Why Ashley Madison Is A Symptom, Not The Problem
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While 60% of married men and 55% of married women have admitted to being unfaithful (According to studies published in The Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy), the Ashley Madison hack revealed 27 million male-identified profiles and 4.4 million female identified profiles.
For those just joining the discussion, AshleyMadison.com is a website specifically designed for married men and women to find affairs.
Pretty clear gender separation going on there, though.
The entire point of my website is to encourage building foundations for healthy relationships as well as to help people (primarily men) be better partners to their significant others.
Statistics like this are discouraging. They are not only discouraging because of the 30 million+ people who were paying to find affairs, they are discouraging because of the millions of more who are likely out there, as well.
This is not an Ashley Madison caused problem. Ashley Madison is simply the funnel that these people used to channel their dissatisfaction in their marriages and in their lives. There has been infidelity in marriages likely since marriages were invented – long before anyone even coined the phrase ‘social media’ or ‘the internet.’
Therefore, websites like Ashley Madison are not the root of infidelity, and therefore are not the problem – though, they are a symptom of the problem.
The fact that websites like this exist in the first place are a clear sign that people are deeply dissatisfied and are willing to pay money to find a solution. The further problem is, they are doing nothing more than putting a band-aid over the issue, not actually solving anything.
People are unhappy, clearly. They are unhappy in their relationships, unhappy in their marriages, and generally unhappy in their lives. They are unhappy with their work because it is not fulfilling. They are unhappy with their significant others because people don’t communicate nor do they build foundations for relationships. People stress about things that shouldn’t be stressed about, and conversely they minimize things that should actually be addressed.
The problem is not Ashley Madison. The problem is not even the societal construct of marriage. Yes, it’s true that the human animal is not, by nature, monogamous. We are not biologically programmed to mate with one partner for life, it is not an evolutionary benefit to do so. Billions of years of evolution have programmed us to find and mate with as many partners as possible in order to reproduce – but we have also evolved past being controlled by our primal urges – have we not?
We have evolved to the point as a species where we are able to make choices and decisions that shape our actions. When we choose marriage, we consciously choose to love and remain with one person for the rest of our lives. That’s just it – you are making a choice. A commitment. Marriage is not a requirement, it is something that a mature adult chooses for themselves to reflect the way they want to live their life.
Men and women who cheat are betraying the person they love as well as their own word. This is why we doubt the entire character of those who cheat on their spouses – not because they went out and had sex with someone else, but because they broke their word. They betrayed our trust. They tampered with their own reputation and showed the world that they cannot be trusted to do what they said they were going to do.
This is the problem. Websites are not the problem, because a website is useless without people who want to use it. A website cannot make a man or woman cheat, a man or woman is on the website because they already want to cheat in the first place.
One thing is for certain: We will not solve this problem by pointing fingers at the people who provide the outlet for infidelity. We will only solve the problem by uncovering the causes for infidelity that are already present, and working on ways to live happier, healthier lives – which will result in happier, healthier relationships.
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“…but we have also evolved past being controlled by our primal urges – have we not?”
“We have evolved to the point as a species where we are able to make choices and decisions that shape our actions. ”
Again James, if you did a little research to fact-check your assumptions, you would learn that your opinions don’t hold scientific merit.
However, congratulations on finally realizing that humans aren’t monogamous.
Don’t worry, if you put down the keyboard for several years and do a lot of studying instead of pontificating, you’ll learn you know one-millionth of what you think you know.
Hello James. 🙂 Please don’t listen to this Fred character. I totally agree with you and your entire way of thinking on this subject. I feel lile the people who got their data dumped, all deserved it. They had it coming and were found out in the most horrible way possible. The cause of the problem is the people and the result of this terrible problem in our society are websites exactly like Ashley Madison. We have to figure out a way to control primal urges and be faithful to the one you marry or are in a relationship with. The man or woman each of us truly loves more than anything.
I’ll second Natalie on this one 🙂
Fred, I’m so very sorry for you that you have no control over yourself. And while biologically we are not monogamous, he is correct that most adults should be capable of self control. Personally, I have been in a polyamorus relationship that was wonderful. We all accepted that it is possible to care for more than one person at a time. But those ( and many others) were the rules we set. The whole point that I got out of this article is that people are evolved enough to choose how to live their lives and capable of being honest if they so choose. These people chose to be liers instead of being honest and open to the person they choose to promise to be faithful to for the rest of their lives.
Fred, humans have learned to wait to use the restroom instead of popping a squat or whipping it out whenever the urge to pee strikes. We’ve learned to control ourselves when someone cuts us off on the freeway rather than running them off the road. We’ve learned to settle differences by communicating instead of punching. Why would overcoming our urges when it comes to sex be any different?
Another good article! I would include in the problems of people not investing their time, talent, and wealth on their spouses to improve the marriage, online dating sites providing a place for “separated” people to join and look for dates. In my book, separated people are not single. They are not legally able to date someone. That is adultery a sin against the marriage Union. It is a sexual sin that damns the spouse cheating as well as the innocent spouse.
The two most important jobs we have are parenting and marriage, and we receive no formal training for either. We, as a species, have evolved to the point to educate ourselves to be better parents and better spouses. Pick up a book and read. Form a support ministry for parents and for married couples. Join such a support group. Get counseling. Participate in retreats, like Cursillio in the Catholic Church for troubled marriages. And lastly, GROW UP people!
Thank you, James Michael Sama! Keep up this very necessary communication.
If people think they cannot be faithful, then why get married? The selfishness of having the cosy little home set-up with wifey/hubby and the children and someone to say there there after a bad day. I think these cheaters had it coming to them, and yes, they are the problem, not the sites, although the sites are a symptom of society at large and based only on making money. But too many people without solid character get married!
Excellent point, James. I can’t pretend I don’t find the hack amusing, but you are right that the website and it’s creators aren’t to blame. To get to the bottom of the problem, we have to look for the honest reasons why people cheat.
…there should NEVER be a website that serves, provides, encourages, such lifestyle…PERIOD!
Aren’t most women unhappy once the wedding is over? I think the reason why more men are on the Ashley Madison site is because most women who cheat just have to go to a bar and a strange man will easily pick them up and therefore don’t need to be on an overt cheater site.
Robert “that strange man” on Ashley Madison site!!!! also go to a bar for a quick and fast catch, most innocent women therefore happens to be in the wrong place looking for ” a real man” but end up with a bad catch of the day!!!
I guess that until people start taking responsibility for their unhappiness and start to look inwards and realise that trying to solve their emptiness or neediness is something that is their responsibility and make a decision not to distract themselves with sex and relationships outside their legitimate one, there are always going to be sites like Ashley Madison.
The sad thing is that people think that there is someone or something ‘out there’ that can make them feel better and heal them. The more likely truth is that the only one who can make us feel better permanently is our very own selves and the only one who can heal us so that we do not have to seek someone to give us a momentary distraction like Ashley Madison, is ourselves.
Until people start taking a serious look at their lives and learning how to become more fulfilled and happier, they will continue to look outside for distraction.
One really scary solution that people can take on-board, is to learn the art of intimacy. When a person is able to share the very deepest parts of themselves with another, and know that he or she is loved and accepted, then the capacity for intimacy is discovered to be far more satisfying than cheap or expensive and illicit sex.