Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middleditch has an open marriage with his wife, Mollie Gates. More specifically, the couple attends swingers’ parties together.
Middleditch, 37, opened about the dynamics of their relationship in a recent interview with Playboy. The actor notes that after marrying Gates in 2015, he knew they would need to have some form of nontraditional relationship in order for their marriage to succeed longterm.
“To her credit, instead of saying ‘Fuck you, I’m out,’ she was like, ‘Let’s figure this out.’” Middleditch tells Playboy.
That’s not to say the transition from monogamy to an ethically non-monogamous relationship was simple. “We have different speeds, and we argue over it constantly, but it’s better than feeling unheard and alone and that you have to scurry in the shadows,” he says. Nevertheless, he says, he firmly believes that swinging has saved his marriage.
While the Emmy-nominated actor self-deprecatingly calls himself a pervert, he clarifies that’s not truly who he is.
“I just like it. I’m sexual,” he says. Initially, he thought that when he fell in love, his sexual desire for others would fade away. “It does for some years—enough to be like, ‘I should get married, and I’ll be different.’ But it’s part of me. If that’s part of your being and it feels important to you, find a way to explore it, because repression sucks.”
Still, he has set ground rules with his wife regarding what he (and she) are allowed to do sexually with other couples.
“For anything sexual—whether in terms of the sex act or identity or kink—you want to know where the walls of the box are,” he says. “Mollie and I have created our own rules, and compared to most of the people we’ve met who do this kind of shit, our rules are strict. We’re not off on our own; we’re together, a unit.”
Even with having strict rules, Middleditch says, “It’s a perpetual state of management and communication, to the point where it’s like, ‘All right, we’ve got to stop. Chill.’ I’m gas, and she’s brakes. This is actually the premise for a comedy series we’re writing together. “
While Middleditch and his wife plan to continue attending sex parties, the actor notes the term “swinging” is outdated.
“By the way, it’s now called being ‘part of the lifestyle.’ The term swinging is old.”
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