When Marianne Gingrich said in an interview that Newt, her hubby of 19 years, had asked her for an open marriage, my first thought was, "Poor thing. How awful that she had to deal with that."
But, then I remembered: It had once happened to me. Back around the same time that Newt suggested an open marriage to Marianne, my ex made a similar request. Only he wanted the other woman to move in with us, which, if you ask me, is taking the idea of open marriage to a whole new level. It seems to me, that what these men really want is to dally in polygamy. Move over, Warren Jeffs. Looks like you've got company.
Of course, polygamy is illegal in this country. Still, you can't blame a guy for trying. I mean a man has needs, doesn't he? Look at Newt. A prime example of a man who clearly believes in the sanctity of marriage, so much so that he's tied the knot three times. That's how much he believes in it. At least, he says he does and he has repented for his sins. Which is supposed to make it better, right? All's well that ends well, and all that.
My ex must have taken a page from Newt. Perhaps they even conferred and decided that their wives would be so desperate to hold on to their men that they'd wholeheartedly agree. For, my ex's ultimatum was much like Newt's.
"Either my girlfriend moves in or I walk out."
Hmm.... Here was my husband of 12 years, wanting all the candy in the candy store for himself, and, if truth be told, I actually did consider his proposal. But then, about five seconds later, my sense of self-worth got in the way. Frankly, disbelief did, too. Besides, our house was too small and, considering the limited amount of closet space we had, it would be hard to make room for another woman. After all, where would I store all my purses and shoes if I had to make room for hers?
So, I politely declined. Which means, I shut myself in the bedroom and hit my head against the wall a few times. What I should have done was pick up the phone and called Marianne. We could have commiserated. Maybe, we could have even come up with a strategy for dealing with these spouses of ours.
These men, who ask this of their wives, are rather narcissistic, if you ask me. Not to mention, self-absorbed, and totally lacking of empathy. Take my ex. I'm sure he believed there was a strong chance I'd say yes, or he wouldn't have put the offer on the table. Guys like him -- and Newt, for that matter -- are so full of themselves, they're convinced they'll get their way. They want it all and then get ticked off when they don't get it.
I wonder if Newt got as peeved as my ex, when Marianne didn't oblige him. In fact, my ex was so annoyed with my decision, he tried to give me the silent treatment for a while. As if that would be enough for me to acquiesce. He became all pouty and skulked around the house, which I believe he thought made him so irresistible, I would change my mind. Little did he know that I still had my wits about me.
Well, I never did change my mind and the rest -- including the divorce -- is one for the books. Though, there still remains the matter of what to do with guys, like Newt and my ex, who have such colossal egos, they think they can have their cake and eat it, too? Well, as Marie Antoinette once said, "Let them eat cake!"