In the summer of 2015 the online dating service, Ashley Madison became the name on everyone’s lips. Their catchphrase, “Life is short. Have an affair.” sounds like a casual, throwaway remark, but it is, in fact, cleverly aimed at stimulating the most basic human desires for pleasure, novelty, and excitement. Who could resist having a look?
We’re told that Ashley Madison has up to 37 million users, and as with anyone who has had an affair, every member had their own reasons for signing up, including curiosity, impulsivity, boredom, loneliness, frustration, and anger.
Now as summer is turning to autumn, we continue to be drip-fed further revelations and many of its users are living in fear and uncertainty.
If this is your situation what options do you have? Obviously, you can sit it out and hope it will all blow over, but for me, a much more appealing option is to turn this crisis into a springboard for your own growth and development.
How can you do this? The first step is by taking charge of the situation and being open with your spouse or partner about what you’ve done. Then the Ashley Madison hackers can do what they want, but they are no longer in control of your life.
You and your partner have massively important decisions to make. Do you want to save your marriage or is this a relationship that is past saving? It is my belief that few of us have the clarity to make confident decisions in the midst of strong emotions such as fear, pain and resentment, so expert guidance is needed.
As a couples therapist, I have the privilege of helping many couples whose relationships are in trouble rebuild strong, vibrant and exciting marriages after infidelity. I have also helped couples to separate more amicably than they ever believed possible. Either way, most people find the process of couples therapy to be a deeply enriching one, on both a personal and a relational level. So contact an expert couple therapist to guide you through this process.
What kind of life do you want to live?
The choice is yours.
Actually, Ashley Madison is partly right. Life is short, and my advice is take charge and don’t sell this precious life short.
Daniel is a Marriage and Family Therapist. He currently sees couples at Couples Therapy Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts, three seasons in Cummington (at the foothills of the Berkshires...) and in Miami during joint retreats with his wife, Dr. Kathy McMahon. He uses EFT, Gottman Method, Solution-focused and the Developmental Model in his approaches.