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Can Cheating Save Your Marriage? Page 2

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Continued from PAGE 1: Can Cheating Save Your Marriage?

Momlogic: Why did you create Ashley Madison?

Noel Biderman: I didn't invent cheating, it's been around since the dawn of time. I am simply creating an easy platform for people to stray. Ashley Madison doesn't provide alibis or any sort of screening. We just connect people, then let them make their own decisions.  However, we do have fraud detection and an anti-harassment policy so users can report people who abuse the system. We also encourage building a rapport with a person before going offline and taking things to the next level. It's just not safe to hand out your personal email address to someone you just met. 

ML: Are you helping or hurting marriages? 
NB: For some people, cheating allows them to be a better spouse.  If you're going through a rough patch in your marriage or are sexually frustrated, finding a quick outlet can help. And I get thanked for it every day. Many people write to me saying Ashley Madison has saved their marriage and that without the opportunity to stray, they would be divorced by now. But I also get my share of hate mail. Some people think I am the devil.

ML: Do all men cheat?
NB: At one point or another both men and women have cheated on their significant other. Why? Because we're human. And if you can have an affair and know for sure you won't get caught, most people would commit adultery. Marriage is unnatural--for some reason we believe we're supposed to have only one partner for life. For those who can remain faithful for years and years, that's amazing. For most people, it's impossible. 

ML: Who is your typical Ashley Madison customer?

NB: 70% of our users are men, but women are logging on in droves. Our research found women are joining the site after one or two years of marriage, while men wait until five or seven years. It could be because many women want to get married young and when they finally do, many realize it's not what they signed up for. Men join our site later because in general, they have more outlets to channel their sexual energy--strip clubs, for example. However, most people cheat when something isn't right in the relationship. Everyone has needs, and it's a struggle to spend your life trying to meet someone else's. Cheating isn't about finding someone better looking. It's about not getting your needs met--that's when people cheat.  

ML: You're married with two children--does this mean you cheat as well?
NB: I've only been married for five years but I see how easy it is to cheat--the first year of marriage, the birth of your first baby, work stress--however, I am faithful. My wife has emotional and physical needs I must meet. If I don't, she may cheat on me. And believe me, I'd be crushed if that were to happen, but I'd also have to face the reasons why. I don't believe in 'till death do you part' if you're miserable. People believe they should stick out the marriage even if it's killing them. That's no way to live. 

ML: What can you tell readers about the warning signs of a cheater?
NB: If you notice your partner acting dramatically different, suddenly working late, or acting distant, it's usually a telltale sign. Some people want to be caught because they're too scared to end their marriage--and for others it's a cry to save it. But we're too hard on cheaters. If Elizabeth Edwards can forgive her husband for straying, the world can too.

To hear what three Ashley Madison clients had to say about their actions, go to Can Cheating Save Your Marriage? Page 3

next: Do Ear Infections = Fat?
26 comments so far | Post a comment now
Kate August 28, 2008, 11:27 AM

What happened to marriage counseling to save a marriage? And there are other, more unaccompanied ways of channeling sexual energy that people can enjoy without breaking a fidelity promise to their spouse. And there is much quicker access to those ways than signing up online and waiting until someone matches up with you. I don’t encourage that behavior, but if you need to get off, you can do it by yourself.

I’m a sexually frustrated wife, but I would NEVER look for another man to fulfill that need in my life. I just don’t understand why someone would be willing to find a new partner over seeking counseling with the one they are committed to.

Anonymous August 28, 2008, 12:42 PM

Saving a marriage? If my husband decided he had to have an affair, it would END our marriage. That everyone does it BS is just a load of crap to try to justify cheating. If you cannot be faithful to one person DO NOT GET MARRIED! This kind of stuff is what is wrong with society now. So, we are to believe that it is ok to cheat? Unbelievable. If it is ok why the secrecy? Why not tell your spouse you want to sleep with someone else? To cheat is the ulitimate betrayal and it is very unfair to do to someone you “love.” It is selfish. And I don’t think I’d want to stay married to someone who felt he had to cheat on me to save our marriage.

Anonymous August 28, 2008, 12:42 PM

Saving a marriage? If my husband decided he had to have an affair, it would END our marriage. That everyone does it BS is just a load of crap to try to justify cheating. If you cannot be faithful to one person DO NOT GET MARRIED! This kind of stuff is what is wrong with society now. So, we are to believe that it is ok to cheat? Unbelievable. If it is ok why the secrecy? Why not tell your spouse you want to sleep with someone else? To cheat is the ulitimate betrayal and it is very unfair to do to someone you “love.” It is selfish. And I don’t think I’d want to stay married to someone who felt he had to cheat on me to save our marriage.

