Just thought I'd check in since this thread ended on such a sour note previously. Things are still good with me and the wife, we are still open and "learning the ropes" so to speak. I will admit I was a bit defensive in my responses previously but after re-reading thru this some of the comments were a bit judgmental.
After leaving a fundie religion we felt freed to re-examine ourselves and explore some things we were curious about, like swinging and polyamory. We have settled into a part of that spectrum toward the poly side of things (more long term friendship with benifits) than with the casual, recreational sex of pure swinging. It's provided insight, enjoyment, some stress, and most importantly a distraction from the pain of the growing process that is inevitable after growing up, then leaving, a cultish, high control religion.
I'd still be interested in knowing who if anyone has direct experience with opening up their relationship and how it worked out for them. While we are starting the process of meeting people in "the lifestyle" (silly euphenism) we have only met a few that have any experience at all with it, and none so far that started with or have a stable relationship like we do.
So far flirting/playing with close friends has been on the whole a good thing but it will be interesting to see how the dynamics are different with meeting and "dating" others in the same mindset. Singles and non-open couples are tough because it makes it tougher to communicate before hand as to what people are comfortable with, running the risk of alienating a good friend or couple. We have been lucky with that as our immediate group of friends are very easy going and fun. Not open or poly per say, but accepting and we have had some spontaneous fun with them and everyone is still okay. It helps when you know people well and have spent a lot of time with them, to build trust and intimacy before hand.
All in all at almost a year in and it's been a very interesting experiment and adventure. Frustating at times, true, but we have always been good at talking and compromise, so issues don't really fester or go unresolved. That may be one key aspect to making this work so far.
A little update on current status: Wife has a friend she see's regurlarly, sort of an uncommited friend with benifits thing, I did until recently but that couple is having and as we learned has had serious issues for a long time. We did have quite alot of fun at a recent party with our friends and wow, the hosts new gf is a sweetheart and gorgeous besides. The new girlfriend apparently had never been in that type of situation before, found it very intense. Apparently she'd never really had fun with a girl like that or been in mfm or fmf situation before.
All in all, yes, doing this has introduced new and different stresses, but it's also been rewarding and theraputic as well. Not for everyone and the trust necessary to do it is unlikely to be found in a new relationship.
So off to the "swingers" club this weekend for meet and greet. Not crazy about it and nervous. We aren't into casual sex with people we don't know but we feel like going to meet and setting up dates, and to make friends with a common outlook and get to know them first should work well for us.
Have a great on peeps, and if you are offended or outraged...well, I guess that is your perogative, it won't change me a wit.