Many of you might have heard the news about Ashley Madison. Ashely Madison is a website for married men and women to meet up with other married men and women who want to have affairs. The owners of the site make over 100 million a year with over 38 million users.
There is a hacker group called ‘The Impact Team’ who did not like the idea of a company capitalizing on such behavior. They worked behind the scene for years collecting data and finally presented the security breach to the Ashley Madison owners, telling them to shut the site down within 30 days. The hackers called the Ashely Madison website a ‘fraud’ benefiting off of lies and cheating, and claiming they have a ‘full delete’ service which the hackers claim is a lie.
The owners of the website did nothing, ignored the threat. So the Impact Team released the data of registered users– including names, credit card numbers and email addresses of those on the site. This is an unprecedented privacy leak that will have some ramifications, some good and some bad.
While the purpose of this post is to shed insight into what you should do if you catch your spouse on Ashley Madison, I would like to mention that this is a game changer as far as the perception of ‘anonymity ‘on the internet. For years, people felt they can be invisible via the internet. The problem with feeling invisible is that once you feel no one can find out, you get riskier. You post your picture, your phone number, and any other data because you feel you cannot get caught. The Ashley Madison breach will cause people to think twice before signing up for such a service. I also believe the breach will expose cheating wives as well, as it is my opinion that cheating wives is a growing trend. And thinking twice before acting is always a good thing.
Now, let’s get to the 6 thoughts to consider if you catch your spouse on Ashley Madison.
1. Do not overreact or assume he/she is currently having a physical affair. This is a data breach – which means you have some data, but not all, and unfortunately there is no way to validate the truth except for talking with your spouse, which is why it is so critical not to overact or make assumptions.
2. Realize there are spouses who go on the site to have a physical affair, but also realize some spouses only interact with members on the site that are very far away that they have no intention of ever meeting…..why? Because they sign up to have an emotional/mental affair, not a physical one. And many spouses believe that emotional online affairs are not cheating.
3. Have the conversation with your spouse – with the right mindset. If your spouse registered on Ashely Madison at some point during the marriage, that is a problem, there is some breakdown in the marriage, and it usually centers around communication. If you approach your spouse with anger and frustration on what you found, they will immediately shut down and either deny or not say anything. Both partners lose in this situation, which is why you want to be very strategic in how you approach the topic. Ask questions, do not yell, seek to understand and make your spouse feel comfortable sharing. Your goal is to get to the truth.
4. If you approach your spouse with questions in a concerned tone, watch the response, it will give you some insight. You know your spouse better than anyone else so assess his response based on their personality. If your spouse is not willing to open up, then leave it alone. By you remaining calm, it will confuse your spouse, to the point where they may want to engage you in conversation even more. At this point, your role is to watch behavior not to response to it.
5. Look for outside evidence to validate. You might be in a position where you have been seeing signs and seeing his information on Ashley Madison was the validation you were seeking. You might have had no clue your spouse was engaged with such activity, and if this is the case, look for other factors to validate an affair. After thinking you might notice he is home later more often or on the computer more than you would like. Look for clues.
6. If your spouse comes to you and tells you they were on Ashely Madison, that is actually a good sign. It means you have a spouse that is scarred of losing you and wants to share his side of the story first. Listen and make your own conclusions, but a spouse presenting the indiscretion is always better than finding out on your own.
This data breach is huge. Take this information, and do what you feel it best for your marriage and relationship. My hope is that the data breach opens up a healthy and much needed dialogue among spouses.