Sound Advice From Ashley Madison

If you have been following the news lately you probably heard about the hacking and publishing of individuals who subscribe to a website called Ashley Madison. It serves married people interested in having an affair with other married people. The site lists approximately 37 million subscribers. The Ashley Madison motto is: “Life is short. Have an affair.” Sadly, life is indeed short for some who were exposed. Recently a few committed suicide. Marriages and families are now torn apart by the Ashley Madison revelation. If you have been wounded by the exposure of an affair, my heart goes out to you. Ashley Madison’s advice: life is short, have an affair sounds rather hollow now doesn’t it? The reality is, life is hard after an affair. May I offer some sound advice from the Ashley Madison incident?
The adventure is not worth the risk
Ashley Madison markets the idea of an affair as an exciting sexual adventure. It elicits a sense of fantasy. The illusion is that the adventure will be satisfying. Sexual attraction does have the element of adventure. It doesn’t take an Ashley Madison website to generate it. For some it occurs with a co-worker, a neighbor, a Facebook friend, a Starbucks Barista, you name it. Sexual attraction activates powerful sensual receptors in the brain. The rational part of the brain is in danger of being hijacked by the sexual impulses. Herein lays the risk. A lesson from Ashley Madison is that no matter what you do, a risk of exposure always exits. The damage following exposure is heavy. People you care about are hurt. Reputation is ruined. Future is bleak. Life is hard. Knowing this, ask yourself this question? Is the adventure worth the risk? [Tweet “Ashley Madison’s advice: life is short, have an affair sounds rather hollow now doesn’t it? The reality is, life is hard after an affair. #AshleyMadison”]
Hiding an affair is not as easy as it seems
Ask the millions of subscribers to Ashley Madison! Nor is it easy for anyone else. Some people get careless in affairs. Phone records provide evidence, as do text messages, emails, or other forms of social media. Subtle changes in behavior, allocation of time, or other nuances can signal something to a spouse or partner. There is also the risk of the affair partner getting caught by being careless. Before long, the thrill of adventure shifts to a tone of anxiety about potential exposure and the ramifications that follow. Managing an affair under the threatening cloud of exposure is not easy. The affair is no longer an escape from reality. It is a reality with a new set of problems.
If you are hiding it you probably shouldn’t be doing it
If you are hiding something from your spouse, make it a surprise gift. Something she/he will love you for. Hiding an affair is something she/he will hate you for. I recommend you avoid getting into one. Hiding wrongful behavior is not good for you either. You will likely be saddled by feelings of guilt, shame, and fear. It will corrupt your character. This can have negative implications in all aspects of your life and relationships.
Confront the problems in your marriage without going outside it
In my work with couples, I have found that several factors contribute to the risk of an affair. I won’t go into them here. Suffice it to say there are two dynamics that elevate risk.
  1. Risk of an affair is high in relationships where couples do not confront their problems.
  2. Risk of an affair is high in relationships where a partner ignores a problem addressed by his/her spouse.
If you are a couple that avoids problems, I recommend you start confronting them together. See a couples counselor. Get some help right away. You do not want to see your spouse drift into the arms of another person. My heart goes out to those of you who have been trying to get your spouse to work on the marriage but to no avail. The prolonged waiting is tiring and can leave you feeling lonely and trapped. Here is where many are vulnerable to an affair. I recommend you see a professional counselor for support and help in deciding what to do next.
Invest heavily in your relationship
One of the biggest mistakes couples make today is little to no investment in their relationship. Marriages spend way too much time on the back burner. Kids and work dominate front burner activity. Before long, the neglect of the marriage causes couples to emotionally and physically drift from each other. Marital problems stockpile and couples are stuck. This can easily be avoided if couples prioritize their relationship. Give it weekly front burner time. Do not put it off. Get it on your calendar now. Have a regular date night. Develop your sex life. If you are stuck, work with a couples coach or counselor. I witness firsthand the positive effect this process has on couples.

Now it’s your turn

What can you do to protect yourself and marriage from an affair? If you need help with your relationship contact me here.