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Ashley Madison: The Cheating Files

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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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EmpowHER Guest

"I think there are enough opportunities to cheat in this world. We don’t need to be sold on the idea" - Assuming you are a teenager (or an adult at the minimum), you must have known the idea has been sold eons and eons ago. To blame a picture, commercial, or any other sorts of advertising is ridiculous at best. The AM members who have taken that route probably have thought long and hard about it. I have been cheated on myself, but I've never blamed these type of sites. Truly at the end of the day, it is the members' decisions. Unless AM is physically forcing them to cheat, your viewpoint is indeed very naive.

February 16, 2010 - 1:34am
EmpowHER Guest

Don't you think that just like anything, people should have a certain autonomy? I can't imagine the amount of advertising it takes for a person to change their brand of toothpaste, you really think that a commercial or a banner ad will cause a person to cheat? I think that's monumentaly naive.

October 8, 2009 - 5:49pm
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