Ashley Madison Hack: All Fun and Puritanical Games Until Somebody Gets Dead

Comments

1
37,000,00? That many? Uh, wow!
2
I think it's unfair to pin these suicides on the hack. Even if they were prompted by the release of data (specious assumption), they'd have to have a pretty extreme value system to choose death over the prospect of, say, getting divorced. It also speaks to, whatever these folks were ALREADY DOING, they considered it shameful enough to they never wanted to deal with the consequences.
3
Dan, I appreciate that you can have a nuanced view for this woman. And, hopefully, she will be able to influence her conservative customer base to broaden their definition of what conservative can mean.

But I'm doubtful.
4
This woman may well be one of those who claims Dan is a child abuser for having a child in a same sex household.
5
@3, 4: Well, if that's the case, then it's safe to say that Dan is behaving more like a true Christian than she was before. Proving once again that the people following the most Christian behavior I know are atheists.
6
@1, it's probably substantially less than that when you consider all the fake accounts, double accounts, etc.

@2 we know next to nothing about the purported suicides at this point. That sad, cheating, is a lot more dire crime in some communities, as opposed to others. Think highly religious, where excommunication may be the result (i.e. Loss of all family, friends, career, etc.). Same goes for closeted individuals who may get outted as a result of the hack. For these types, the shame and consequences is just too great... And so yes, I could see suicides directly happening from the hack.
7
The fact that she may have learned something and (hopefully) moved on from writing hateful things about "non-traditional" marriage points out another big problem with this hack: it covers a long period of time and the people on the list may have, after a moment of weakness, come clean to their spouse or gotten a divorce or gone to counseling by now but there is no room for that context in a data dump. That was the case with one of the commenters on the previous thread.
8
I had an account. Never did anything, got divorced before having a sexual and emotional affair. Am I to be condemned?
10
Are you suggesting society base its morality, opinions and judgments on outliers...5 or 6, or 40 or 50 out of 37 million?

If that is your position on outliers, you are then the best anti-vaccination proponent around are you not? There ARE 1 in 1 million adverse reactions to vaccines...400 kids in America will have issues.

Basing a point of view on an AM and making the statement of "don't judge" because of statistically irrelevant outliers is just as ridiculous as "don't vaccinate anyone because my friends kid had a horrible crippling reaction"*

*I do have that friend and even she believes in Vaccination...just not multiples at once.
11
@8, no.
12
@9, we don't know who this woman is, or what view, specifically, she was championing.

Rekers was an especially egregious hypocrite. A closet case who loudly condemned gays and pushed damaging conversion-therapy. He did real harm to people. His words and actions very likely ruined lives and pushed people to suicide. So yes, he absolutely deserved to be outed.

If this woman's hypocrisy is as egregious as Rekers', I imagine Dan will condemn her just as badly. It's also possible she was a garden variety office drone in a conservative setting that previously believed in "traditional' marriage who may (or may not) have disapproved of marriage equality but didn't really do any great harm. Dan is simply giving her the benefit of the doubt. He is generously unwilling to condemn her without knowing more about who she was and what she was promoting.

I'm not actually surprised by Dan's apparent thoughtfulness at all.
13
I am not at all fond of the morality police, but since this has already happened, it would be great if we grow as a society as a result. If we develop a broader image of marriage and a stronger sense of mind-your-own-damned-business, perhaps it will have been worth it.

I went on AM out of loneliness and despair, and found friendship, both male and female, with others trapped in terrible marriages trying to do right by their children.

This woman had my sympathy until the revelation that she was paid very well to damage the lives of others. Especially if she was working against marriage equality, and that "male and female" bit suggests she is bi. That is a pretty uncomplicated outing of a hypocrite in my book.
15
@10, your comparison defies logic. Talk about false equivalencies. To be honest, I have no fucking idea what youre arguing.

If people don't vaccinate in sufficient numbers, then there is more illness and death, which is a bad thing. I think just about everyone here, including Dan Savage, agree vaccinations are a good thing.

Now, if AM doesn't get hacked, well people keep on cheating (or using AM for other "valid" purposes), and there private information stays private.

If AM, does get hacked, some cheaters are exposed, some non-cheates are exposed; and infidelity rates ultimately stay at the same level because people learn to just use Craigslist, OK Cupid, etc.

