I’m all for more liberal relationship norms. I strongly think we should be striving to break away from the idea that monogamy is some supreme standard we ought all to aspire to. It shouldn’t even be the default mode. It’s working very nicely for me, thank you very much, but it’s high time we stopped having to call it an “alternative” lifestyle if people want to form different-sized groups with different, complex relationship dynamics of their own.
But cheating on your wife for six years, then, when she finds out, asking if you can’t carry on seeing both of them, is not what polygamy is. It’s not a way to bring about a freer and more loving world.
Here’s how you don’t do polyamory: First you get married to wife #1 (Jackie) and presumably have monogamous vows. Then, you cheat on her. Then she gets cancer and you divorce her while she lay stunned by the news of your affair. Six months later, you marry the woman with whom you cheated on your first wife with (Marianne), presumably having monogamous vows. You have a clandestine affair for six years, then decide you want a divorce so you can marry your mistress. After you tell your current wife you want a divorce, you tell her you will stay with her if she agrees on an open marriage. When she cannot agree, you divorce her and marry your third wife (Callista).
As my friend TheNerd said, “Comparing Gingrich to polyamory is like comparing wife-beating to BDSM.”
The fact that monogamy might not be for him isn’t why Newt’s not someone we should want as president. The fact that he’s repeatedly demonstrated himself to be a lying, cheating ass? That bodes less well.
The writer of a Fox News opinion column has a hilarious take on all this:
Three women have met Mr. Gingrich and been so moved by his emotional energy and intellect that they decided they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with him.
Yeah. And he’s been so unmoved by any sense of compassion for each of them in turn that he’s responded to their affections by treating them like dirt. This is not a sign of such “energy and intellect” that we should be holding him up as a paragon of leadership and conviction. This is a sign of being a self-centred douche.
Mind you, you know what’s really “despicable” about the number of wives Newt’s cheated on? Daring to bring it up while he’s trying to persuade people that he’s a legitimate candidate for the highest political office in the country.
Now that’s low.