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.


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