A couple of years ago there was an article in the Houston Chronicle about the Ashley Madison website.
I checked it out after the article and the "splash page," that is, the one first seen when the site is opened shows a woman with her finger to her lips is that classic "let's keep a secret" pose. The caption reads, "Life is short, have an affair." The website endorses "married dating." If you are married and are interested in having a sexual relationship outside of marriage, this is one of the places to go. This website, according to an article in the Houston Chronicle on June 20, 2012, has compiled a list of Houston's "Top 10 Neighborhoods for Cheaters." The website has over 14 million members. More than 93,000 of these are right here in Houston. The top five neighborhoods in Houston are: Kingwood, River Oaks, Downtown, Bellaire and Sugar Land. Noel Biderman, founder of the site, is quoted as saying, "By allowing people to have affairs without interrupting their lives, we help people stay in their marriages."
Anyone who has ever discovered his or her partner having an affair knows that simply isn't true. The devastation that an affair brings to a relationship is often irreparable. The betrayal and damaged trust can take years to overcome. Further, the damage to character done to one by carrying such a secret is very damaging to emotional, relational and spiritual growth. This is reflected in the fact that when the Ashley Madison site was hacked recently and names of subscribers released, several people committee suicide.
There is likely no simple reason why someone chooses to have an affair. Fear of conflict, lack of fulfillment, living a life based on feelings all no doubt play a role.
Over the years I have come to believe that a lack of self-knowledge is the primary cause for almost all the suffering people impose on others. I recently attended a conference that opened with a video to this effect. Since first seeing it, I have highly recommended it to hundreds of people. In the process I have had a couple of additional resources recommended to me - one of forgiveness and, then, a TED Talk about affairs. I recommend them to you in the following order -
First, click here to see the piece I first saw at the conference. Don't, please, let the "F-bomb" put you off. It is a powerful piece.
Click here to see the same person with a brief teaching on how to forgive if your partner has had an affair - or how to forgive anyone.
Then click here to see and listen to the TED Talk on "rethinking infidelity."
If your relationship is recovering from an affair, I hope you find these resources helpful.