Swinging Advice – When One Partner Wants To Close The Relationship


swinging, polyamory, & non-monogamy adviceWe here at The Swingset are always happy to help with any questions or concerns you have, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Q. Hey guys & gals,

I'm in a pickle. My wife & I have been open-ish for a few years. We play with single women as she has a bit of the bi. Everything was going groovily until about a week ago. She decided that she was done being open. Hence the pickle: I'm not done being open.

Any advice on how to proceed? What to discuss? Do I just accept it & be happy that I had the chance to be in the game at all? Do we renegotiate the terms of ‘open' to allow both of us to get what we need?

Any help or advice would be appreciated.



A. Michael, first I have to give you props for your excellent vocab word “groovily.” Well played, sir, well played.

Now, more seriously, there's a few questions you need to answer for yourself before you push with your wife. Open relationships do tend to ebb and flow with many closing all by themselves for a while only to re-open later. For yourself though, I know you said you aren't done being open, but what does this really mean to you. Does it mean when faced with monogamy or divorce you would choose divorce? Or does it mean that you're gonna be bummed about losing this part of your life. Obviously this is an important distinction, and one that your wife would see as quite important as well. If you're siding with non-monogamy is really as dire as the above question, then the conversations need to be had now.

It's distinctly possible that your wife thought you were just having a bit of a fling with non-monogamy, and she projected this onto you as well, meaning that perhaps you were doing the same. If that's the case, she might need to be told how important non-monogamy is to you, but also at the same time how much you want to do this WITH HER.

The big puzzle is the question of WHY she decided she was done being open. (And I caution you that phrasing sounds harsh, I'd ask it in a lighter way.) What changed? Was it something in the last session that rubbed her the wrong way? Was it you? Was it her? These are all excellent points of communication, because remember just because you may not be in an open relationship that doesn't give you permission to stop communicating as though you were.

The bottom line is that if one of you wants to be open and the other does not, you will need to renegotiate not just the terms of open, but the terms of your entire relationship. And tread lightly because this can be a deal breaker for many people.

The glimmer of hope, my friend, is that she may just be on the ebb cycle of the open relationship, and in a month, she might get that old-fashioned yearn for that “bit of the bi” again and suddenly there'll be nothing but threesomes.

In any event, I cannot stress enough how much communication is the key to this issue.

Good luck!


About Cooper Cooper S. Beckett is the co-founder and host of Life on the Swingset: The Podcast since 2010, author of swinging & polyamory novels A Life Less Monogamous and Approaching The Swingularity, and memoir My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory. He teaches and speaks on swinging, polyamory, pegging, play parties, and coloring outside the boundaries of your sexuality. He is a graphic & web designer, photographer, and voice over artist, has been a guest expert on Dan Savage’s Savage Lovecast, & is the announcer of Tristan Taormino’s radio show Sex Out Loud. He is currently working on two instructional non-fiction books, one about beginning non-monogamy, and another about pegging.

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