Anyway, your logic is kind of fucked. Anti-vaxxers cause death. These hackers may have already caused two deaths, and ruined many other lives.
16
And for what it's worth the hacking and release of private non criminal citizens identity for perceived moral wrongdoing is itself immoral and wrong. In all cases. Whether I like the people involved or not.
17
@10, What are you even carrying on about. The outliers prove that infidelity is not as simple as most people think, and by forcibly outing some of them, the AM leak may bring a little more nuance to the discourse around this topic.
18
I guess Greenwald’s support of the download of an entire US Gov’t network, where Afghani informants were killed was okay then? I always find Greenwald very hypocritical...
19
When the dust settles on this scandal, it is going to cause a cultural shift in what people believe about monogamy. Think about the numbers. 30 million Americans signed up, 85% were men. There are only 80 million American males between 25-64. Now consider a significant percentage of those men aren't married. However you run the numbers, something between 1 in 3 on the high side to 1 in 6 on the low side of married men were on Ashley Madison. Now add in all the men who weren't on AM but who were on Craigslist or Tindr or similar sites. Or having affairs the old fashioned way.

When the full lists become public, and it will, it will blow your mind. I took a look at the raw dump for my city. Wow. Neighbors whom even I wouldn't suspect of being on there - paid members. Some women I would never expect. Some of my friends wives. A dozen of my colleagues. Not just the men with big swinging dicks, but the nerdy types, the doting father types, the picture of perfect and shy husband types. And that is of the email addresses that I can decipher. There are thousands of people who were wise enough not to use an identifying email.

Despite all the cultural pressure to maintain monogamy, despite the risk to assets and family and reputation. It seems as if most people will not remain faithful. I am not here to pretend that infidelity isn't tremendously painful for those affected by it, but surely there is another way to cope with something that seemingly affects most marriages. Perhaps the silver lining in this horrendous breach of privacy and the fallout of the coming divorces, broken homes and suicides to follow: fidelity is not more important than family.
20
Look SB. If God is cool with daughters getting in the family way with their father, then he's fine with men fucking with each other. He just forgot to send that chapter thru.
21
Your use of the word pervert, SB, is offensive. Please refrain from using it.
I don't see where Dan doesn't try hard to keep famies together. Wtf is your problem? Haven't you got a dog to kick?
22
From a recent AlterNet post : "The BBC reported that over 1,200 users have .sa email domains. Not only is adultery illegal in Saudi Arabia, it's punishable by death." I hope the self-righteous dickbags who leaked this information are happy.

24
@14: Yo, I listen to Dan Savage. So now I'm a deviant or a pervert, by your postulate.
Well, I'm a healthy young heterosexual male in a long-term committed relationship with a woman I intend to marry, and I have nothing more perverted than a submissive streak in bed. So I really don't see how I'm a pervert, and that leaves only deviant. So how am I a deviant? I'm a little anti-social, but I can get along with people just fine when I want to, and I've never been involved in anything actively destructive. So, Seattleblues, how am I a deviant?
(Oh yeah, it's that I'm Jewish. Or maybe that I know more than Seattleblues about things that matter. Either way he thinks I'm going to hell.)
25
It seems to me that the defining characteristic of conservatives is lack of empathy. And by empathy, I don't mean feeling sympathy for the cute blonde cancer victim down at the Children's Hospital. Conservative seem to lack the ability to imagine what it is like to live as someone different than themselves. Conservatives seem to only care about prison conditions when they have been to prison, to care about drug addicts when they get addicted to painkillers, to support gay rights when their children turn out gay. So it is no surprise to me that this woman's conservative views on fidelity and marriage "softened" when she herself ran into the realities of a difficult marriage. Wouldn't hold my breath that any of her other conservative views evolved.
26
Re @21. Families .
27
While I generally the posting of this data distasteful at best (it's a slippery slope between this and hacking the user data of gay or kink porn sites, for example), and generally agree with many of Greenwald's points here, do find him to be a fucking hypocrite for seeing nuance here but not in the indiscriminate release of classified information. Maybe some good came out of releasing some of those classified documents, but some bad has also come from turning them all over to the Russian government, and possibly the Chinese government as well. Why he couldn't be nuanced in the rest of his fucking life, too?
28
Just a thought - for those couples that don't want to do open relationships or monogamish relationships (i.e. ethical non-monogamy), why not treat infidelity as another of the white-lies that successful marriages require. Just as you wouldn't tell your spouse that you pine for your well hung aggressive ex-boyfriend, or that you fantasize of fucking the barista, or that you vented really hard on girls night that you are hoping your husband is asleep when you get home......or other thoughts we intrinsically know our spouses think - either transiently or permanently. But you don't let you spouse know these things because it's cruel to them (unless they get off on the story of the well hung ex).

