The SW Experts | What the Ashley Madison Hacking Means for Divorce — and Marriage
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What the Ashley Madison Hacking Means for Divorce — and Marriage

Ashley Madison


When the Impact Team announced it had hacked the Ashley Madison site back in July, the 40 million plus subscribers were likely shaking in their boots. The hackers threatened to dump the personal and financial data and publish customers’ records unless the company took down the AM and Established Men sites.

Well, that day has come.

The internet is chock full of articles with advice on how to get over a spouse’s affair yet ask a roomful of women what they’d do if they caught a husband in midst of even a steamy sext and the clothes are flying out the window.

So, what if a woman (or man) finds out the one who shares the bed and the remote subscribed to a site with the sole intent of extramarital sex?

(Per a previous “fake profile” suit, 90 to 95% of users are men – the majority of the women’s profiles were planted to attract said men.)

I’d suspect finding out your husband was trolling websites for a new bed partner or partners is a whole lot different from finding out he had a drunken encounter with a colleague on a business trip but maybe not.
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According to the article 20 Important Emotional Affair Statistics featured on the HRF.Org site, 88% of married women surveyed say they’d be much more devastated by an emotional affair than a roll or two between the sheets. About 35% of women and 45% of men surveyed said they’d had an emotional affair and 60% will be touched by some sort of infidelity during the span of their marriages. (I guess that would account for the 40 so million on Ashley Madison!) Oh – and 60% of those who had affairs met at the office.

Advice for the scorned spouse that I’ve found on a slew of sites mostly focus on a whole lot of apologies, rebuilding trust, and figuring out what went wrong. I’ve interviewed men and women who have had extramarital affairs and most have cited a need to be valued or desired. (I would guess there’s also a fair number who are addicted to the thrill of something they’re not supposed to do kinda like sneaking some ice cream when mom says to wait till after dinner.)

Perhaps some people just form a connection between someone other than the betrothed, whether at work or at the local Starbucks. Either way, engaging with someone other than your spouse is a choice.

When a spouse or even significant other makes a conscious effort to find an on the side dance partner, I’d suppose the forgiveness part would be a lot more challenging. Perhaps the key to self-preservation has to do with trying to maintain your self-esteem and changing the locks!

But maybe things like infidelity don’t happen in a vacuum. Couples grow apart. People are exhausted from work responsibilities. Add in a baby or a few kids and it’s even more challenging. Relationships take nurturing and communication. Nonetheless, if a spouse is looking to supplement the main squeeze with something on the side, you need to have a frank discussion.

I’ve discovered a few faith-based sites like The Marriage Foundation place the blame on the spouse at home, advising wives to “Stop being no-user friendly. Become more loving. And the biggie, “Take care of his sexual needs!” Because we know if he were happy at home, he wouldn’t be looking, for God’s sake!

No matter if you decide to hang in there and work things out with a weekend away and a spree at Victoria’s Secret or to allocate that money towards the divorce lawyer, nobody deserves to be blamed for someone else’s choices.

Can a marriage survive Ashley Madison or an uncovered sexting session?

That’s up to the people involved. Infidelity doesn’t have to be the death knell of a relationship unless it’s a deal breaker. If you’re willing to give it a go, a healthy relationship would need a rebuilding of trust and communication. Turning a blind eye isn’t necessarily healthy.

What do YOU think?