Liar? Cheat? Sneak? These are not terms that most of us would care to use to describe who we are, or how we behave. Yet, as it turns out over 37 MILLION people signed up for Ashley Madison, “the online personals & dating destination for casual encounters, married dating, discreet encounters and extramarital affairs”. Signing up to actively seek out these encounters, is making the choice to lie, to cheat, and to be sneaky. These are not affairs or indiscretions that “just happen” in a moment of lapsed judgement, these are intentional, premeditated acts.This translates into 37 million relationships that run the risk of going up in flames. Shattered lives of everyone impacted, including children.
Ashley Madison also runs the site Established Men, “Connecting young beautiful women with interesting men”. Make no mistake; there is nothing interesting about “established men" who choose to cheat. Let’s be clear, the beautiful young women are not with the rich dudes because they’re interesting, these women show up because of a supposedly juicy wallet.
If these were all single adults I’d say have at it, fill your boots. Whatever consenting adults do is their own private business. But when they are in a relationship it is no longer their own private business.
Clicking the sign up button on an affair service is the precursor to contacting a family lawyer to discuss separation. Straight to the legal process, do not stop at the therapist’s office for restitution and reparation. Fast forward to dividing assets, property, and custody. Divorce is ravaging enough in the best circumstances. Divorces that are the result of an affair (or multiple affairs) add a whole new layer of anguish and rage. It may take months or stretch into years before the lawyers are called in. But rest assured, without a serious shift in perspective, the relationship will be doomed and implode. Not only because the indiscretion is discovered, but also because the person whose goal is to cheat has made an irrevocable decision to step out of their marriage. It is a decision that says:
My desires are more important than my partner.
I care about my thrills more than I care about my family.
I deserve this and I can rationalize it.
Rationales may sound something like this,
“We never have sex” or “my sex life isn’t spicy enough.”
My response: Then work on it.
“I’m lonely, my partner doesn’t acknowledge me.”
My response: Then work on it.
“All we do is bicker, we don’t really have much of relationship anymore.”
My response: Then work on it or have the gumption to end it.
Ring or no ring, vow or no vow. If you are in a committed relationship step up to the plate and put in the effort to make it work. If you want an open relationship, find a partner who wants the same thing. Or stay single and have liaisons with whomever you want whenever you want. Act with integrity. Behave in a way that carries no risk of public humiliation and shame. If you don’t want to be in your relationship then have the respect for your partner and for yourself to end it. Don’t sabotage it with the inevitable implosion of calculated cheating.