If infidelity is treated in the blind-eye category, then it becomes incumbent on the straying spouse not to engage in extra-marital sex with someone who could expose the cheating. No secretaries, no personal trainers, and (sorry Dan) no baristas. No one who could cause embarrassment to the family. If you get caught because your spouse snooped, it is treated as the same as if you electronically eavesdropped on your spouse and heard things you shouldn't have.

Is that a workable alternative?
29
@28 "Is that a workable alternative?" LOL NO!

Mankind has been bickering, arguing, all manner of squabbling and killing over sex since the dawn of time. There is no "workable alternative" to any of it. We like sex and we are going to fight over it.

30
Of course, Tim. Why didn't the millions of people before you, who have wanted to be able to have their cake and eat it,
Think of this way easy option.
Genius.
Tim. You know this is not a white lie, fucking other people, cheating. Being naked with, exchanging bodily fluids, being intimate with..
If a marriage no longer or never did satisfy one person's sexual needs, then that person needs to bite the bullet and come clean with the other person.
Maybe they leave out the bit of never being satisfied, cause then the spouse( and general public), would want to know Why the hell then, did we get married?
So, bite the bullet and tell the other person that they are sexually unfulfilled.
The conversation is then, Open.
If after much talking, doing some therapy etc, the situation is then intractable.. Then maybe the unhappy spouse has to leave the marital home. Maybe then, the children are shared 50/50. Money, that has to be sorted as well.
Time apart, no new relationships to walk into.. Just two seperate people having time to think. Who knows what would happen to both of them, during a seperation period? Things could shift, things could change. No hope of that, if other lovers in the mix. No hope in hell.
Sex is not having a bloody cup of tea with someone, and no matter how many ways you try to view it, it never will be.
31
"Big swinging dicks"
Do people actually write/think that way?
32
@Tim, if you're still having regular sex with your wife, then it would be an asshole move to expose her to possible STIs. Condoms only reduce risk, they don't eliminate it. And you can't be tested for HPV, but you could pass it to your wife. Undiagnosed and untreated, HPV can cause cervical cancer.

That said, I've come to think that if a parent thinks it's vital to keep the household together (perhaps because they don't trust the courts to evaluate the child or children's best interest), and if they can't stay without cheating, there are ways of reducing the risks. Online affairs don't have the risk of STIs and can restore your feeling of being desired.

Or have one outside partner, a person you get to know and trust. Both of you get tested regularly. The cheater still has to accept being seen as the "bad guy" if caught... But I could see a reasonable person deciding to accept those risks in order to raise the kids to adulthood
33
My feeling is that, pretty much across the board, if you feel the need to 'out' someone's private behavior as a way of condemning their abominable public policies then you just aren't trying hard enough to win on the merits. After that one person's messy fall from grace (and the collateral damage to the public perception of whatever behavior's being outed), there will probably be someone even worse with a slightly cleaner record to take their place.
34
So Erica, if Mr P had just continued behind your back, sticking with one woman etc.. For what ten / fifteen yrs.. You'd have been fine with that?
I sure wouldn't have been. And the other person. They never get a " real" public relationship. They just the other for ten - fifteen yrs, as the kids grow up.
My daughter is in a relationship with a man who has three children under six.
She and her partner have sorted with his ex the best way to look after the Children, where they have shared custody. Kids have had some anger, as expected, still.. All are being loved and looked after. Children do adapt if the adults take the time to help them adapt.
If the connection is broken between the adults for one of them, then it's broken.
If shaking it up, by telling one's truth, that's worth a try. And it may bring about a transformation in the dynamic.
Cheating will only bring sludge.
35
@2 - someone could be *this* close to suicide in the first place, i.e. not mentally healthy or stable, and possibly either (a) the prospect of humiliation or (b) removal of the one thing that was keeping them sane, or some combination thereof, could make the whole staying-alive thing just too much hassle.
36
Another great example proving the adage that no conservative is capable of empathy on an issue until they're personally and directly affected by it, in a way they cannot control, spin, or hide.
37
@34, obviously, I wouldn't be fine with that level of betrayal. That's why I advised Tim that anyone choosing that path would have to do so knowing that they would be seen as the "bad guy." But if someone thought that was best for their kids, I can see why they'd make that choice.
38
This really isn't complicated at all: what disqualifies her from a "privacy shelter" from the opprobrium of the left or right, and qualifies her for maybe losing her job, is that she has made a career out of shoving opprobrium and oppression (financial and legal) onto others. She chose to be a high-profile public figure on this issue; nobody forced that upon her.

