“Life is short. Have an affair.”
This is the motto of the Ashley Madison site; a site where married partners can supposedly meet other married people discreetly and have an affair.
Of course, as we have learned in the news, due to hacking as well as pure technology, there is less discreteness than some of the consumers of the site have hoped for. I have had more than one female client of mine in recent weeks let me know that they found their partner’s information on the site. But that is besides the point of this article. In this article, I want to express why Ashley Madison is so successful and yet another obstacle in my personal bold attack on the limiting idea that long term marriage and passionate sex do not go together. It is my privilege and my intense desire to spread the word that we can be trailblazers and realize that my first book, The Long HOT Marriage is NOT a fairy tale; rather it is a testament to the amazing creativity inherent in most all of us to have the kind of alive and stimulating long term relationship that we never saw our parents have.
We live longer than ever; we have a longer mid-life than ever. It is a midlife where we feel the need for passion and stimulation well into our later years. When relationships get stale (and typically our role models have taught us exactly how to make relationships become stale), there are many ways for people to get titillation the easy way- secretively using the Internet to meet other people who are new and more stimulating than our current partner. Ashley Madison, especially recently, has become the most visible vehicle for partners to do this. Let’s face it- we want to be aroused. With a click on the computer, not only can we see porn, but also we can meet others who are just as interested in being aroused as we are. As a matter of fact, we so much want to be titillated that many if not most people that use Ashley Madison, don’t ever meet anybody. It is just the idea of beginning the search process that can be so exciting for some, that they spend a lot of time doing just that. In my research for this article, I read that there are allegations and apparently proof that most of the females do not even exist; they apparently are fake names. (You can Google and read up on this). The actual act of searching and emailing can be very titillating.
The well-known story about the former Notre Dame football player, Manti Te’o, who now plays for the San Diego Chargers, illustrates the power of the Internet to pull people in even if there is not a real person. Manti developed an online relationship with this woman who he claims he fell in love with and it turns out that there was no such woman. It was a fake prank that went on for a long period of time.
Of course, there also are actual meetings taking place between people through Ashley Madison. As with all other types of infidelity, the long-term results of this are always poor. Cheaters get found out and marriages and families suffer greatly. Ashley Madison is in my way! If there were fewer exits, maybe intimate partners would be forced to actually become intimate. Avoidance is the biggest interpersonal human problem we have. If there were no exits; no way for people to easily get titillated in secrecy, maybe sexually and emotionally frustrated partners would start a real and challenging conversation with their partners. Maybe they would get some quality professional help to assist the couple to break out of stuck patterns and help launch the couple to new heights of aliveness and passion. I see couples shifting in this positive way all the time. Ashley Madison gives people an exit, a way out so that they do not have to do the harder, but ultimately more satisfying work of making their current relationship more exciting.
I urge you to get very intentional about developing a creative monogamous relationship with your spouse. Be bold and do not set artificial limits on your relationship that are based on your current limited thinking that you probably inherited from others. You don’t need Ashley Madison to do the work for you to get stimulated and to feel young again. Take charge of your own relationship and ask more of yourself and your partner! The capacity for loving, passionate intimacy is far greater than what we have been showed by our ancestors.
Be a trailblazer.
Shut off your computer and look at the person who you sleep with and begin communicating. I think I am going to do the same thing right now!
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Todd Creager is an experienced relationship therapist, specializing in marriage, sex and couples counseling. From increasing intimacy, to overcoming infidelity, Todd has helped countless couples overcome the issues that they face. Author of the Long Hot Marriage, and Love, Sex and Karaoke: 52 Ways to Ignite your Love Life, Todd spends much of his time helping long-term partners create passionate and thriving relationships. He provides unique and powerful insights that lead to breakthroughs which result in his clients getting closer to each other and getting the love they want.
Get a free copy of his 7 Keys to a Phenomenal Relationship and start turning up the heat in your relationship today.