Ashley’s Super Righteous Mad

If you read my blog regularly you’ll know I toiled over my thesis on infidelity for months. It has been really interesting seeing infidelity become more mainstream as columnists begin to openly question why so many people are unfaithful.

Ashley Madison provides zero surprise. What is interesting to me was the attack on the website itself, as this kind of attack is frequently centralized around women and what women do. The targets of this attack were mostly (if not entirely) heterosexual men. Thinking about it for a while, I realized that this men-attacking-other-men was not so dissimilar to other attacks on women. When we can’t have the sex we want or we feel betrayed by someone (in this case, a company) any action we take seems excusable. Society may nod their heads and say “we’re glad they took this website down, it was a horrible piece of filth” but the attackers may say “we are glad we took this website down, thousands of men were not given the sex they were promised.” So much cause and effect when desire is not satiated.

Though my thesis focused primarily on why women are unfaithful and what that infidelity means specifically to them, I was able to learn a lot about infidelity in general through the writing process. There is not a lot about infidelity out there, and most of it is what you would expect.

  1. People who are unfaithful are often unhappy or do not feel they can communicate their wants or needs.
  2. People who are unfaithful are often trying to make some want or need met they feel they cannot meet within their relationship.
  3. People who are unfaithful often feel guilt or shame associated to their infidelity but their desire to feel happiness seemingly trumps those negative feelings.

I believe infidelity often happens when couples ought to have broken up, but culture or society has encouraged them in some way to stay together. Though the couple could have prevented infidelity by communicating needs, opening their relationship, or splitting up entirely, these options may have seemed impossibly far away. We are often too caught up in our own relationships to see what they, or we, truly need.

Ashley Madison provided an imaginary oasis where one could use the computer to reach out to someone on the other side. There they might hope to find peace of mind, happiness, satisfaction. A reminder that the spark in themselves was still there. Instead of resorting to this, we should be helping couples find that satisfaction within their primary relationships – or helping couples explore other styles of non-monogamous relationships that allow them to feel full and happy.

Unfortunately there’s no website called “Self Empowerment 101: Are your needs being met, and are your partners too?”

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6 Comments

  1. There are so many ways to cheat, and so many levels of cheating. Jimmy Carter nailed it, with the piece about “having felt lust in his heart.” It all boils down to failure to get past the notion that one’s mate is somehow responsible for one’s own happiness, and failing that, one is “free” to look to others, for solace they, too, can’t really provide, beyond the momentary thrill that’s akin to the taste of a stolen watermelon. The solution is far more mundane: Get real with, and work on, one’s own inner harmony.

    1. Great response! I think there are a lot of ways to take lessons from non-monogamy and bring them into monogamy. What you said is the biggest example. Recognize you can’t get everything from your partner and find some really good friends (or whatever else you think might help you.)

  2. I don’t have a partner so I don’t worry about their needs. Are mine being met, in some area, “yes”, in other, “no”. But that is the nature of my life.

  3. Hi there ST I would be really interested to read your thesis For me, I am happy in my marriage and really desire to stay in it for so many reasons – so infidelity is not about unhappiness there But I really love experiencing women on many levels, and wish that I could do so. I enjoy talking to them, I enjoy physical intimacy – and do feel that in the very few cases where there was physical intimacy the relationship was so much better. But it is so incredibly difficult, given societies narrow views, and my wife’s feeling that if I have sex with another woman, she is totally and utterly devastated. How to get around that? I have talked openly about this for years, and it has just led to tension. Oh how I truly wish there was an alternative Polyamory – I have not come across it in my country (I am far from you, although I visit the USA fairly often) – but again I am sure my wife will find that terribly threatening. So there we are – what are we to do. The one thing I want more than anything else in the world is to experience another woman. The one thing that she wants more than anything else in the world is for me not to have a physical relationship with any other woman. May be you have some suggestions. Ashley Madison – the hoax. Just in case you never saw this: Almost None of the Women in the Ashley Madison Database Ever Used the Site [Updated]

    |   | |   | |   |   |   |   |   | | Almost None of the Women in the Ashley Madison Databas…When hacker group Impact Team released the Ashley Madison data, they asserted that “thousands” of the women’s profiles were fake. Later, this number… | | | | View on gizmodo.com | Preview by Yahoo | | | |   |

    Ashley Madison Was Cheating On You

    Annalee Newitz | Gizmodo | 26th August 2015

    Ashley Madison posed as a dating site which enabled married people to have affairs, but in practice it had 37 million paying male customers and almost no active female customers, according to analysis of the leaked database. “Out of 5.5 million female accounts, roughly zero percent had ever shown any kind of activity at all, after the day they were created”. The men sent messages and got automatically generated responses (2,450 words)

    1. Thanks for reading! I’m posting my thesis in posts. You can find the first one by clicking “Infidelity – Thesis” on the lefthand side of my website. I understand your interest in experiencing more and different. A lot of people experience that desire even when they are happy with their partners. There are a lot of great books about opening up relationships (you can find these in my references page.) Sometimes learning more about ethical non-monogamy and the many ways in which it can work helps people understand it and become more comfortable with it. There are all kinds of different open relationships or poly relationships. If your wife is disinterested in this, maybe you can open up a dialogue about trying new things together that make it feel exciting or different for you. Some couples like to try role-play, for instance. Good luck!

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