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August 27, 2015
Column 1774
Ashley Madison Promotes Infidelity
By Mike McManus

Click on the image for a larger version.

Ashley Madison is a website whose slogan is "Life is short. Have an affair." It claims 39 million members in 53 countries and 124 million visits per month.

Hackers into the site threatened to post all their names on line if Ashley Madison was not shut down. It refused, and the listings are now available. The first batch came out August 18. Hackers have published more than 10 gigabytes of Ashley Madison data.

According to Wikipedia, the Canadian-based company was sued by a former employee, Doriana Silva, who stated she was assigned to create over a thousand bogus member profiles over three weeks to attract paying customers.

Ashley Madison claimed to allow members to pay a $19 fee to have their information deleted, but nothing was deleted.

On August 24, the Toronto Police Department spoke of "two unconfirmed suicides," associated with the leak of customer profiles, along with many extortion attempts. The website’s parent company, Avid Life Media, is offering a $500,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the hackers.

Some people who fear their partner is guilty of infidelity are searching online for evidence that the person was using the Ashley Madison website. A professional journalist for CNN researched the matter and warns, "Your computer will almost certainly get infected with a virus if you do. Most websites purporting to have the Ashley Madison data for download are in fact fakes set up by cyber criminals. Even clicking through such a site from a Google search is nearly certain to infect your computer with serious malware that could harvest your bank account codes, credit card details and all your personal knowledge."

Another danger is that your name could be added to the list, and others will assume you are guilty! Furthermore, most Ashley Madison users were simply curious, and did not find a sexual partner. One source alleges only 2 million of the 37 million were active at any time. I’m skeptical.

Canada has 6.26 accounts per 100 people and the U.S. is second highest with 5.11 per 100. In absolute numbers, America has the most Ashley Madison users, with 16 million; second is Brazil, whose largest city, Sao Paulo, has more users than any city worldwide.

At the opposite end of the spectrum are Afghanistan, Sudan and Congo - that appear to have only two users each!

What if you are guilty of using the website, but did not find a sexual partner on It?

If you are married, you must tell your spouse – especially if you had an affair. That will be difficult and painful. But it is better for your spouse to learn about it from you than by their going online to discover the grim news, or hearing about it from a friend.

If you are a pastor you must tell your congregation, though it might lead to your being fired. Similarly, if you work for an organization where moral leadership is expected of you, you must tell the boss.

Can getting busted on Ashley Madison be the beginning of true love and a happier, stronger marriage? For many the surprising answer is "Yes!"

Seth Eisenberg, President of the nonprofit PAIRS Foundation, which has helped thousands of couples rebuild their marriage after infidelity, warns that the discovery of adultery may have multi-generational consequences for those with minor children. "For many, it is a painful sign that trust is forever lost, the ultimate betrayal, humiliation and final surrender of promises shared when they chose to marry."

Infidelity is doing anything away from your partner that you wouldn’t do in front of them. Visiting pornography is cheating, and is involved in more than half of divorces.

Eisenberg asserts that to rebuild trust, Step one is to say what you’re going to do. Step two is Do it. Step three is to repeat steps one and two over and over.

To prioritize the relationship, he developed five sequential steps - a "Daily Temperature Reading" for your marriage. Set aside 10-20 minutes daily focusing on each other without distraction, and offer these five things:

1. Appreciations: tell each other specific things you appreciate about one another.

2. New information: Keep each other up to date on what’s happening in your lives.

3. Puzzles: If you wonder about something, ask about it. Don’t assume.

4. Concerns with recommendations: If a behavior bothers you, ask for a change.

5. Wishes, Hopes and Dreams: Share them with each other and help your beloved’s dreams come true.

These steps make for a healthy marriage, whether you have been unfaithful, or not.

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