'Silicon Valley' star Thomas Middleditch says swinging 'saved' his marriage: 'It's part of me'
Thomas Middleditch is opening up about his unconventional marriage. In a candid interview with Playboy, the Godzilla: King of the Monsters actor revealed he and his wife of four-years, Mollie, are swingers, noting "it’s now called being 'part of the lifestyle.' The term swinging is old."
The lifestyle came up when the interviewer mentioned how Middleditch and one of the Godzilla writers visited a swingers club with their partners during production. The 37-year-old actor, who is best known for his starring role on HBO's Silicon Valley, was asked how familiar he is with "the swinging scene."
"I don’t know how much I can say, because I don’t want my wife to be mad at me," he replied. "Only after I got married was I like, 'Mollie, I’m sorry, but we have to get nontraditional here.' To her credit, instead of saying 'F*** you, I’m out,' she was like, 'Let’s figure this out.'"
Middleditch continued, "To be honest, swinging has saved our marriage. 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. By the way, it’s now called being 'part of the lifestyle.' The term swinging is old."
The actor clarified he was not always interested in being part of the lifestyle.
"I self-deprecatingly call myself a pervert, but that’s not what it is. I just like it," he explained. "I’m sexual. I’d always thought I was a romantic and that when I fall in love, that stuff fades 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."
Middleditch said it's important to know one’s boundaries if you're part of the lifestyle.
"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 shared. "Mollie and I have created our own rules, and compared to most of the people we’ve met who do this kind of s***, our rules are strict. 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," he added. "This is actually the premise for a comedy series we’re writing together."
Middleditch said he identifies as "pretty vanilla, probably cis-hetero" although he's witnessed some interesting situations. "I’m of the mentality 'We’re only here once,'" he stated. "I don’t believe in reincarnation or an afterlife, any of that s***. If I look around, I actually see a lot of shit that makes me sad about the world. This is a positive way of connecting with people and experiencing things on a very selfish level."
While he's been to parties "that were very Eyes Wide Shut," he maintained he doesn't "need it."
"Myself and a lot of other people who start on this journey don’t know where they’re at in it," he explained. "They’re going, 'I think I just need a thing to happen. All I know is, this particular situation is hard.' I love my wife like I’ve never loved anyone before. With two people who feel that way about each other, how do you go down that road? It’s tough. Bring a therapist along for the ride."
While Middleditch joked he'd be "honored" to inadvertently be the face of the lifestyle, his wife might not be as eager to have their private life in the headlines.
"I don’t give a f***, but my wife is more private, so I have to juggle that," he said, adding, "The perception is that you open up that door and it’s Eyes Wide Shut, which isn’t necessarily the case. ... My mantra is, How can I explore this with a 1960s, peace-and-love, full-understanding, everyone’s-connected-and-feels-good kind of way? Not every corner is explored, but you have to be patient. I battle my own needs. Sometimes I’m a ravenous little monster, and how do I calm that down?"
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One added element that makes being part of the lifestyle more difficult in his marriage is fame.
"Personally, that’s one of the trickier elements of it all, because Mollie doesn’t get that and yet she has to witness it," Middleditch said. "I’m like, 'Come on, what about this chick who’s obviously really into me?' And Mollie will say, 'Yeah, she’s into you. Where do I fit in?' That question comes up. There’s a lot of negotiation, and adding fame sometimes makes it easier and sometimes complicates things."
He continued, "That’s the forever-changing landscape in our relationship, because it’s about everybody feeling safe. The internet is a possibility for meeting people, but Instagram f**** up marriages. If your partner brings this very forward person from Instagram to you, you’ll be like, 'Do you guys have a thing?' Whereas if your partner bumps into someone and they start a conversation, it all happens in front of you. It’s a game of inches on a minefield to try to predict who’s going to feel safe."
"My first concern is Mollie," he declared. "Anything that happens has to be run by the queen."
(Middleditch has been a spokesman for Verizon since 2017.)
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