In the swinging lifestyle, you are likely to kiss a few toads before you find the right match. And even when you do, sometimes things just don’t work out in the long term.
Your expectations and needs change, misunderstandings and rule-breaking happens, or life gets in the way of swinging.
There are plenty of reasons break-ups happen in swinging.
Finding the right way to say “it’s over” is not any easier when you are doing it as a couple. Break-ups still carry the emotional weight of guilt, self-doubt, sadness or frustration.
The myth says that it gets easier with time. But is there a way to make them a bit easier at the beginning of your swinging journey?
Think of this article as your break-up survival guide, that will guide you through the process of thinking about whether to break-up and all the way through communicating it to your soon to be former swinging friends. Some swingers won’t even need this advice since they prefer not to build lasting relationships. They only hook-up with other couples for a single night and have no expectations or desire for additional meetings. This advice is more intended for swinging couples that have developed a connection with another couple over several meetings.
First, Know Your Reasons
Dig into your why’s for breaking-up.
It is important that you, as a couple, have a clear and shared understanding of what are the reasons for ending a relationship. Sit together and compose a list of reasons for which you are breaking up.
Sometimes, there will be a whole list of reasons, and sometimes, there will be only one. The length of the list does not show its value.
The reason for a break-up is whatever you feel is relevant and legitimate.
For example, you may find that the couple is behaving disrespectfully and is straightforwardly breaking the rules you have set together.
Or, the reason may be the lack of chemistry and passion. You may not be that into each other anymore.
Logistics can present a problem too. You may feel like the time and energy you put into organizing dates and attending events together isn’t worth it anymore.
At different stages of your relationship, you may decide to pause swinging.
Your needs, preferences and expectations can change.
Different health conditions or issues may require your attention.
You may decide not to communicate your “real” reasons for breaking up, but it’s still important that you and your partner are on the same page on the reasons and see them as important and legitimate enough to lead to a break up.
Analyze the Complexity of Your Break-up
Once you know your reasons, you can choose which ones (if any) you’d like to communicate.
Still, it’s important to know that makes breakups so challenging are not the bad reasons, but the intensity of emotions that surround it.
Before you go forward with communicating them, it’s important to reflect on the following questions.
How do you feel about the couple you are breaking up with?
Your own emotions play an important role in how and what you choose to communicate to the couple. Take the time to reflect on what makes this situation difficult, sad, challenging, uncomfortable or frustrating for you.
What do you think their reaction will be?
Try to predict the couple’s reaction. What questions do you think they are likely to ask? What comments are they likely to make? What emotions are they likely to show? Knowing who you are communicating to plays a role in how you frame the message they need to hear.
What comes after the breakup?
Are you going to continue to see each other occasionally, or are you ending it for good? Are there any rules you need to negotiate with a couple after the break-up? Do you want to pause or end swinging? These are the important questions to address. Your break-up message needs to include the “guidelines” for the future so that the couple knows what to expect from you and what you expect from them.
What is the core of what you want to communicate to them?
If you could choose two sentences you want to make sure they hear you loud and clear, what would those be?
Even when you are sure that your reasons are good enough, you still may be drawn into feeling guilty or unfair, into fear of the couple’s frustration, into wanting to be the “good guys” and end up communicating a message that is ambiguous, wrong or to your own damage. You need to be on the same page about the core message you want to communicate, so you can keep each other focused on it during the breakup talk.
Prepare the Setting
The time and place of a conversation matter.
Don’t go into the break-up talk if you are not feeling well. Plan a conversation when you are rested, calm and able to put some thought into your actions. When you are not in a good spot, suspend the conversation. Give yourselves some time to regroup.
Choose the place that is intimate or private enough to allow the conversation, but also – that you are free to leave when you are done without any extra awkwardness.
Think about the time you want to invest into this break-up talk. Don’t build the expectation that you have a whole evening available if you plan to communicate the message quickly and leave.
You may want to text a couple a few days ahead and let them know that you would like to talk with them. The tone of the message can give them the heads up on what you are about to communicate – which can give the couple some time to prepare and also suggest the time and the place of the meeting.
If You Can, Choose Conversation
This article started to prepare you for a conversation. You may have wondered why, when break-ups can be “delivered” in an email or a text.
