No, he did not "ask for an open relationship"

It seems we have yet another Republican Sexual Hypocrite in Newt Gingrich.  The interview with his ex-wife (video autoplays at link) has been all over the place, and while I am all for calling out RSHs on their hypocrisy, loudly and repeatedly (look, if you're going to run on a platform of "family values", you should probably have some yourself, y'know?), I am really not okay with the way it's being reported by most news outlets.

Newt Gingrich did not "ask for an open relationship."  He had an affair - he cheated on his wife, who had thought they were having a monogamous relationship - and then asked his wife to immediately get over it and accept that he was going to continue having said affair while remaining married to her.  That is not the same thing.  Not even a little bit.

See, I have had a partner ask me for an open relationship before.  The difference between a partner asking for an open relationship, and what Newt did, is that when my then-boyfriend approached me to talk about an open relationship, he did it BEFORE HE SLEPT WITH SOMEONE ELSE.  He came to me and said he had an interest in trying non-monogamy in a relationship (which we'd talked about a little bit before, so it came as no huge surprise) and he had met someone he was interested in pursuing this with, and he wanted to know how I would feel about that.  We talked, I agreed to give it a try, and when after a couple weeks I realize I just couldn't handle it with where we were at in our relationship, I told him, and he broke things off with her.  (We later gave it another shot, and the three of us ended up in a triad relationship, anyway.  All's well that ends well, I guess?)

That is how you do an open relationship.  Not "cheat for years, then admit to it and be like "but I don't want to have to choose between you so I'm just gonna keep fucking you both.  That's cool, right?""

I'm just sick of seeing headlines, articles, and comments, all moralizing and disapproving about Newt's "request for an open relationship" as if that's what's wrong with this situation.  Because it isn't.  Open relationships can be done ethically and with full knowing consent of all involved parties (although admittedly, if your relationship is non-normative in structure, you should probably not be spending a great deal of time and energy judging, condemning, and trying to make discrimination against those of different non-normative relationships even more prevalent and enforced in law), and in an ideal world, having requested an open relationship in a prior situation wouldn't be some sordid mark against you in the public eye.  But the media is presenting this in a way that conflates open relationships with cheating, which is disingenuous and flat-out incorrect.

Newt Gingrich cheated, then tried to weasel out of it.  He did not ask for an open relationship, in any meaningful sense of the phrase.  Period.


vickiea13 said...

You are right - I was wrong.  They are 2 very different things!  Thank you for correcting this, I hope others also realize the difference.

Jadelyn said...

Oh, this wasn't directed at you!  But I am glad you see the difference.  :-)

Sonneillon said...

[ a content note - this post is a very frustrated one.  The frustration is not directed at Jadelyn, but at the same targets of her original post]

When right-wingers go off on left-wingers about how we have no standards for relationships, and we're okay with man-man, woman-woman, man-dog, man-horse, man-5 women, adult-child relationships... because isn't that where marriage equality logically leads????.... they are missing THE singular most important aspect of any relationship to a progressive:CONSENT.Say it with me:  C-O-N-S-E-N-T.  Quality consent.  Knowledgeable consent.  Enthusiastic consent.  Consent, consent, CONSENT.  I will say it until my tongue bleeds but it seems like they are just incapable of understanding.  Consent an animal can't give.  Consent a child can't give.  Consent a woman who is culturally treated as property can't give.Consent two adults of the same sex/gender CAN give.  Consent multiple adults of any gender CAN give.  Consent that is free and willing, is not coerced, is not based on power imbalance or deceit or emotional manipulation.Consent Gingrich's ex-wife did not give.  See how that works?  It's really not that f*ing complicated but I have had no luck at all pounding this idea through the heads of the sort of people likely to vote for Newt Gingrich.  I am philosophically polyamorous.  I say 'philosophically' because I am currently in a monogamous relationship.  My husband is very aware of my poly beliefs and desires, but he does not share them.  When we got married, I was fully aware of his need for monogamy, so as a pair of adults, we made an agreement that our marriage would be a monogamous one because I can handle monogamy and he can't handle polyamory.  This is the agreement and the promise we made with each other.  If I had sex with someone else, I would be cheating on him, not seeking an 'open relationship', because we discussed this like grown-ups and agreed on a position to share.  I am free to try to renegotiate that position if I like, but that must also be an open, honest negotiation between adults (or people doing a passable imitation of adulthood, as I sometimes suspect we are), not a game based on deception and how much I can get away with.  Because I love and respect my partner, I have absolutely no problem with this.

In contrast, I don't think Newt has respected a single woman he's dated/slept with/married throughout his life.  Not really.  Judging by his actions and words, I think he sees us largely as commodities, and that is a poor basis for any kind of quality relationship.

Jadelyn said...

*standing ovation*  Bravissima.  I could not have said it better.

CaitieCat said...

Further, imagine a woman politician with his record: three ex-husbands, two of which she'd left while they were dreadfully ill?  She's be an "unreliable slut", and would get nowhere.  :/

Jadelyn said...

Even *without* the specifics of *how* she had left them, a woman with three ex-husbands would get nowhere.  She'd be painted a "maneater", a "gold-digger", a "user", etc.  

Double standard?  Nawwwww.

CaitieCat said...

E'en so, I can disagree in no notable respect. :/

CaitieCat said...

Just...ugh.  Ugh, sir, I say to you, UGH!

(that's not you, Sonneillon, of course, but my completely unsurprised discovery that the speaker of said statement was, naturally enough, a man)

Jadelyn said...

Wow.  That's right up there with "someone I'd like to have a beer with" for Totally Irrelevant Qualifications For Office, that is.  


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