Vancouver is a city that prides itself on its progressive lifestyle — buildings are green, gay marriage is celebrated and Wreck Beach is naked — but when it comes to infidelity, traditional values hold strong.
Toronto businessman Noel Biderman, co-founder of Ashleymadison.com, a dating site for married people looking to have an affair, said business is booming everywhere except Vancouver.
“It’s either something in the culture or the active nature of the citizens,” he said. “Maybe you have more alternatives (and) accessing massage parlours is easier. I don’t have the answer. I’m curious, myself.”
Biderman, 39, who is married and has two young children, said the company is doing particularly well in Montreal, but added it’s popular across the board: “Clearly we wouldn’t have 6.8 million members if we weren’t doing something right.”
He said he saw the opportunity for an infidelity dating site when he learned that 35 per cent of people on singles’ dating sites were married.
“To me that was a lightning bolt. Why not build them a social network of their own?”
The site facilitates a discreet relationship that allows users to remain anonymous.
As for the ethics of the site, Biderman said the institution of marriage is evolving and it wasn’t long ago that same sex-marriage, pre-marital sex and even marriage for love were taboo.
Infidelity need not be vilified, he said, adding that in some cases, it can actually save a marriage
“Canada, on the infidelity meter, is lower than the rates in France, Brazil and Japan, but our divorce rates are much higher and you have to wonder if monogamy has to do with that,” he said.
“Accountability lies between the people doing it. The majority of couples survive infidelity. It’s a misunderstood concept. If I were in a sexless marriage I’d probably stray before I’d divorce.”