Monday, January 23, 2012

Newt Cheated and That's Not Open Marriage

One of the frontrunners to become the Republican nominee for US President is Newt Gingrich, who has twice left a wife for a mistress who subsequently became his wife. In some countries, a politician having a mistress isn’t a big deal; it is even expected. Not so in the US. The US has elected a divorced President before, but this is different because of how his marriages started and ended. Wife #2 claimed in a recent television interview that Newt asked for an open marriage after he’d already taken on a mistress.

This has prompted much discussion about nonmonogamy, and, unfortunately, some poor use of terminology.

Swapping, in the simplest form, involves two couples switching partners, whether they are all together in the same location or not.

Swinging involves people in a steady relationship having sex with people in other steady relationships, for example at a party with many couples.

An open marriage is one in which the spouses have mutually agreed that monogamy is not expected; any spouse may be with other lovers.

Polyamory involves dating, having sex with, or living with more than one person (not necessarily together), under agreement by all.

What Gingrich did to his second wife was cheating, not swinging. She was not agreeable to having an open or polyamorous relationship, nor was Gingrich asking her to swing or swap. Cheating is engaging in sex, dating, or romance with someone in a way that violates a prior, existing commitment to, or condition with, another.

Polyamory in the News rounds up some recent articles dealing inspired by Gingrich here and here.
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