Ally August 28, 2008, 1:44 PM

Instead of cheating, why not discuss an open marriage- at least that takes care of the lies and etc. Wanting to have sex, have some intrigue, passion, etc doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to leave your partner, or even hurt them. Open marrige, or allowed affairs at least meet the emotional need without hurting your family. Funny, I bet most men would never dream of asking hteir wife for an open marraige or “permission to cheat” but my girlfriends and I all have little crushes that we wouldn’t mind pursuing a LITTLE. We don’t want to change our lives, just ADD.

a. August 28, 2008, 4:10 PM

Humans are not naturally monogamous. Expecting your SO to completely faithful to you for, what? 50, 60, 70? years of marriage is just ridiculous. It goes COMPLETELY against human nature. If I can’t provide a sexual need for my partner, I do not want them to have to suffer because of it. If they want to try something in bed that I’m not comfortable with or is not something I want to do AT ALL, I don’t want them to have to be frustrated with that. I’d actually *encourage* my SO in those situations to find someone they can do those things with. As long as they tell me and remain honest about it, are safe about it and don’t bring any little friends home (STDs), and, ultimately, always come back to me in the end (which is what’s important), then I don’t care.
If my relationship is in danger because one or both of us can’t provide something we need, and it risks our marriage—I’m completely FOR “cheating” to save it. Not having sex and not having your needs met is a really huge thing, and it does cause stress. Even if you can’t image it doing so, it is. Sex is important. I’m willing to let my SO stray, or myself, in order to save a RELATIONSHIP that I feel is important. If it’s one I want to remain in for a long, long time, I don’t want sex, or lack of it, to ruin that.

Lesa August 29, 2008, 7:06 AM

Weird. O.k. While I agree with everything Noel says about why cheating happens and how often it really happens I don’t think that he should offer a hook-up service to make cheating easier. I do like the fact that none of these people actually want to leave their spouse and they are looking for others that are also not looking to leave THEIR spouse either. BUT I have to say that this is just too easy. And what about STDs, what happens if your wife actually WANTS to have sex and you are crawling with crabs from your risky behavior? This just has so many ways it can go wrong.

So, YES—I get it.
But, NO—I don’t think this is the answer.

I just have one piece of advice for everyone thinking of doing this. MAKE FOR DAMN SURE that you think of your wife or husband doing this themselves and how you’d feel about that. Because chances are if you aren’t happy—neither are they.

Peaches August 29, 2008, 8:06 AM

I believe there are two different kinds of cheating. Emotional and physical. Both of them stem from not having your needs met in your relationship. In my situation, my husband was not meeting my needs emotionally. His concern was not with me and our child, but with what he and his friends were doing that weekend and where they were going to go. Instead of spending time with his family, he thought he could compensate by buying me nice things. While all that’s nice, it doesn’t fill the void. I developed a friendship with the senior manager at my place of employment and we had a year long affair. He told me everything I had been wanting to hear from my husband. While my husband was not aware of my affair, he was aware that I wasn’t happy in the relationship… I told him EXACTLY the kind of things I need from him in order to be happy. And they were simple things… One night on the weekend devoted to US instead of US and his FRIENDS(my mother kept our daughter every weekend.) Talk to me about your day… show me simple signs of affection without expecting sexual favors in return… I didn’t think I was asking for much but sadly, after only a year and a half of marriage(3 years together before the marriage) I left him. My affair had ended months prior. I stayed single, casually dating for 2 1/2 years and finally met a great guy. While I love him dearly, I can’t help the urge to explore other avenues. And I know he feels the same way. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s human nature to have these urges and desires. Studies show that overall, only 10% of mammals and birds are in monogamous relationships. While cheating is very hurtful, I honestly don’t think that humans are genetically engineered to be monogamous. I’ve met men AND women that I would never dream would cheat on their spouse that have openly admitted to me that if they could get away with it, they’d cheat in a heart beat. Even still, if you think your spouse is cheating or you KNOW they’re cheating, you need to first step back and reevaluate YOUR role in the relationship and what YOU can do to improve it. NOT what your partner is doing wrong.

Kate August 29, 2008, 9:41 AM

I hear all the time that people believe that humans are not naturally monogamous. How do they come to the conclusion? Where is the evidence? That’s what I want to know! Humans are not animals. When we marry, we make a conscious commitment. If you KNOW that you cannot remain faithful, then why get married in the first place? Leave the marrying to people who can handle the commitment.

