Afraid Husband Wants to Swing
Q: We moved into a new neighborhood about six months ago, and my husband has started hanging out with some of the guys who live nearby. They play poker one night a week. We've gone to a few parties too. I feel like a bit of an outsider because they've all known each other a while and sometimes they stop talking and look at me with weird smiles when I walk up. One time, I went out the garage at a party to find my husband. Right before I came around the corner, I overheard two guys talking to him, kind of whispering. I think they were telling him that he had to get me drunk the first time and tell me how much the other guy was attracted to me. Then once I bought into it, I'd have to let him try it with another one of the wives. I was so shocked, I turned and ran back inside. Then I started realizing how huggy everyone is at those parties and I started noticing lots of looks between lots of different people. I'm so weirded out. I don't want to bring it up to my husband because I'm so afraid that he wants us to become swingers. There's no way I could do that. I'm so mad that he's even thinking about it…if he is. This is so strange. I have no idea what to do! Help! — Justine, 46
Dr. Pamela: I'm sorry to hear how your neighbor's hush-hush party whispers blindsided you and left you in a pool of uncertainty. Now you want to know what to do. But the knowing isn't the problem. It's the doing. You know you have to talk to your husband about what you heard at the party, but you don't want to do it because you are afraid to hear what he might say. Your fear of confronting your husband is a key sign that your relationship is eroding your feelings of self-worth. Avoiding asking your husband for the truth reveals your insecurities about his feelings for you. The question you need to answer is, Why don't my feelings matter to me?
Continuing your avoidance will lead to more covering up and withdrawal. Addressing the issue can lead to open and honest communication. If your husband loves and respects your needs, then your feelings will be more important to him than jumping into bed with your neighbor's wife. Pick a time when the two of you aren't hurried or preoccupied. And remember, you don't want this conversation to be an interrogation or an opportunity to find fault with his friends. Look at it as a means of bringing the two of you closer together. Be loving and kind when you describe what happened at the party and how you feel about what you heard. Believe me, once you hear his response, you'll know exactly what to do next. Keep a loving intent and be strong!
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.