The Infidelity Preventative.

Via Wendy Strgar
on Jun 28, 2013
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“Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud.” ~ Sophocles

Yesterday, I interviewed Noel Biderman, the founder and CEO of Ashley Madison, the online affair portal that boasts 19 million profiles in 26 countries.

Every day, the business of cheating generates 26,000 new users and over $91,000. His empire, built on what isn’t working in human intimacy, is booming. Our conversation was lively; he was accustomed to the push back and articulate about the challenges of making a fortune on the devastating betrayals that his website generates.

Initially, he argued that it wasn’t the desire for sex as much as a longing for passion and attention that motivated so many of his female customers to initiating affairs.

Only moments later, he claimed that his website was actually helpful to marriage longevity because it allowed people to stay together and have their sexual needs taken care of elsewhere.

He was versed in the mountains of literature that supports how quickly sexual desire wanes in monogamous relationships. This is the research-based justification that is commonly dispensed about why relationships fail. However, when pushed on a personal level about the prospect of his own 10 year marriage reaching its expiration date and his wife using his website to have an affair, he didn’t hesitate to admit that it would be devastating.

Without missing a beat, he also said that he wouldn’t blame the website anymore than he would blame an iPhone that she used to call her lover.

I agreed with him that while no one can make anyone else have an affair, and probably by the same token, stop anyone from doing it either. The reason that his business earns so much public disdain and  is frequently refused in advertising and investment is because the Ashley Madison service takes even a passing notion of infidelity and turns it into a reality with the simple click of a mouse.

Before the Ashley Madison virtual meeting ground, getting into an affair and keeping it going took a lot more time, effort and determination. Now, getting involved in extramarital wandering is as easy as shopping online.

One renowned television show “Cheaters,” does accept their advertising slogan: “Life is short, have an affair,” which seems like an oxymoron. The commercial break to the violent reality show betrayals advertises the fun of affairs. To this he said, “Most people don’t get caught cheating.”

This is where the interview got lively, because as far as I am concerned, lies are always discovered on some level. Recent biochemical research documents how human dishonesty is registered on a cellular level, maintaining a low grade tension throughout the body.

Besides that, the people closest to us read our emotions and sense truth in ways that make our language thin and transparent. There is no compartmentalizing lies and intimate betrayal most of all.

What was most surprising and maybe even endearing in the conversation was when he told me I was marketing my authentic drive towards sustaining loving relationships all wrong. According to Neil, “The love thing is too general and misunderstood. You should be marketing your package as an infidelity preventative.”

It gave me pause. Would this marketing angle bring me a notch closer to the millions he brings in promoting infidelity? Maybe, but no matter what you call it, preventing infidelity and removing the possibility of the devastation of betrayal from your future takes the hard work of loving.

It means that you continue to find ways to listen and focus your attention on the ways that you are heard and seen. It means that you don’t turn away from time in your bedroom whether you are in the mood or not. It means that you agree to walk the sometimes narrow path that brings you back into physical contact with someone who might well have hurt your feelings. It means that you grow up and stop expecting the early drug-like euphoria of falling in love to characterize love over time.

Neil called my remarkably changing and passionate sex life of 30 years with the same man an anomaly; I don’t agree.

I call it the hard work of Good Clean Love and I know that anyone that brings courage, patience and the willingness to not quit on their love can find the same.


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Ed: Bryonie Wise


About Wendy Strgar

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family. In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy, she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative advice. It has been called "the essential guide for relationships." The book is available on ebook, as well as in paperback online. Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.


7 Responses to “The Infidelity Preventative.”

  1. Valarie says:

    "….lies are always discovered on some level. Recent biochemical research documents how human dishonesty is registered on a cellular level, maintaining a low grade tension throughout the body."

    So nice to see this articulated, much more that research has shown favorable results toward the likelyhood that it is so.

    Thank you, Wendy! I loved this article!

  2. Cindy says:

    Everything consumable is easier these days. It is easier to shop, look at porn, buy stock, sell attic crap, find a date, find a less than scrupulous lover. But I truly believe human integrity remains. There are those who would have an affair no matter. There are those than do it because it is easier. Either way, the affair is in the mind and infidelity does not require actual, physical closure. Ask any addict: scarcity does not matter. Only drive matters. If you can heal from the affair? Do it. If you cannot? Be somewhat grateful that you were not duped and move on. I do know of a few marriages where unforseen and extreme circumstances have led to affairs that are open and okay by both, and have kept bigger trauma at bay. This requires unbelievable honesty. The internet does not CAUSE infidelity. The partner, alone, is responsible.

  3. shetuck says:

    I concur with your assessment. Married for 30 years to a man who betrayed me several times. I forgave until I just couldn't anymore. I no longer believe one can prevent infidelity…you can only prevent YOUR infidelity. I like this: "human integrity remains." I shall ponder that…I needed to hear it. Thanks for sharing.

  4. jsmall says:

    "It means that you don’t turn away from time in your bedroom whether you are in the mood or not."

    I find this incredibly problematic. The large majority of rapes take place within established relationships, and women in particular are often taught to "lie back and think of England", which sends the message that their own enjoyment of sex is not important or necessary. I think it's very dangerous to instruct people to deny their own authentic feelings and engage in sex when they don't want to, because this can lead to resentment, guilt, and a sense that it is not acceptable to be present in the moment and honest with oneself without having one's partner lose interest. Likewise, I think it can cause huge rifts in a relationship when one partner engages in sex out of a sense of obligation, because the other may always wonder whether such contact is genuine, or coming from a place of appeasement.
    I'd much rather make love with my partner knowing that they are truly excited and invested in the experience, instead of wondering whether they truly wanted it or not. I want my intimate relationships to be safe spaces to articulate a "yes" or a "no" without fear of judgement or abandonment.

    I'm all for working on physical intimacy to keep it exciting and encourage longevity within relationships, but I think the number one priority should always be personal integrity and authenticity. That's just plain sexy.

  5. katiemac says:

    As I was reading this, I was thinking it sounded familiar. I love your blog, Wendy, and read every post. Thank you for still believing in fidelity and lasting relationships. There are days when your words get me out of a funk and back into the rhythm I want to be in. xo

  6. jade says:

    I didn't interpret the author to imply that anyone should have sex if they are uncomfortable. There are times when sex just doesn't feel right emotionally or physically and no one should feel pressured to "lie back and think of England" (though I also believe that if you are in a relationship and continually feel emotional or physical discomfort during sex, those issues need to be explored).

    when you've been with someone for a long time, it can be very easy to neglect sexual intimacy for any number of other things. I think the author is saying that sex needs to be made a priority, even if your first reaction to the thought might be "I'm too tired" or "I had a bad day". In the context of a healthy relationship, it is important to examine the internal blocks you may have against having sex during any specific instance, and then decide if that (or those) particular blocks can be moved past so that healthy intimacy can be created.

  7. Melstar65 says:

    How right you are Cindy! The internet does not cause it – just as a loaded gun is harmless unless in the hands of someone with the intent to use it!