Ellissa August 29, 2008, 10:06 AM

I have a boyfriend aside from my marriage. We meet once every 6 weeks or so and it is just an escape from reality where it’s only about the two of us. I have a strong marriage, but I feel less frustrated by the burden of all domestic that goes with it, since I have had my fling on the side. My bf is married too and neither of us wants to leave our spouses. We are happy in our world yet want that little something extra that we both satisfy for each other. It’s a great arrangement and we have been together for a couple of years already. I find I am more patient and understanding, more open minded. My husband lacks nothing from me and I don’t think I would wrap this up any time soon. We are discreet and safe and were both tested for STI’s as well as discussed contraception. Marriage is an arrangement that should be viewed as financial security, working together as partners, not necessarily as exclusive lovers. It’s impossible to meet one sole person’s needs all the time and have all of your needs met too. The pressure!! Remember we live in modern day times and need to be flexible, forgiving and realistic.

Kelly August 29, 2008, 11:04 AM

Once a month is enough for my husband. I was always the 3-6 times a week person before marriage. My husband knows this, but does nothing to change. Would I cheat? Is is cheating if he won’t give you what you need?
and yes, I would be furious if he cheated, because of his lack of drive,

Nikki August 29, 2008, 11:07 AM

I’ll tell you why so many people are cheating. People are selfish and lazy, plan and simple. If something isn’t working in your marriage get off your lazy butt and fix it. The world doesn’t revolve around you, it takes two people to make a marriage work. Too many people think that they deserve better, well then make your marrage better instead of looking for a way out.

Shawna August 29, 2008, 11:49 AM

Uh, hello? I’m I the ONLY ONE who finds this hillarious? This guy is a pimp, pure and simple. The only reason to join his site is for sex. That’s why most of his users are guys… I think it’s brilliant. Another way for people to capitalize on stupid people. Bravo to Noel for having the audacidy to actually make money off of people’s insecurities. (Btw - did he actually say that he has never cheated? What exactly is he faithful to?) Hmmm.

Stephie August 29, 2008, 12:49 PM

Well this is what people don’t get… It’s not about trading marriage out for a lover. It’s not taking away from anything, just as your spouse probably doesn’t fill the need of having a best friend around, well there could be other needs that aren’t being met too. Just because you have a best friend in addition to your spouse doesn’t mean that anything has been taken away from your marriage. And Shawna, not everyone seeking an affair is looking for sex. And running a website where people can do as they please is not pimping. Sites like Craigslist have ads on them all the time soliciting physical contact - that does not make it a pimp site. People will find a way one way or the other, I say more power to him for coming up with such a clever way to make extra cash. And the hook ups on his site are not directly related to him anyway. Just because you condone a friend’s affair or support them through their unhappy marriage doesn’t mean you will do it yourself?? Hmmmm ??? Also the proof that humans are not naturally monogomous is shown time and time again by the divorce rate and that virtually no one these days marrys the first person they ever dated or had sex with!

platypus August 29, 2008, 3:13 PM

marriage is not for everyone. most marriages are for women to keep one reliable guy on a leash, and for men to appear to be a stable family man to land the better job or executive position.

Anonymous August 29, 2008, 11:48 PM

Wow, I’m pretty shocked by all the comments. Obviously many haven’t been in similar situations. I love my husband and love my marriage. Sex is lacking. My husband’s sex drive has diminished because of medication and the doctor’s aren’t offering any help. And when I say diminished, I mean there is no urge for him any more like there had been. Sure we can negotiate times and such for it but it’s not near as frequent for me. And he will attempt to have sex just for me. I enjoy the sex when we do have it, he just doesn’t feel much in that department. There is no longer the unpredictability of when it happens either, I have to ask. That’s sad and many times I get told ‘not tonight’. And once or twice a month is NOWHERE near what I want. He knows this, we have talked at length about all of it. I have a high sex drive and often find I am turning to my vibrator. But I have to say there is nothing that compares to having real human contact instead of a piece of solid rubber and your hand doing the job! I can’t even tell you the last time I received oral sex from him……..probably over 3 years ago! But he doesn’t turn it down if I offer to perform on him. He just can’t be bothered honestly. It hurts, it drives me mad and I get highly upset. Yes, we have done counseling, several times and it hasn’t helped. He can only change if he wants to and while I am not out soliciting sex or looking for it, I can’t ever say I would turn it down if I was approached. I have a sexual desire and need to be pleased and feel that sexual pleasure. I had an affair probably 6 years ago now that lasted 9 months. That’s when hubby and I first started having problems. I have never admitted to the affair and it was just raw and pure sex, nothing more. I never want to leave my husband, I love him and his companionship and we are so in tune with each other. There’s nothing between us like money or financial issues, sex is our issue and it’s a HUGE one for me. And yes if he had the same sex drive I would be 100% happy with him. And same as another poster, if he strayed I would get highly pissed considering his sex drive is non-existent!

