Before the Ashley Madison scandal, there were 32 million spouses who slept easy, felt loved and believed they were one of the exemplary couples who had managed to build a lasting, cheat-proof marriage, unlike so many others. Many of these 32 million spouses probably had instances of doubt where they wondered if their marriages were indeed cheat-proof, but with no evidence, must have dismissed their thoughts with a tiny wave of the hand, and attributed them to insecurities creeping up on them.
There are 32 million names, credit card numbers, and log in details that have been leaked… 32 million people who would cheat on their spouses, and it begs the question… How bad are their spouses, that they would be willing to pay to cheat on them?
For those of you who are yet to read about it, Ashley Madison is the biggest cheating site in the world, with over 30 million members! The site prides itself in its ability to provide absolute privacy to cheaters, and the tag line is “Life is short; have an affair”. Well, well, well……
Even more interesting is the analysis behind the creation of the site. According to the creator of the site, “research has shown that human beings are not naturally bounded to have affection for only one person throughout their lifetime. The only living thing capable of doing that is the goose. The goose would not have sex with another gander if its partner dies.” This made him realize human beings want a natural escape from a society that has demoralized having multiple sexual partners, hence the creation of the biggest cheating site in the world. Furthermore, he identified the percentage of people who would not cheat, and referred to them as the odd group. Can things get any worse?
“I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife.”
Some people have started to own up; well, the secret is out now, so they’re not really owning up; they are confirming, and trying to play the apologetic card with the media. One of the shocking confirmations is that of Josh Duggar, a TV star whose reality show aimed to promote healthy marriage and family values. Two active accounts were linked to Duggar; one linked to his residential address, and the other linked to his address in Maryland when he was leading a protest against same sex marriage. Clearly, after being busy, he had the energy to ‘get busy’. In a statement, Duggar said “I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife.”
There are 32 million names, credit card numbers, and log in details that have been leaked… 32 million people who would cheat on their spouses, and it begs the question… How bad are their spouses, that they would be willing to pay to cheat on them? Can we say all 32 million spouses are terrible in bed, lack respect, are not sexy enough and can’t stop nagging? What are the chances??
Image copied from dailymail.co.uk; belongs to reuters
I recently listened to a TEDX talk by Esther Perel where she successfully romanticized cheating. Cheating she said is a normal function of being human, and partners ought not to tie their self-esteem to their partner’s fidelity. She went on to talk about not leaving after your partner cheats, but instead trying to understand why they fell for the temptation. What is it that you’re not doing or doing, that would make your partner want to seek solace somewhere else? By the time I finished listening to her talk, I was convinced the world was actually encouraging people to cheat! And now, there are 32 million names on a list registered to the biggest cheating site! I can imagine 32 million spouses right now – heartbroken, distraught and feeling totally betrayed. Perhaps they shouldn’t.
I have come to realize that cheating in most cases has nothing to do with the spouse; yes many cheaters find the tiniest faults to attribute their cheating to, but really, it has nothing to do with that. Before the big commitment, many people see their partners for exactly who they are – faults, flaws, the good, the bad and the ugly. They know about the ugly stretch marks, and the sexual limitations; they know role-playing freaks them out, and they know for sure that their spouse would never agree to kinky sex. But they still go ahead to marry them, and a couple of months later, sign up to sites like Ashley Madison just so they can get the best of both worlds. This indicates that cheating has nothing to do with the spouse; if it did, they would have chosen to marry other people, and saved themselves all that extra money they spend on sex.
The ability to cheat is ingrained in character deeper than we would like to think. Cheating is not just about falling for temptation, but really about how you conduct yourself in the face of temptation. Like a friend said to me this morning “there are so many broke people in the world who could resort to illegal schemes to make money, but they don’t. We can’t say they don’t need money, but they’ve taught themselves integrity”. Integrity is the key word here. Without integrity, anything and everything is possible. People would lie, cheat, destroy and move on like they’ve done nothing wrong. This is why I often tell my married friends they are not responsible for their spouse’s infidelity! That is one thing they have no control over! Some people (who we now know are referred to as the odd group) find it absolutely difficult to cheat. The idea irks them, and just an inappropriate pass at someone other than their spouse keeps them up at night until they confess. Their confessions usually go something like “Babe, I’m so sorry. I told Heather she looked good in a tight dress. I’m really sorry.” How cute is that?!
People cheat because their minds are immature. They are like the children at Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory who simply want a taste of anything and everything.
Much more important than integrity is maturity. Many people do not understand the importance of maturity as a determining factor of infidelity. The number of mature people in the world is at a steady decline, because entitlement is a new norm. There are many people who feel entitled to cheat, irrespective of how great their spouses are. Watch Crimes of Passion on Investigation Discovery, and you’d see what I mean. This again emphasizes the fact that cheating has absolutely nothing to do with the spouse. People cheat because their minds are immature. They are like the children at Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory who simply want a taste of anything and everything. Sadly, the world keeps promoting this lack of self-control by constantly romanticizing cheating and calling the mature minds who stick by their commitments, odd.
So to all the Ashley Madison spouses, and the millions of other people whose marriages are now on the brink of complete breakdown because of infidelity, understand it had nothing to do with you. It was never about how good or bad you were. Even if you were to modify yourself to suit their every need, they would still find a reason to cheat. It’s ingrained in their character, perhaps encoded in their DNA, just like the inability to cheat is. Just like a lion would never eat grass, even in the face of a famine, a person who is not inclined to cheat wouldn’t, irrespective of the temptation. It all boils down to integrity, maturity and self-control. XOXO