Greenwald, in falling all over himself to be mr pro-privacy, is making too much of this. This isn't a complicated or tricky legal theory: did you make a public career out of persecuting others over "morality". Nobody really gives a shit that high-profile Jack Welch clearly cheated a lot. This is right up there with Haggard, Rekers and more to the point: Oxy addict El Rushbo. Fuck you very much lady. Sorry you have to learn Empathy the hard way, but Karma's a bitch, isn't it? It's known as "being hoist upon your own petard" or poetic justice. This is so so so like the goddamn anti-choicers who show up pregnant at the back door of PP.

And here's why, vengeful Schadenfreude aside, this is necessary and good: people who are forced to live in relatively transparent societies learn the importance of tolerance and respect. I was shocked, the first time I visited the Netherlands, and went walking through Amsterdam at dusk, at how many people were sitting in their ground floor and basement apartments, shades wide open, on public display for all to see. I then think of this very conservative society which gave sanctuary to Spinoza, and smokes very little pot, despite having legalized it, and it's clear: when you live cheek by jowl, whatever your own values and personal code of conduct, you start to appreciate the importance of tolerance because hiding is not an option. This is what Americans need to learn: it's none of my fucking business what you and your spouse get up to and with whom. Hiding behind "privacy" (which is now gone, that's the new reality folks) only allows us to avoid learning that lesson.

If she wanted my sympathy and me at the ramparts along with Greenwald defending her, then she should've either realized she had to just tough it out until her spouse was dead, or step back from a job she could no longer do. I dumped a spouse, which, while I had every right to choose "me", wasn't consequence free. It damaged her, emotionally and financially. In the interest of mitigating the impact, I took on a much more onerous financial burden that the law would have required of me, because marrying her was a choice I made and leaving was a choice I made and because I am an ethical person who wanted to leave the least damage in my wake I could without utterly martyring myself. Sometimes none of the options are particularly good.

I would've had more sympathy for her if her husband had given her a pass, and I do wonder at how many people there are who had understandings (which included social monogamy), who will have that violated as a consequence of this hack. If they had reached an agreement, then yes, it's really nobody else's business, and she could be...maybe forgiven for staying in the job out of the need to be financially responsible for children and a sick spouse. But even then, I come back to all the people - same sex families - who were faced with the same kinds of really rough situations, and women like this one were all too happy to pile on legally.

@8 : what does it matter now? You are divorced. As someone who was accused of a number of ugly things by my ex when I decided I'd had enough and left her (hell hath no fury like a woman scorned), in time people see the truth about you. Good living is, indeed, the best revenge.
39
@33 - no, people are clearly "winning on the merits", as in successfully making your affirmative argument (cf. Windsor v. U.S.), but sometimes to deliver the coup d'grace it's necessary to completely invalidate your oppnent's affirmative claim by utterly negating it. This kind of outing does that.

In this case, these people would say, "yes, but our oppressive, controlling-of-female-sexuality approach to life works just as well too"...when, no, it doesn't.
40
I have a feeling SB was on AM.
41
@19
When the dust settles on this scandal, it is going to cause a cultural shift in what people believe about monogamy.


One would hope so, but I doubt very much that it will - I expect that basically a lot of our attitudes about monogamy are somewhat hardwired - like most of human sexuality - and not just some artificial cultural construct. I personally hope it changes attitudes about MYOB (anyone's monogamy or lack thereof is between them and their SO, nobody else), but even then: that runs counter to the pathological desire some people have to need to control others (as a way of controlling themselves?).

