One question I get asked repeatedly is “how do we know if we’re ready?” Unfortunately it’s not as easy as going for it when you see a pop up like the indicator for a nicely cooked turkey, or an alarm that goes off saying “it’s time” so you know it’s time to strip off naked and join in the fun.
Also important to note is sometimes “mostly ready” is ready enough; if I waited to do things until I was 100% certain, then there is long list of things I would never have attempted and a lot I would have missed out on. Mr Wonderful wasn’t 100% about swinging, but when we got into it he became ready and it is now a part of our regular (if you can call it that) lives.
So while it’s not a cut and dry “yes we’re ready”, there are signs that let you know you can at least start dipping your toes in the shallow end of the swinging pool. While these aren’t the only signs, they are the more important ones and should be present before you make the final decision to go for it.
- You’re BOTH curious! Let’s face it, if only one of you is keen to check it out then you as a couple, are not ready. Entering this lifestyle for someone else, or dragging your partner into it (potentially kicking and screaming) is more likely to bring up additional issues rather than keep everyone happy. Sometimes it just takes a little while for the second partner to come around but if you are patient, and allow them to do what they need to do to become comfortable with the idea of trying it, then when they are ready, you’re both good to go (provided the next two signs are present that is).
- You are able to effectively communicate your thoughts AND feelings, and you both actively work through problems as they come up. You are about to take your relationship into new territory and you will never know how you’re going to react until you are in the situation. You can’t account for everything that might make you feel frustrated, uncomfortable or even jealous (trust me, even those who aren’t normally jealous types have had it come up for one reason or another). If you have great communication skills and strategies together, it won’t matter what comes up you will be able to work through it, even having each experience strengthen your relationship instead of damaging it.
- You can read your partner! If you have been together long enough, after a while you are able to tell what mood your partner is in by looking at them or watching their behaviour. Being able to read each other can be a serious relationship saver when engaged in a swinging situation if one of you is not ok. I find this is the criteria new couples are often lacking because they haven’t been together long enough to know each other’s signs or behaviours. It’s not enough to ask your partner if they’re ok and to keep going if they answer “yes” because sometimes they aren’t. It takes maturity to pick up on your partners un-okness and to make the decision to leave the party and address their needs. Trust me, it can be hard to pull yourself away from the hot, wild and raunchy fun, and equally as hard to tell your partner you aren’t ok, so it’s being able to read your partner and act on what you know to be the truth over what they say which will make all the difference.
Swinging is the ideal relationship builder when you have all the basic foundations, but at the end of the day your relationship has to be the number one priority as well as your partner, their needs and wants. You are a team as you go into this and as a team you deal with anything that comes up, so keeping that in mind as you wander into new and exciting territory will be a saving grace in those moments where you have to choose between new fun and stepping back to help your partner overcome stuff that has come up for them.
There is a more comprehensive relationship readiness test in "The Essential Guide for Adventurous Couples" who want to explore threesomes, foursomes and moresomes, if you are serious about being prepared to take this step. It goes into detail about how-to get started, and answers many of the “what if” questions many new couples have about their relationship, changes and what to expect. Being informed is what takes away fears and concerns and arms you with the tools you need to make the transition as smooth as possible.
As long as you are both keen and open to it, can communicate and read each other then you will have the most important elements to cope with the transition from vanilla to swinger! Are you ready?