While you can still choose to send or text your break-up message, it’s important to put yourself in other couple’s shoes and think – how would you react if you received one?
Meeting the couple in-person and sharing your decision face-to-face is a way of showing respect and appreciation of the time and intimacy you have shared.
Now, if you are really against meeting up in person to break-up, discuss the reasons that make you feel that way.
There are a few reasons for which couples choose to break-up over a text or an email.
- You have not really developed a relationship with a couple. (It’s only been a few dates.)
- The couple’s behavior has been intrusive or destructive. (Being around them makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable.)
- Your own challenges require immediate attention and there is insufficient time or lack of energy and attention to plan the in-person break up.
If you choose to text or email a couple, work on your messaging.
- Be clear and concise. Focus on the most important.
- Acknowledge them and/or the moments you have shared.
Here are a few examples of break-up texts that you can edit to fit your own reasons and tone:
“Hi! Though we had a great time getting to know you, we feel that we’re not the right match after all. We still don’t have a clear idea of what we need or want from the lifestyle and need to take some time to figure it out. Still, it was nice meeting you!”
“Hi! Our last date was not as we hoped it to be. The rules we set are really important to us and we expect people we date to be respectful of them. This is why we have decided to stop seeing you. We wish you all the best.”
“Hi! We had such a nice time with you. Unfortunately, we’re not in a place to date right now. Though we wanted to meet in-person and talk to you about it, we barely had any free time. We hope that we’ll be able to catch up sometime soon, but until then – we hope you don’t hold it against us.”
Try Our Conversation Tips
There are a few useful tips to help you push through a conversation with minimal discomfort. They will help you handle the conversation respectfully, while staying focused on the decision you have made.
Make a Brief Introduction.
Don’t go into a long story of explaining the reasons behind your decision before you communicate it. Instead, make a short, simple introduction.
Example: “Thank you for coming today. We needed to talk to you about a decision we put a lot of time and thought into.”
Keep It Short.
We have asked you to focus on the core message you want to convey. Remember what it was. If needed, write it down. Do not pollute it with extra words, excuses, descriptions… Keep your words focused on the decision they need to hear.
Example: “We have decided to stop seeing you. There are other priorities in our lives that require our attention. / Our expectations from swinging have changed over the past two months.
Set the Expectations for the Future.
It’s important for the other couple to know what to expect from you moving forward. As much as you can, try to be straightforwardly clear.
Example: “We will distance ourselves in the next few weeks/months. It’s better that we have no contact.”
Show Empathy, But Don’t Offer Help.
Though you may care about the couple very much, it’s important not to get drawn into helping them recover from the break-up. You may feel tempted to offer help out of guilt for causing pain or discomfort. Still, their healing is not your responsibility. The best you can do is to back off and give them time and space to find their own ways to move on. You be empathic and show understanding without offering support.
Keep Away from Argument.
Sometimes, the couple will show anger or frustration at your decision. They may start discussing whose behavior caused the irreparable damage or discuss your lack of tolerance or patience to work through the issues you encountered in the lifestyle together. It’s important not to get caught up in these by defending yourself or assigning blame. Take their reaction as a reflection of their feelings, not the reflection of who you are.
Do Not Give Any False Hope.
“It’s not like we don’t want to be with you anymore, we just need some time to figure things out.” Or “Maybe we could get together again sometime.” If there’s no hope, don’t leave any room for it. Though it may seem like it’s mending things temporarily and makes you look less like the bad guys, it can cause problems in the long run.
It may be useful to try out a few of these tips through role-playing beforehand.
Sit with your partner and act as if you are in the same room with a couple you are breaking up with. Say the words you’d like to use in a conversation out loud. Imagine what they would reply and say your answer out loud.
This is called the empty chair technique. It is often used in therapy to prepare individuals for handling difficult conversations.
Break-ups can sometimes require a villain role
Rejecting another swinger isn’t easy and you might have to assume the place of this villain role. That doesn’t mean that you truly are one.
You have done your analysis and you are making the right decision. Don’t get drawn into self-blame. It is okay not to want to date someone anymore, whatever your reasons may be.
Also, give yourself the time to heal.
People often forget that it takes courage to say goodbye to people with whom you used to share something personal.
The break-up is never a pleasant experience, but it is always a better choice than dating someone that is no longer right for you.