By The Duchess, 28th July 2016

The Ashley Madison Debate

Is it Ever OK to Cheat?

Is it Ever OK to Cheat?

This time last year (21th July 2015), the media was awash with the news that moral crusaders had hacked the Ashley Madison website in the US. The Glass House Girls were buzzing opinion and debate around the subject.

For those of you who may have been hiding under a rock somewhere and still have no clue what Ashley Madison is… in short, it is a website that offers you the chance to cheat on your spouse. Yes. Such a website does indeed exist!

This particular website, (and it’s not the only one that exists)  boasts 37 million members worldwide and lives by the philosophy and moral code that “Life is short. Have an affair.” Essentially, you log on, create a profile and browse a selection of people in your area that are ‘up for an affair’ and take your pick. Up until now, all information has been kept confidential and under lock and key. That is, until July 2015. A group called “The Impact Team” successfully hacked into the Ashley Madsion site and held the details and confidential information of all 37 million clients (including 1.2 million in the UK alone) to ransom. They vowed to keep the details confidential (including credit card numbers and proof of transactions), but only if the website was shut down entirely.

The Impact Team believe that the website wrecks marriages and members should not have anonymity because they are ‘cheating dirtbags and deserve no discretion.’

The story sparked debate all across the world. Is it ever ok to cheat? Was it ok for The Impact Team to take the personal lives and marriages of others into their own hands?

In my opinion, I have always disagreed with cheating. It is something I stand by very strongly. Both my husband and I have discussed this issue at length. I have been cheated on in most of my relationships but have never once cheated myself.
Because I believe that the day you start to look at another person in that way should be the day that you realise there is something fundamentally wrong in your relationship. That is when it is time to either stand up to the issues and resolve them, or walk away. There is no in-between.

However, I am not a cold hearted cow. I also realise that love and relationships are incredibly complicated. Each relationship is as unique as a fingerprint and no one ever knows what goes on behind closed doors. The wife who is being beaten up by her husband or emotionally abused; she wants to escape but can’t and finds someone who will make her feel safe and happy for a few hours. Or the husband with an ill wife suffering from dementia or Alzheimers… Is it ok to cheat then?

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When the news broke about the Ashley Madison hacking incident, it was a topic that got all of The Glass House Girls quite riled. So, not one to be biased, I asked Lady Lolita and Miss Pollyanna to also chip in with their own views:

Lady Lolita:
“Who has a right to judge what is right and what is wrong? The Impact Team of sanctimonious do-gooders, masking as Superheroes for the cuckolded, should go fight a bigger cause. No I don’t like cheating scumbags who are too weak to confront their relationship issues and sign up for a cheap thrill, but the cheated-on are rarely without fault. Because a spouse that fulfills you emotionally, sexually and spiritually does not get cheated on.

My issue is not in someone finding love and attention in the arms of someone who is not their own husband or wife, after all I have been The Other Woman, my problem is with the cold hard premeditated act of joining a website to do it. Call me an old romantic, but sometimes something better DOES come along and as much as you fight it you can’t deny the power of love, fate and the forbidden, and your head is turned. It’s not natural to stay with one person forever, it takes effort. But to purposely sign up to cheat… there’s something desperate and sad about that.

I felt sorry for all involved. You can’t blackmail a successful (albeit immoral) company to close down because they saw a gap in the market and a public need for their service. Should we also shut down all liquor stores, casinos, Bingo halls and cake shops? Obesity, gambling and alcoholism also get in the way of a couple’s relationship and attraction for one another. But that’s for THEM to sort out… not us. Because a marriage isn’t always worth fighting for.”

Miss Pollyanna:
“A successful marriage is one that is abundant in love, mutual respect and honesty.  Of course I would never condone a cheat but I do think that none of us have the right to judge… or go around hacking sites. What we give out we get back and all that… Let others live THEIR lives and concentrate on yourselves, hackers.

By zooming in on the ‘problem’ (which is actually your problem now because you have gotten yourself tangled up in the web,) you are only creating more ‘cheats’ in all their varying guises. Plus you are missing a trick: sometimes married men AND women have very legitimate reasons to stray… Have YOU ever been in a domestic violence relationship – be that as the victim of mental or physical abuse? Sometimes an affair is THE only way for a woman or man to wake up, smell the coffee and realise they are far more worthy than their daily abuser would have them think. Extreme? Maybe.

But I’ll bet a great number of the people whose details were listed on that website would tell you the saying ‘you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors‘ wasn’t invented for nothing.  So let’s keep our noses planted firmly in our own business, stop critiquing others and ask ourselves this: Are we judgmental for judgmental’s sake? Or could it be that these ‘cheaters’ simply reflect back ‘hideous’ traits of our own characters? I have a sneaky suspicion it’s the latter. It’s so much easier to deflect and draw attention to the negative behaviour of others than it is to work on ourselves, after all…”

The Duchess: Overall, I believe that you cannot judge someone else’s marriage. I believe that each couple and each individual needs to set their own boundaries. It is not up to some hack team to decide what is morally correct for 3.7 million people around the world. They have no idea if the partners in these relationships are abusive or dangerous. What happens when they find out and lash out? Who is responsible then? The wife because she dared to cheat on her abusive husband? Or the husband for being abusive? Or the hacks for putting a vulnerable person in a dangerous situation?

So, The Impact Team made their point loud and clear and doing so only resulted in giving the website more free press and exposure. Think about the repercussions of your actions and let people judge their own lives for themselves. After all, those who sit in glass houses, should never throw stones!

Unless you are a Glass House Girl, of course.

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