The Corner

Culture

HBO Star’s ‘Swinger’ Marriage Ends

Thomas Middleditch (second from left) and Silicon Valley costars

“Swinging has saved our marriage,” the Silicon Valley star Thomas Middleditch proclaimed last year in a notorious Playboy magazine interview. Middleditch, married to costume designer Mollie Gates, decided he wanted to have sex with lots of other people, and his wife went along with it. For a while.

In that strangely gleeful interview, Middleditch seemed not to grasp that this arrangement was not working for his wife. “We’re not off on our own; we’re together, a unit. 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.”

I’m gas, and she’s brakes. He liked having sex with lots of other people. She didn’t like this idea nearly so much. By April, Middleditch realized his open-marriage idea wasn’t a comedy series at all. “To be honest, it’s a thing I wish I could take back. It was poor execution. But I’ve learned to keep things a little more close to the chest,” he said on The Daily Beast‘s podcast in April, calling the experience “painful, to be honest.”

On May 28, Gates filed for divorce and is asking for spousal support. An “open marriage” is not a marriage, as many previous generations have learned, to their dismay.

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