think you need to make new friends and form new connections.

From my perspective, you are allowing him to encroach upon your sense of identity—upon your autonomy—places it would seem to me you should not allow him to go. Perhaps your submissive attitude is giving him the go ahead to move in on you. It seems you have become way too dependent upon this man’s approval for your feeling of self worth. You have set yourself up for abuse and misery. That is a very vulnerable and dangerous place to be. (This is just my perception, it may not be accurate at all.)

You wonder if you are being punished for your past sins. Well we all make mistakes and from what I have learned, blaming one’s self is not a productive thing to do.—Because we cannot change the past. We only create unnecessary emotional turmoil within ourselves that only further muddles and confuses our thinking.

Many people here have contributed sound advice to you but perhaps, you have a lot of buts to their sage observations. You are in an emotional mode. And you need help in getting out of that emotional mode so you might see things more realistically and with more common sense and not be distracted by emotional yearnings, dreams, fantasies that we sometimes confuse with reality. I certainly have this problem myself.

What you do is your decision. But you need to weigh the pros and cons in a clearheaded way. I recommend that you visit a free Recovery International meeting in your area to get help. If there are no meetings in your area, you might participate in a phone meeting. If interested, go to for more information.

Recovery International offers a practical, empowering commonsense cognitive behavioral method and when you attend a RI meeting, you learn to discern the emotional influences that are blocking a clearer views of things. You will not told what to do. You will not be judged. And they will not probe into your personal life. It is a program that will help you get an objective view of things. What you will be provided are powerful aids to help clarify the confusion in your thinking, and emotional conflicts. The RI method empowers people and reduces a lot of emotional suffering. And who knows, you may find a way to make your relationship work and still have your self-respect and dignity.

The very best to you.

3111 days ago
Thank you all for your responses. They are very helpful.

3109 days ago
You don't have to stay with this man, either. You can go out in the world and support yourself. No one can demand you take swing lessons, or similar. You might have ruined a previous marriage and a lot of relationships, but you don't have to keep doing so.

3108 days ago
Some Additional Thoughts:

The importance of self-validation, self-respect, and not undermining yourself by doing things that make you think less of yourself.

The thought occurred to me that his pattern of verbal abuse to you, plus your situation where you are now isolated from your former social network; and then he wanting to put you in a situation where you may very well lose your self-respect—could he be intentionally trying to demoralize you and control you and victimize you? You already are burdened with the guilt of the past. Does he play into this too? (Maybe you could apply some discursive, logical thinking to the realities here, and decide for yourself if there is a pattern here, or is there also sufficient evidence on the other side, they he would be willing to provide the give and take to make this relationship work and support you and stand by your side when you are in need?

I would like to re-emphasize the importance of having connections and a social world outside of this relationship. Also, be your own best friend, do not depend upon him for your self-worth.

3094 days ago
You do not have to stay. You do not have to have group sex because he wants you to do so. Basically, as the other poster said, you are punishing yourself because of what you did before.

You deserve to be happy, even if it is not with this man or the other.