Monday, November 23, 2009

I don't endorse this site for married cheaters

At a dinner party last week, I met a lawyer who told me about a dating site for married people called A woman had come to his office seeking to sue the founder of the site.

"He stole my idea," she claimed. "I was going to start a service for people who wanted to have affairs."

My new lawyer friend wouldn't take her case. In his legal opinion, people having affairs is an age-old pursuit that can't be copyrighted.

Noel Biderman, the founder and CEO of Ashley Madison, agrees that cheating is a fact of life and defends his site by saying it doesn't create promiscuous behavior, just helps keep it honest.

"Some people say it promotes promiscuity," he said. "But if you don't do it, you get behavior that's way more harmful to society. Infidelity has been around a lot longer than Ashley Madison."

He believes that hearing about the service in a commercial is not going to persuade anyone to have an affair. "It's a decision they've come to already. All I'm saying is, don't do it in the workplace where it could result in someone losing their job, don't go to a singles dating service and lie about your status, don't hire a prostitute. Given that affairs are going to happen no matter what, maybe we should see Ashley Madison as a safe alternative." Jan 10, 09 LA Times

The company is having a little difficulty in the marketing department. Their slogan, "Life is short, have an affair" is obviously incendiary, and their TV ads, which depict racy trysts or unbearable marriages, have been banned by many stations. Still, the website boasts 3.5 million subscribers, so there's obviously consumer demand out there.


I'm not in favor of extramarital affairs of any kind, but I find this approach especially yucky. It's so premeditated. Maybe I'm naive, but I like to think that people who have affairs do so because they slip up, or they're irresistibly drawn to a specific person - not that they've rationally decided the time has come to systematically sleep around.

But what do you think? Are there some marriages that are just so awful that cheating is justified?


Meg said...

This does seem especially yucky! I think affairs are the coward's way of handling marital problems. It takes guts (which I guess the clients of don't have) to say, "Gosh I'm seriously thinking of having an affair. Maybe it's time for some marital counseling!" If you're marriage is a drag, either fix it or get out of it. And that ad! Hmmm, are we targeting men who think they are all that but their wives are fat and homely, and half a bottle of scotch needs to be downed before they sleep together? Yikes!

Marjie Killeen said...

Exactly Meg. To be fair, I've added a female version of their ad. It's all still one big ick to me.

rn terri said...

That is creepy and just WRONG. No matter how unhappy I was in my first marriage, cheating is/was NOT the answer. I could not live with myself, yuck.

Michael Kleder said...

One of the most important inventions man has ever made is the telephone. It has certainly made a huge impact on communication, bridging the distance between people hundreds, if not, thousands, of miles apart. Partners, be it a spouse, a girlfriend, or a boyfriend, also make use of the telephone to cheat on their significant other. They send out SMS messages and call their secret lovers, thinking that such actions can never be found out.

Hope said...

The saddest part about this is that people are living lives they aren't happy with and then living another one behind someone's back.

I'd hate to be one of the wives being cheated on and personally couldn't have an affair with a married man knowing how much I could be hurting someone(I'm single.)