What Does the Ashley Madison Hack Reveal About Us?

Monogamy. As a culture, we still tend to accept the idea that a relationship means an emotional and physical connection between two people without influence of a third party. Relationships often end when one person is caught having a romantic and/or sexual relationship with someone outside of their designated, and often legal, partnership. Our culture has begun to shift away from the long accepted idea that everyone should get married, have children, and stay married for the rest of their lives. What does this mean for monogamy inside relationships?

Romantic cheating is not a new idea. It occurred centuries ago and occurs today. Why does it occur? What does it say about the person who cheats? What does it say about the person who is cheated on? These are questions that cannot simply be answered by generalization. The one clear thing is that, despite fewer people marrying and more people waiting until they are older to wed, the concept of monogamy is still very much alive and romantic cheating is still an issue for many.

Ashley Madison, a website specifically developed to help individuals in relationships cheat on their significant others discreetly, made cheating as simple and convenient as buying clothes online or trolling. It does not come with any of the fears of rejection, concerns about being judged, or worry that one's intentions may be misconstrued as desiring something more than a one night stand. It has been well-known enough; even blatantly advertised on television. The website acknowledges what it is without trying to hide it. It's tagline is "Life is short. Have an affair." The goal appears to be to remove the taboo of cheating. As with anything anonymous and online, Ashley Madison subscribers are temporarily removed from reality behind a computer screen until they decide to act.

It is clear from the hack that despite a cultural desire to maintain the idea of monogamy, millions of individuals still seek extramarital affairs. The reasoning is individual. Some struggle with commitment. Others are sex addicts. Some are simply unhappy with the person they are with but do not feel they are able to leave the relationship. Some people may have different views about sexuality and relationships than their partner.

The views of marriage and parenting are changing and becoming more fluid in this country. Marriage is not for everyone. Parenting is not for everyone. However, just like marriage and parenting, it is incredibly important to make sure that you and your partner understand each others fears, concerns, and views on monogamy.

Like anything else in a relationship, when dealing with sex and monogamy- communication is vital.


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