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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