@40 - One can only hope.
42
That's funny. Greenwald was perfectly fine with the indiscriminate distribution of unredacted classified information to the public. I guess it was easy to be a pompous INFORMATION WANTS TO BE FREEZE PEACHES libertarian and jeopardize peoples' lives as long as it wasn't his or his friends' necks on the line.
43
Are we forgetting the degree to which people who cheat lie about how bad their marriage is in order to justify their actions? This woman's story could be complete bullshit. The only thing we know about her is that she cheated...so why do we trust that she's telling the story the way it actually happened?
44
Maybe one the many evangelical prayers aimed at Justice Ginsburg took a bad rebound.

I wonder about the timing of the "loveless" aspect.

"Softened" comes across as generic weasel terminology used to try to play on the sympathy of people one has wronged. Mr Savage doesn't want to see her lose her job, but I don't know why on earth he doesn't want her to have quit long before now. It's certainly possible she's had a genuine change of heart, but I suspect that whatever she may write in the future, if anything, won't be all that different. I'll put my opening guess at, "Happy honeymoon - oh, and you're fired."
45
Aside from the outing of hypocrites, this hack wasn't a good thing. My boyfriend is married. He hasn't had sex with his wife in almost a decade. She objects to his crossdressing, and won't even have vanilla sex with him anymore because of it. Our relationship has helped him stay in the marriage until now that all his kids are off at college. They have a DADT agreement--she pretends it isn't happening, they never discuss it, and he's there for her most of the time to do the husband things she requires. They are friends and support each other.

He wasn't on Ashley Madison, but if he had been, all their private business would have been exposed to the neighbors, and she would be the one primarily shamed. When men get extra on the side, they are thought of as studs. And if a woman doesn't suspect her husband is cheating, she wouldn't check the AM hack dump. If she does suspect he is cheating, there are more private ways to get confirmation, like snooping his Internet activity.

But maybe as Dan said, this will lead to a more tolerant society, once people see the scope of adultery.
46
AFinch's post resonates with me.

The AM hack never surprised me. Because of my line of work, I am already very conscious that 90% of security in the internet is through obscurity, and that is no security at all.

The fallout of the hack, though, has forced me to confront my own concepts of privacy. I value privacy very highly. I am a master at power through the limited sharing of information. My spouse, intimately involved in governmental security clearances, says the true power is living a life as you are. In polygraphs, they asked him if he'd worn women's clothing. He said, sure. He isn't embarrassed.

This touches Finch's point.

Expose us to the fiery light of day, and we learn how flawed and mundane we are. The information stops having power.

I know Glen and Dan S posted Anonymous woman as an example of the harm the hackers did. Until now, I'd have agreed with G & D. Anonymous, however, has changed my mind because it forces an accounting. We, as a society, must take a good look at ourselves in the mirror - as we are, not as we pretend we are.

Ms. Anonymous is going to pay a high price - just as much as she was going to pay had her affairs been found out in any other way . She seems oblivious that she might have been outed in all the mundane ways IRL. An inadvertently opened email account, a surprise visit, a private eye. (My first husband found out I was cheating because I wasn't where I said I was, as an example.) And then Anonymous's life would crumble to the ground just as surely: the morality clause was triggered by the affairs, not AM.

So her life will burn. Mine did for a while. But then Ms. Anonymous may rise from the ashes a better person, a person who understands herself, other people, her husband, with a larger and kinder heart. In Buddhism, being forced to sit in your own pain opens up the door to empathizing and becoming closer to other people's suffering. Perhaps she will defend the teachers fired over morality clauses for being pregnant.

Perhaps Anonymous and all these other AM users, particularly those who hypocritically preach and seek to legislate morals for others, will come face to face with their own failing and be kinder to those who fail around them.

I feel compassion to her in her pain. I feel compassion to the crying husbands, wives, and children right now.

I feel absolute compassion for the people in Saudi Arabia who face death.

Ultimately, the hack was an ugly thing to do. And it was done in a way that destroys so many people. They didn't need to do the data dump. They could

And I hope out of the ashes, we build, inch by inch, a better more compassionate society. By living in the open despite the social consequences, as many of the civil rights activities of our time have done, is the only way we seem to move forward. The true power, as SO says, is living your life without apology for who you are. Be private, no one needs to know your business, but if the business is exposed, hold your head up high.
47
To reiterate-

"The smug moralists" don'r listen to you, Savage, for good reason.

