A relatively new rabble-rouser has come to town, and it goes by the name Ashley Madison. For those of you who haven’t already heard of this website on Dr. Phil, The View, Good Morning America, Larry King, Ellen, etc., Ashley Madison is a dating site for married people who are looking to have a sexual affair. Because the database includes over 4.5 million members, it’s obviously brought to light many questions that people have about the reality of fidelity in American relationships.
The first thing I noticed is that the homepage features an image of a young blond woman unbuttoning the pants of a man with six-pack abs. I doubt that either of these people would actually go on a website to find sex. But actually, the fictional dream world depicted in this image embodies the fantasy of cheating quite well. Anyone who’s been on either end of the cheating process knows it is never just about sex and it tends to create more problems than it cures.
Ashley Madison is not selling you happiness, they’re selling you unhappiness. After all, before you give your money to the website you must first be convinced that your current relationship is dissatisfying. You know, that the sex could be hotter and the affection more abundant. That having an affair will give you what you are lacking, even though we all know that what cheating “takes” from you is more destructive than any pleasure you could possibly find.
I understand why married people cheat, and I would never demonize someone trying to make the best out of their situation that they possibly can. When a person cheats, he or she is often feeling depressed, trapped, or conflicted. I personally see this action as being separate from the individual, so there's no way I'm going to preach to you about loyalty or fidelity.
But what does concern me is the advertising surrounding Ashley Madison. Reality is very, very different than fantasy, as anyone well-acquainted with the “grass is always greener” theory can verify.
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