Peaches August 30, 2008, 8:25 AM

Thank you Stephie for answering Kate’s question concerning my comment on humans and monogamy. Kate, if you google “humans and monogamy,” you’ll find story after story of debates on whether or not humans are monogamous. One story on states that only 3-5 percent of roughly 5,000 species of mammals(and YES, humans are mammals… we have sweat glands, produce milk, therefore we are mammals… members of the order Primates) form monogamous bonds. This site also states that commitment between humans has EVOLVED for the well being of their children. I bet if you went out and did your own research Kate(and everyone else here that’s bashing this guy and his article and the rest of us who have had affairs for our whatever reason) I guarantee that you’d be shocked at your results. While I’m not saying that EVERYONE as a whole goes out cheating, it’s been proven that the majority of humans are not capable of being monogamous. Major kudos to those that are!!!! I only hope to one day find a guy that totally completes me in every way that I have no desire to stray in anyway, emotionally or physically.

ted August 30, 2008, 2:19 PM

With regards to the whole monogamy thing I have found in my life that women do in general tend to want a monogamous relationship,while most men tend to not.There is ample evidence in history that the human species is not naturally monogamous.In fact before the time of Christ, it was not even considered!I.e., King David with hundreds of wives,and even more concubines,yet called a man after God’s own heart.I know that there are women also who cannot remain monogamous,but they are the exception rather than the rule,where with men it seems to be the exact opposite

M.L. August 31, 2008, 1:12 AM

He says that all men and women have cheated, that is complete BS!!!!!!! I have never cheated on anyone, and my husband DOES NOT cheat on me.

Emily H. August 31, 2008, 6:00 AM

All you guys ARE lazy and selfish. “I want my husband, but I also want a boyfriend! WAH WAH WAH!” God, people, you are all adults, right? MARRIAGE, is about two people giving up their lives for eachother. “Through sickness and in health, rich or poor, GOOD TIMES AND BAD,” even meaning sex. Those vows, ladies and gentlemen, are strictly meant for those two, not another person. Marriage is about sex, yes, a big role, but it is ALL about love. YES, even before sex, and the love shouldn’t rely on the sex! You guys probably never heard of this, but uh, it’s called sacrifice. It means, you give up your wants and needs to fulfill those of your spouses.
Imagine if one of your children found out about mommy’s other lover, what would you say? “Well, little Timmy, daddy isn’t really satisfying mommy’s needs. The kid will confused and will mentally mess him up for a long time. I know, I’ve seen it happen every time.
The divorce rate is 50% and climbing because people rush into marriage, thinking it’ll be all peachy and fun forever. WRONG. You must work at it, whiny children, work at it. Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s easy, but overall, it’s the most fulfilling thing in the world to be loyal to your lover and friend for your entire life.
I bet there’s not a ONE couple with perfect, synchronous sexual patterns FOREVER in the world. So, you wanna discount marriage all together? What a moral society we have!
If you “people” (breeding animals), want great sex all the time with different people, DON’T GET MARRIED. And if you are married with needs and you’re can’t get it at the rate your getting it, you might try a little sacrifice…good for the character ;)

Rachel  August 31, 2008, 6:11 AM

Why do you think there is a higher percentage of child/teen suicides, pregnancies, runaways, crime, etc. in the more recent generations? Because of the divorce rate skyrocketing. Why does divorce happen? Because two seemingly mature and well-rounded adults can’t seem to pull love and appreciation from a little work and sacrifice. Love is hard, people, you can’t stay in a perpetual “puppy love.” It just doesn’t work that way. Another reason why we split up is because society is now more than ever focussed on the ME ME ME factor. What I want, what I need, what can work for ME. What about what your spouse needs, wants, and works for him/her? If both put in the effort, and be persistent with it like responsible adults, a marriage can’t go wrong. And what about what’s best for the FAMILY, not just you? You you you. Grow up, and maybe our children will properly, also. Our children don’t need friends in us, they need guidance and moral support. Not some skewed view of acceptance of a persons “needs” no matter how deviant or depraved it may be.

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