Hypocrisy, an ethical system that shifts with your emotions, sexual indiscriminacy suitable to an animal but not a human being and which most find repugnant- these are all things you want to make mainstream.

But the reason " the smug moralists" see you with disgust isn't any of those things. Nor is it your chosen homosexual behavior. It's your insistence that everyone else celebrate your various moral sicknesses. It's your loud, public shrill insistence thst rot and corruption be treated as normal and healthy.

Is Duggar a hypocrite? Yeah. And that's sad and distressing to those around him. To some degree it must be disappointing to those who share his view of Christianity. But at least they and others with a functioning moral and ethical system are trying to be better.

You? You and your vile pals want to drag everyone else into your own filth rather than trying to get out of it yourselves. And that's maybe the essence of evil.

So don't be surprised when decent people trying to be better don't listen to you. Nothing you say of any value to them. At all.

48
@marrena, why would they even be looking?

I am not plugging the random email of my boss, my neighbor, my father, etc. to find out what he or she is doing. I just don't care.

My understanding is that two types of trawlers of information are there - the people who want to gleefully out political figures and people who want to try and blackmail cheaters by outing them to their spouses. Since your boyfriend is in an up and up DADT relationship, I have hard time seeing an email to his wife busting anything up.

49
@39 -- I disagree. Obergefell and Windsor are the coups. While people voluntarily coming out changed hearts and minds to built the foundation for these victories, I'm just not really convinced that outings did much to change policy or perceptions. If anything, they had the inadvertent effect of shaming the private behavior rather than the public hypocrisy.

I guess that I'm fundamentally uncomfortable with the idea of millions of individual judges, juries, and reputation executioners each separately deciding which victims of mass privacy violations are simultaneously "influential and hypocritical enough" to merit a good old fashioned public shaming.
50
@SB

You're reasoning is illogical.

First, I don't see Duggar "trying to be better" - what a laugh - I see him sinning his buttocks off without compunction, in direct contradiction the moral code he is trying to legislate for the rest of us. And he doesn't cry "boo hoo, I'm a sinner" until he gets caught.

Second, "drag into filth?" You mean, what? Being homosexual? Well, my church accepts SSM, so by my belief system, homosexuality is just fine and not "filth." So which church's ethics get to rule? Mainline Catholic? Mainline Baptist? Buddhist? None of them can, because they conflict about what is ethical or "living well" (divorce? homosexuality? etc.)

Therefore, we return to a country of secular laws. As long as those who you contend are "trying to live well" don't use their Sky Daddy bronze age ethics to govern my life, I will leave them alone. Its a free country.

Tell you what, DS no doubt will shut up over the shrill insistence that people accept homosexuality, when your "smug moralists" shut up about how we all need to live our lives how their Sky Daddy says.... a way they themselves apparently cannot.
51
I recently commented elsewhere that people need to really consider the names in context. Both mine and my husband's emails are on that list. We both joined before we met each other. Nether of us were married but were in relationships. We have been open and honest with each other about the fact we were on there even before this hack happened.

I was attacked for saying that many people whose names are being released may have not truly been looking to cheat or were on there a long time ago before their current marriages and that we shouldn't jump to conclusions. I was told my husband I are both losers for cheating in the first place (which neither of us actually did) and that my marriage is destined to fail and that I am fooling myself if I think my husband is telling the truth about not going on there since we married.

What I left out in the original post is that my husband and I are Poly. We used Ashley Madison to look for partners. We also use OK Cupid which is where we not stick. Ashley Madison tended to be too desperate for our tastes. I know my husband is honest because I trust him and we talk about how we meet people and who we are seeing. We both agree that this hack is disgusting and an invasion of privacy. Am I sorry that people like Dugger are being exposed? Nope. He is a public voice for Homophobia who profits by shilling his brand of morality. But Jim down the street whose wife decided that sex was no longer part of her marriage shouldn't be shamed for being human.
52
Take everything the media and others say about the hack and its revelations with a grain of salt: There's more fiction than fact involved. The Weekly reports that Bill Gates and Barack Obama emails, no less, were found in the data dumps. adding: "data searchers should beware: As one domain name used to register on Ashley Madison—fuck.gov—suggests, anything goes at this site. Visitors can easily create false identities—the site doesn’t pre-screen members and declares it can’t guarantee the authenticity of any profile. According to one former employee, AM even makes up its own fake customer lists."
http://www.seattleweekly.com/news/960347…
53
@52.

