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You may not have needed me to tell you that but there are 39 million people in the world and I’m sure millions more, who needed to be told that this week.

I’m always thinking about how current events are affecting marriages, so of course I have been thinking about this whole Ashley Madison hack recently. Call me naive but I didn’t really know there were website services for cheating until a few years ago, when I saw a billboard advertisement for one. Immediately I felt sick from the message that was not only encouraging, but also normalizing the idea of an affair, all wrapped up in this notion that it can be some sort of sexy little secret. “Life is short. Have an affair.” This slogan is so simple— as if the choice to have an affair is an easy one, and that the consequences aren’t serious. It breaks my heart that people use this service in the first place, but breaks my heart even further to think about the enormity of family damages that are about to happen due to this leak of AM users.

Exhibit A: Josh Duggar. It came out a few days ago that he in fact was a user of the website and did cheat on his wife. Being a TV personality, his actions are being scrutinized on a much more severe public level that not only brings extreme humiliation to him but also to his wife and their entire family. The hypocritical aspect with him formerly being a family values lobbyist is another unfortunate side to it. This is just one famous person we have heard about so far, but think of the other 39 million users whose information is now publicly available for anyone to search through… I guess I commend these hackers’ intentions for wanting to take down a company that supports and encourages disgusting infidelity, but at the same time I think this will cause a lot of chaos, especially if other personal information is being released along with it.

Infidelity ruins lives

Articles joke about all the women who are now probably looking up to see if their husband had an account, since the information is being released. I can almost feel the level of distrust that is probably circling through so many marriages right now, whether they had an account or not! It becomes a topic of discussion that no couple wants to have. I understand that infidelity doesn’t happen rarely, but the fact that infidelity is being exposed to this number of marriages in such a public way and all at once is so heartbreaking and honestly I think it’s worrisome for public safety. I don’t know what’s worse: Having 39 million cheaters getting away with it, or having 39 million cheaters be exposed all at once. CNN reports further examples of users who have been exposed and how it has strained and potentially ruined many aspects of their life.

I think affairs are gradual and complex. It’s not a simple decision one day to cheat, like AM and other infidelity-promoting services portray it as. Through my studying, I have actually learned some interesting things about how affairs happen, yet I still can’t justify someone making that decision. It’s also interesting listening to the opinion of AM’s founder, Noel Biderman explaining why he established the facilitation of extramarital affairs while also dealing with Dr. Phil’s backlash, haha.

I just can’t get passed someone justifying an affair. His example of many men having affairs soon after the birth of a new baby is kind of weak and pathetic. I understand that when your wife has a child, your sex life alters a bit, but that seems like a selfish reason to make such an extreme life-changing decision like having sex outside marriage. There’s no excusing infidelity because there are critical relationships at risk of erosion, just like Dr. Phil said. Fidelity is showing selflessness, so infidelity is selfishness, in my opinion.

There are definitely smarter ways to handle marital problems

I think every marriage hits some lows; I would go as far to say that it’s inevitable, whether it’s a lack in sexual intimacy or other things. How we handle those low times is what bring us back to the high times, though! The Gottman Laboratory studies found that marital success or failure is not predicted on if conflict is present or not, but by how the conflict is handled. Some people “handle” the conflict by ignoring it, withholding emotional needs from each other, or even seeking love and attention from elsewhere. And other couples handle the conflict well by talking about it, listening to each other, and working at it. Some couples even seek outside help through marital counseling, which I totally support. Either way, they are facing it and handling it TOGETHER. Don’t let personal issues or conflict between each other get so bad that it causes leaps of distance between you both, or even further to the point where someone makes a damaging mistake. Can you see why I’m a huge advocate of relationship education throughout marriage? :)

I just think it’s important to put aside your own needs sometimes and keep your eye on the end goal. For my husband and I that is the eternal marriage we have from being sealed in the temple. I made special covenants to him that I don’t ever plan on breaking, nor do I even think about breaking. With this new information coming to light for so many couples, my heart goes out to them and I wish them the best of luck in sorting it out even if that means splitting up.

 

Keepin' marriage fresh,
Amy

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