The web site Ashley Madison's tag line is: "Life is short. Have an affair.We're the premier website for discreet connections." Last week, millions of names and personal information were leaked online following a cyber hack into the website.The hackers released 35 million user records. 5 million of those names were women (although it appears many of the those names were made up.) Hackers published over 10 gigabytes of data from the site, including names, physical and sexual preferences, private messages and photos. .
35 million is a lot of people looking to have an affair. Not just a hookup, but an affair. Which got me thinking. What are so many people really looking for, and what are they so lacking in their current marital relationships? I read a quote from one outed user who said, "You don't need to pay $300 on line trying to have sex. There are quicker ways." So, what is the actual allure?
The incredibly successful advertising may offer a clue. "Life is short..." The idiom, "Life is short and time is swift" means (Farflex online dictionary) you should enjoy life as much as possible because it doesn't last very long. So, go for it. Do what you want to do. Eat that chocolate cake. The ad shows a pretty, young woman with well manicured nails, bare neck and shoulders, finger to her lips in a hush gesture wearing a wedding ring. This is not the typical user, so this image must be the archetype of what is sought.
On the site, you can specify the type of relationship you are looking for. Examples ranged from: "Whatever excites me" to "cyber affair." Prominent Twitter advertising hashtags were: #cheat #cheaters #cheating #monogamy #married #mom #children #adultery #infidelity #sex #porn. The marketing approach seems to consistently hit on the idea of cheating, giving yourself something that you are being denied and are missing out on that you deserve.
The Chief Executive of Avid Life Media suggests adultery is correlated with professional success. (Washington D.C. has topped the list of most users for the last three years.) That those who have reached professional success have done so by taking personal risks and so are more willing to do so in their personal lives. Also, that professional success grants opportunity to have an affair. This stance implies that the only two things stopping the rest of the nation from having an affair is aversion to risk and lack of opportunity. What does that say about the state of marriage?
Some advice I read on what to do if your name is found on "the list" was to fess up and explain why you had participated. Was it just a joke? Or maybe you were single at the time. I'd suggest one dig a little deeper. What is it you are really looking for? What is it that you have been denying yourself for so long? What parts of yourself and your desires having you been sacrificing in the name of your marriage? What is lacking and what do you need to feel fulfilled? And what can you do to go about getting it in an honest, upfront and respectful way?