08 Jun Separate Play – My Shades of Gray
So, I’ve been listening to a few lifestyle podcasts lately – shocker! But what’s notable here is that I have stumbled on a couple of episodes where the topic of discussion is separate play. My initial reaction was to think that these people are crazy. That’s a slippery slope you’re headed down! What are you thinking?
But then I stopped flipping out and realized that these people are my friends. We know them; we hang out with them; we have deep discussions with them. And I know these are smart, thoughtful people who are deeply in love and committed to their marriages. They are careful about the decisions they make and have great communication skills with one another.
But yet they are considering some form of separate play. I am referring to two podcasts in particular. “That Couple Next Door” has two episodes in particular where they talk about separate play experiences and how they navigated them before, during, and after. And the second podcast is “Swinging DownUnder” where C and D discuss the possibility of playing separate and how they each feel about it along with what parameters they would need to put in place to make it a positive experience. (I’ll link the episode numbers for you at the end of this post.)
I, on the other hand, need to breathe into a paper bag when I consider separate play for Mr Jones and me. It’s not something that has ever been on my radar and it honestly scares me to death. In my defense, I enjoy seeing Mr Jones with other women, and it turns me on knowing that Mr Jones is watching me with another man (or woman!)
After listening to these episodes multiple times and talking to our friends about their experiences and reflections on separate play, I have done a good bit of self-reflection regarding my strong opposition to separate play experiences for Mr Jones and me. Here’s some back story: Last winter we spent the weekend with three couples at a cabin for the weekend. These are couples that we have known for years and have played with several times. One night Mr Jones and I were ahead of everyone else and finished playing with each other before the other couples had a chance to really get started. Since Mr Jones was basking in the afterglow, he wanted to get in the hot tub and relax for a while. The other couples were ramping up to some sexy fun and I wanted to join in. So Mr Jones said that it was fine if I wanted to participate, but that he was done for the moment and needed a few minutes to recover before he would be ready to join in.
I didn’t handle that suggestion well at all. That was breaking a rule in my book, and I was frustrated that he put me in that position in front of our friends. I did end up staying inside, but I didn’t play. I just hung out on the fringe for a bit, and then ended up sitting on one of the husband’s laps and talking to him. It was fun because we were naked and some super hot sex was happening next to us, but this gentleman knows me well and respects my decision to not play when Mr Jones isn’t around.
The bottom line is that Mr Jones has the utmost respect for the guy that I hung out with inside that night. He is obviously OK with me playing separately in that kind of situation – where it’s with someone that we know well and completely trust. Mr Jones didn’t intentionally put me in a situation where I was at risk or uncomfortable (No hate mail please!). I just couldn’t do it. So why??? I don’t really know the answer to that question. But I have been pondering the strength of my feelings regarding separate play and here’s what I come up with so far.
Mr Jones and I married when we were in our early 20’s. So my whole adult life has been emotionally centered around him. I have come to depend on him as my partner and can meet all of my needs. I trust his judgement to make good decisions in all areas of our life together. So in the lifestyle, I trust his judgement when it comes to meeting and hooking up with other people. He can see red flags that I miss and he is usually spot on in his assessment of situations. Because he is so good at this, I have probably let my personal guard down a bit. Please note that this doesn’t mean that I don’t have a say in the decisions we make at all – those of you that listen to our podcast know that I have plenty of opinions and that we are truly equal partners! What I’m saying is that I have realized that I’ve allowed myself to become somewhat emotionally dependent on Mr Jones, and I think that is a good thing for the most part.
Where this emotional dependence can be an issue is with the possibility of separate play. I have no desire to do this lifestyle thing without him, even if it’s just for a few minutes. I need him by my side, for both pleasure and security. And by security I mean emotional security more than physical security. Luckily I’ve never felt at risk in that regard when we play with others.
So do I need to put on my big girl panties and push some boundaries here? Maybe for now just the fact that I’ve made this realization is enough progress. Self-discovery is always a good thing. But what am I going to do with this information? My name is Mrs Jones – I’ve been married for 33 years and have allowed myself to become dependent on my husband for my emotional security. There, I admitted it. Stay tuned as I continue to reflect and decide whether or not I think this is a good thing. Right now I say yes.