This is a very difficult situation which I have more or less brought upon myself. It all started so simply and yet it has turned my life upside down.
One night my wife and I were watching a programme which was dealing with the rise in couples swinging. I rather jokingly said to my wife we should try it, and to my surprise, she agreed. I thought she was only messing as I never thought she would do such a thing. She told me to leave it to her.
A couple of weeks later, my wife told me she had arranged for us to meet a couple in a hotel in the midlands. I really thought she was just messing so I went along with it. We met the couple, had dinner together and after some drinks, we went to their room.
I don't need to explain the rest except to say it happened.
This couple introduced us to a club they use with other like-minded couples. Unfortunately, drugs are used at these parties, which my wife took. She has now completely changed from the person she was. She has become friendly with one of the women from this group, who is a big influence on her.
I have told her I don't want to continue swinging, but she won't stop and has gone to several parties without me.
I am concerned she will get addicted to the use of the drugs. Regretfully, I have opened a can of worms that I am now struggling to close.
My wife is in her fifties and very young-looking for her age - most people guess she is in her thirties - and I am a bit younger. I am sorry this letter is so long but please can you help me?
I am in total disarray and so sorry for what I have done and just want to get my life back to normal like it was before.
Mary replies: Unfortunately, it seems that more often, it is the male rather than the female who becomes dissatisfied with the status quo in swinging couples and your story bears this out.
You shouldn't beat yourself up too much because you instigated all of this - you were not to know the eventual result.
Generally when couples attend these clubs, there is an understanding that if either of them is unhappy about any aspect of swinging, then they will both stop - this is usually agreed before they ever start. However, your wife has refused to stop.
There is also the use of drugs which means that she is actually breaking the law and even more worryingly, may become addicted.
Some swingers maintain that swinging makes their marriages more secure as they do not have affairs and they do not lie to one another.
That is all very well when both partners are happy to swing. Does your wife realise how unhappy you are? If things continue as they are, then it has the potential to destroy your marriage. Is she prepared to allow this to happen? These are questions that you need to put to her and you also need to be very adamant that you can no longer accept her continuing to attend the swinging parties.
Generally when couples disagree about things, they try to reach some sort of compromise. But in this case, I fail to see how any compromise can be reached. You tried the swinging scene and you didn't like it. She has gone to the parties without you, which makes you very unhappy, The only real solution is for her to stop going to them but that in turn will make her very unhappy.
So you will need to seek help in the form of counselling, if your wife will agree to attend. She might not, in which case you will either have to accept that she will continue to swing or seriously consider ending the marriage.
The one word that is missing in all of this is love - surely if a couple truly love one another, then seeing a partner upset by something should cause the other one to help in any way they can to make things better.
You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting www.dearmary.ie or email her at email@example.com or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.
Sunday Indo Living