Cheating is a ticking timebomb. I don’t believe that in these modern times, people truly believe that monogamy works. It never has. It never will. And now that women have begun to liberate themselves from the mental shackles of “I do, now do as I say” marriage; the divorce rate has skyrocketed in an attemp to flee from eternal peril. Therefore, transforming and sacrificing with another person- without the instantly gratifying sensation of the here-and-now, is a value left behind for distant days. This has left souls lost and wandering. Searching for someone to sleep on, someone to cling to and someone to get rid of as quickly as possible. A constant purgatory of rotating beds, loneliness and endless searching… And as humans work to make life better and more convenient, we’ve traded trolling the bars, for hours of swiping and typing, in hopes that “the one” will land on our resume of love and meet us for drinks and maybe more, *wink. Digitizing our search has exacerbated the problem with filling the void.
Ashley Madison was hacked. You can’t go anywhere on social media or the news and not hear a soundbite or see a live ticker or social feed without being faced with this social spectacle. But common sense would show us that it’s well overdue that this “discreet” cheating site got hacked. The premise of the business plan set itself up for failure. “Life is short. Have an affair”. It takes the work out of having a side-piece so that you can focus more on having sex.
So when I heard the news that the site was hacked, I said “took long enough”. But the more the media heads bobble, the masses have begun to feel for the cheaters. They’ve been humanized, ruined and comforted rather than judged, questioned and scrutinized. Not that anyone should be judged unnecessarily, but the first days of leaks seemed to provide the intended results of such a bold and daring unveiling. These hackers tilted the social scales and the tug-of-war between their act and the media has caused us to question all that we consider as our rights- in relationships, in extramarital affairs, in digital privacy, in sexual freedom. This hack illuminates the lack of definition for personal “privacy” when it comes to relationships.
So here are a couple things I’d like to comment on regarding the balance between privacy and relationships as illuminated by the fallout of the Ashley Madison hack:
You don’t have to lie to kick it. Cheating should be punished. You’re a liar, period. That’s where I stand. It takes a very mentally and emotionally weak person to not face this fact about themself. Now, I don’t believe that anyone deserves to have their private information shared on the interent- social security number, credit card information, where their kids go to school, etc. But somehow this feels justified. It sends a message to anyone willing to put everything on the line under the auspice of secrecy and deception. Just be honest. Cheating seems unfair. One person gets to have fun and the other person is subject to the left overs from the person having fun. Just be honest. I’ve heard cheaters say, “It would devastate my wife/husband if they found out I was cheating”. But really I’ve found that most cheaters could not handle their significant other being pleased by another… Because love is not about sacrifice but possession. Think about that. If their love were about sacrifice, they would be able to be honest with their partner about their needs. I have lots of respect for couples in an agreed open marriage. Both people are aware of the terms and they can coexist with both people empowered by their options. It’s not perfect or ideal, but no relationship is. By definition, it seems like open-marrige couples have found a way to balance their physical desires with the respect of the other person. It seems.
Protecting the LGBTQ, women and other vulnerable people communities from the fallout. At first I felt bad for these groups, and then I quickly retracted that emotion. If these groups sought out relationships on “reputable dating sites” (whatever those are) and not a site that marketed “Life is short. Have an affair”, I could feel really bad about the potential danger ahead. Horribly so. No one deserves to be harassed or killed because of who they want to have sex with. But no matter what group you belong to, if you’re participating in this shit show, you’re still a liar. The fact that society is skirting around this is morally mindblowing. There are other options out there, this site is not the only one and therefore anyone in a vulnerable community made a deliberate and mindful choice to do what they did, with whom they did. There has to come a point where no matter who you are in society, you have to own up to the choices you make. That choice was not sexing up whoever you want, but the choice to do so through Ashley Madison.
Your data and your frivolous ways… it’s madness. Although many sites on the internet claim to be discreet or protected, reality of it all is, they aren’t. The difference between the trust we have with our private information online versus the trust we place in our loved ones, is actually insane. Many of us are digitally floating around in cyberspace naked and vulnerable. Most guys will allow Google to know more about them than their girlfriends or wives. Google documents your search, your buying tendencies, your social media habits, your contacts, but your significant other can’t have the passcode to your smartphone because it’s private. Strange. Maybe because you can’t see Google’s face or maybe because Google can’t judge you, but they are judging you as they build your digital profile. They judge you more than the human person you’ve made empty promises to. Think about that for a second.
Your “this is about data privacy” arguement is insulting and pointless. This isn’t actually about salvaging digital privacy. It’s about salvaging the right of the privileged to keep their privilege. If they’re left vulnerable to anonymous attacks in such embarrassing ways, they’re no better than the common people who have fewer or no rights at all. Making this about “data privacy” takes away from that very ugly fact. Linking suicides to this hack and the police calling out to the hacker community for help, fuels the media and takes away from the opportunity for our society to question whether platforms like this should exist in the first place. Do we need a digitized method of cheating? Can we have a better version of digitized cheating? Can we trust any of the people who had accounts to take care of our public matters if they are government officials? Does their private life matter with regard to the way they’re expected to conduct business? Would this even matter if they leaked the “normal people” first? These are the actual debates that should be going on. And I get it. We don’t want to set a precedent of online bullying and power mongering, but cheating should come with higher stakes if we are raising the “privacy” wall for the opportunity to cheat.
In an age when you can swipe yourself into someone’s warm bed in an hour- hooking up easily through your smart phone or desktop, it seemed exorbitant to have a niche site for cheaters because most dating sites actually house individuals seeking an adventure outside the security of their relationship already. So when I heard the news that the site was hacked, I said, “it figures”, these people put a target on their back and dared anyone to upset their pursuit of happiness. That is blatant disrespect to all of us who believe that you can take someone for their word or at face value. Creating eco-systems like the one on Ashley Madison is a social experiment gone right. Anonymously, someone came in and nudged the moral scale a bit with an act, just as violating, as the one that each of these profile holders commited. And those left vulnerable to the guise of trust and mutual respect can feel good that revenge is actually a dish best served cold.
Originally here on Medium.com