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Life is Short, Have an Affair?

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Life is Short, Have an Affair?

He that jokes, confesses. –Italian Proverb

Indiscretion is no longer discreet.  Gone are the days of clandestine meetings, sideways glances across an office, illicit gestures in a dark parking lot.  Now you can get those same thrills and more in your email box for only a $49 joining fee. It seems too ridiculous to be true, but this is what we have come to, a multi-million dollar cash cow of a business to make it easy for people to sign up online to meet their perfect affair.

So lucrative is the venture that the corporate slogan: “Life is short–have an affair” has been pasted on billboards and running in television advertising throughout the world. Yet, promoting the most hurtful betrayals that many people will face in their lifetime as the fun, spice of life is not always as easy as it looks. The company has fought unsuccessfully for the right to plaster the slogan on citywide transportation in its hometown of Toronto; even after they offered money to subsidize rider fares. Their offer was vetoed by five of the six members of the transportation committee, but not before the leader was found to have cheated on his longtime partner several times, ruining his run for mayor. Likewise, the NFL turned down an advertising bid during the coveted Super Bowl hours.

This same ambivalence about the rightness of their participation in the site’s offerings, runs through many of the close to 8 million members profiles which uses fake names and hides their photos behind a password protected firewall.  Some are brazen too, including photos on their pages and mostly unafraid to be found out. They feel justified, and few users don’t report any feelings of guilt about their participation. The seekers aren’t leaving their partners, who become entities, mostly reduced to pronouns in the course of their business on the site. Many members refer to themselves as honest, except for what they are engaging in at this moment.

“This is just a fact of life. Monogamy is not in our DNA,” says founder Neil Biederman, although he is married himself and says he would be devastated if he found his wife was employing his service. She has no qualms about the moral ramifications of her husband’s occupation: providing the material and platform for millions of affairs. For her, “It is just a business…” Biederman believes that the popularity of his site and by and large the nature and driving force behind affairs is sex, more specifically about not getting the sex that they want from their partners.

Yet a recent undercover Redbook report, discovered a much deeper and in some ways ironic truth about much of what is being sought out on Ashley Madison. The site, which is to ostensibly facilitate no-strings-attached affairs contains a lot of men who are trying to forge real emotional bonds.  One might even say they were all looking to fall in love.

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Wendy Strgar

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family.  In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy,  she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative adviceIt has been called "the essential guide for relationships."  The book is available on ebook.  Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13- 22 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.


+ add your own
4:13AM PST on Jan 29, 2012

Thanks for the article.

11:42PM PST on Jan 23, 2012

People who know they are not monogamous should never get married and make promises they can't keep. That's the bottom line. The divorce rate in CA is 90% so there are a lot of broken promises out my way. Marriage seems to be on the way out. There's really no reason for it any more unless you want to reproduce. People seem to have gotten lazy and are too self centered to put in the hard work a marriage entails. Perhaps monogamy is outmoded as well or perhaps it's humanly impossible to be monogamous.

11:07AM PDT on Apr 29, 2011

How nice that Biederman does not believe in monogamy, is married, runs a business to help married/committed people have affairs, yet would be devastated if his own wife had an affair. If you don't believe in monogamy, why get married and why on earth would you begrudge your spouse for having sex with someone else?? I mean seriously, if he wouldn't like it and would be heartbroken if his own wife used his service, then why is he helping for millions of other spouses to feel that way (assuming of course they care and found out about their partner's infidelity). What a hypocrite!

I don't really care if you don't believe in monogamy, want multiple sex partners, or have been devoted to one person for 50 yrs. Do whatever makes you happy. BUT, I do not understand the people who say humans can't be monogamous who then go and get married. Unless you and your new spouse have an arrangement to bed other people with one another's knowing about it and permission, you're going against what you believe in and eventually something will have to give, whether that is your beliefs or your marriage.

10:47AM PDT on Apr 26, 2011

If think of short life, better find God for eternal life?

12:32AM PDT on Apr 15, 2011

I do not want or desire an affair. All I ever wanted and need I have in my wife.

6:29PM PDT on Apr 14, 2011

I find this kind of disturbing. Yes life is short but having an affair isn't going to enrich it. Dedicating myself wholly and completely to my soul mate is what is enriching and feels much better than the guilt of an affair.

5:53AM PDT on Apr 13, 2011

The best thing for everybody instead of looking and looking for new sensations would be have an affairs with oneself. Learn yourself, focus on yourself, "upgrade" yourself, challenge yourself, trust yourself. Truly looking inward instead of just rushing for new emotions, will teach how to make meaningful and loving relationship.

6:22AM PDT on Apr 11, 2011

Thanks for sharing this article. A lot of people love to buy services like this, because it stimulates their sense of ego. Maybe they are looking to fall in love, but I think, they are fooling themselves, because it is only an ego-attraction. They need snuggle up with their creator and look inwards and really think about how "fun" they are to live with for a partner at the end of the day. If we could only see how unloving we can be as a partner, our ego would crumble and that is the nasty truth, even if we are not looking for an affair! This looking inwards is very healthy to do also for people, who are not unfaithful in act!
Some people find this truth by undergoing affairs, where then everything pops up in front of their face. It is only drastic, that it takes this much hurt to find the lies and inner deceipt.

8:08AM PDT on Apr 10, 2011

I definitely do not agree with Neil Biederman, monogamy IS in our DNA. DNA is a too complicated element to be categorized by a founder of such venture. The part of our DNA in question deals with reproduction. However, it is quite natural that animals are not monogamous, because they have to maintain a stable population. The planet is over-populated by our specie, so it makes perfect sense to me that we become monogamous. Our genes are remarkably wise. So the reason why we choose to have an affair does not come from our DNA, it might come from our lifestyle and manipulation by such people. If we leave the DNA alone and use our brain for a couple of minutes, we should all become aware of a simple fact – affairs are the number one destroyer of relationships and marriages. So people like Mr. Biederman actually make profit from ruining families.

11:51PM PDT on Apr 9, 2011

I saw an ad for this site on tv in the afternoon. It was very tongue-in-cheek, and I thought it was a joke. I couldn't figure out what the real product they were selling was. I kept telling myself that it had to have been a joke. Finally I looked it up online and was astounded when I saw it was for real. I was really offended that they had advertised for something so vile in the middle of the day on regular tv.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Some of us seem to be veering a little off-topic...

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