The Internet isn’t just for the shy, the tech-savvy, or those singles who are tired of the bar scene. It’s also for the married.
While business trips and late nights at the office have always been easy outs for keeping up an affair, finding the right match is, sadly, just a click away. Online services such as MarriedDateLink.com, MarriedSecrets.com, and even Craigslist — where you can find both an apartment and a mistress — are all becoming increasingly popular for people seeking extra-marital affairs. In fact, AshleyMadison.com, which claims to be the largest infidelity dating service, has more than 1.8 million registered members — a number that doesn’t surprise Sarah Symonds, the site’s new spokeswoman who is helping to take AshleyMadison into the U.K. “Forty years ago, divorce was very taboo. Now we’re OK with that,” she says. “I see infidelity as the new divorce.”
What Symonds neglects to mention is that it’s the infidelity that often leads to the divorce.
Dealing with the unfaithful is, however, a topic Symonds knows well. She has been the other woman more times than she’s willing to say, including a highly publicized affair with author and politician Lord Jeffery Archer, and has parlayed her experiences into a book, Having An Affair: A Handbook For The Other Woman.
She says the No. 1 rule to being the mistress is don’t fall in love. But when asked how many people break that rule, Symonds says “Too many.”
That, she says, is partly why sites like AshleyMadison do so well — they cater to married people who are mainly looking for other married people. “When you go to the site you know you … are having an affair with somebody who has as much to lose.”
Personally, I’m not convinced that ruining two marriages for the price of one affair is really any better.
The reasons people cheat vary, but Symonds says it mainly boils down to they’ve married the wrong person and are now in it for the children or the finances, or they are in a good relationship but are missing either a physical or emotional connection.
Perhaps, then, people need to spend more time re-igniting those shared interests within a marriage instead of trying to seek them elsewhere.