It had to happen, eventually. There’s a website where cheating spouses get to advertise their ‘availability’ to other cheaters. It’s called ‘Ashley Madison’ and claims to have over 840,000 members. This site, which opened in 2002, says it has 8.5 men to every 1.5 women, a number I’m not particularly proud of. You sign up, put together a profile under an assumed name, and wait for the results. So what’s so surprising? The fact that it even exists, or has so many members, or that you didn’t think of first? I think it’s more of a sad social commentary on our morality and how we view our lives.
The idea of a site for cheaters is nothing new. For years, there have been chat forums such as via Yahoo, offering rooms labeled, ‘Married But Flirting. ’ By now, I’m sure there are many others, as well. I admit to using the web for making that ‘connection, but in a more honest approach. I was a widower and tried the net, using ‘Match.com’ and ‘Yahoo Personals, ’ as a way of meeting other singles. But, on several occasions, I suspected that several of the so-called ‘singles’ were actually attached. After all, it’s so easy to post a profile under an alias, and many were doing so. It’s tempting to concoct false data or even a fake picture, to test the waters. I experienced several replies from women who had fudged their: (a) age, (b) weight, (c) photo (taken years ago), or (d) status. I don’t consider ‘separated’ the same as ‘single. ’
But that appears to be the new situation. It’s rather like being a little pregnant. Either you are or you aren’t. A separation implies the chance for a possible reconciliation. After all, you haven’t filed for divorce and are probably working some things out. But in some minds, they’re thinking, while we’re apart, why not toss that line into the old fishing pond and see what bites. Talk about nerve. The unsuspecting victim fails to establish the real motive behind his or her, posting and begins an online relationship. Now there’s a recipe for disaster.
Instead, why be deceptive and just use the AM site I first described? At least there, you know they’re cheating. It’s rather a form of lying honesty, if I can create a new phrase. There, everyone’s on the same lying level. You go there hoping to have the same low standards and values as everyone else. There, you can expect them to fudge all their vital statistics. You can do a lot with Photoshop to doctor your photo, as well. As a result, you’ll lose poundage, wrinkles, and the gray in your hair. It’s amazing.
But there’s a catch. What if you do connect, then what? You begin secret e-mail sessions at three in the morning, or from the office, as not to arouse suspicion. You might even make a few phone calls, hoping to get to a physical rendezvous. Remember, you both have mates and they have brains. They might start figuring things out, but what do you care? The fact you went to the web for relief means you don’t respect them anyway. If they do catch you, you’ve already committed to getting out, or should have. After all, you’re a cheater.
To those of you who would question my judgment, I say, really? If going to a website designed for cheaters, or chatting online in a flirting chat room, isn’t problematic, I question your motives. What happily married person would do these things? If it were years ago, before the Internet, I would expect the same behavior in a bar, where you carefully remove your wedding band or ring, before entering. It’s just been made easier and more anonymous on the Internet. As if cheating weren’t rampant enough already.
Some final statistics, to ponder. After a Google search I found the following results for these terms: cheating partners-2,240,000, married-1,810,000, adultery-4,080,000. The better news is that ‘good marriages’ produced 8,160,000 results. So there’s still hope for some of us old-fashioned types. And for the cheaters, you can see your ‘net’ results.
Jeffrey Hauser was a sales consultant for the Bell System Yellow Pages for nearly 25 years. He graduated from Pratt Institute with a BFA in Advertising and has a Master's Degree in teaching. He had his own advertising agency in Scottsdale, Arizona and ran a consulting and design firm, ABC Advertising. He has authored 6 books and a novel, “Pursuit of the Phoenix. " His latest book is, “Inside the Yellow Pages" which can be seen at his website, http://www.poweradbook.com . Currently, he is the Marketing Director for thenurseschoice.com, a Health Information and Doctor Referral site.