Agreed, JPierce. Figure most of this is hokum.

@51.

So what is the problem? You saw each other's emails, you know why they were there. Who is calling you a cheat? People you told on line, or are people coming to you in IRL after finding your email there?
56
@47, Get a clue, queen.

At this point we have ample evidence the smug moralists of the world demonize others to compensate for failing to live up to their own impossible standards. The point isn’t to get the smug moralists to listen, it’s to pull back the curtain far enough so everyone else stops listening to them.
57
First off, I <3 you Dan! I did want to comment though. While I am in a monogamous same-sex marriage, I have no problem with non-monogamy, as long as it is agreed upon by both/all parties. In this woman's story, that doesn't appear to be the case. Honestly, I doubt that "cheating" (i.e., deception) can ever be a good thing. I know you think there may be valid reasons, but I am skeptical. As a cancer-warrior myself, who has also worried about dying and being alone (luckily, I have an awesome husband), I nevertheless would NOT want him to stay with me, just because he pitied me. That can only lead to contempt and resentment on the part of the non-sick spouse (and that seems clear in just the few words of her letter I read). I doubt that the husband misses that in her behavior and actions. Honestly, I'd rather have friends and family take care of me if it came to that, or a kind nurse, than a resentful spouse. And "for the sake of the children" is a TERRIBLE terrible terrible terrible argument for staying married. I have zero doubt (as someone who lived through growing up with parents who basically didn't like each other, but stayed together for me and my siblings) that this is much worse for kids than divorce. Kids aren't stupid, and this gives them a perverse sense of what a relationship is supposed to be. It is absolutely not better than divorce, and I have a feeling, in many ways, worse. I can't think of a good reason to stay married to someone, yet deceive them "for the good of the marriage". Yes, there's more to marriage than genitals, I agree whole-heartedly. But basing a marriage on deception can never be a good thing, in my opinion. If you love the person but want to have sex with others, discuss it. Otherwise, the person on the other end of the deception is getting a raw deal (perhaps the "cheater" is getting a good deal, but the cheatee is likely not). Just because the cheater thinks it's fine and they get what they are looking for out of the marriage, does not mean that it's the best for both. The husband, in this specific case, as well as the kids, deserve better.
58
@50

Try responding to what I actually wrote.

Is Mr. Duggar a con artist using a theologically... interesting... form of Christianity to fleece folks? Maybe. Apparently you know him very well. I don't so can't and didn't comment on the sincerity of his faith or repentance.

I did comment on the faith of average church attending Christians, precisely because they're average. I've sat beside them in (non quiverfull) churches. I am one. And when someone admired by the Christian community fails publicly, the response is as I described, in my experience.

Likewise, in my view homosexuality has negative effects, and is proscribed by the Christian faith. But Savages homosexual behavior- any adults- is his business. His 'monogamish' " marriage" likewise isn't my business. But just as he has the right to evangelize promiscuity and absolute license, others have the right to oppose his destructive attacks on family, marriage and healthy sexuality.

Know what law is informed by? At the core? In this country and most European nations? A judeo christian ethical and moral standard of behavior. Don't like our culture? Move somewhere you do like. See, most Americans accept as worthwhile the moral values Savage and his ilk loathe and fear. If this is a problem for you or him your happiness would seem to be best pursued elsewhere.
59
@51 - the thing is, as @46 "Expose us to the fiery light of day, and we learn how flawed and mundane we are. The information stops having power. Who cares, except you and your husband, that you are on Ashley Madison or OKCupid? If you husband doesn't care you are meeting other partners, then who really cares what someone else thinks?

@49 I think we just fundamentally disagree: the voluntary outings are exactly what drove the sea change in public opinion and if you think public perception of basic fairness doesn't inform SCOTUS you are mistaken. Further, a lot of what got bundled up in Obergefell was the very explicit findings in Perry that an equal protection clause argument applied - the findings of fact that underpinned that had everything to do with people voluntarily coming out and undercutting the villainous evil cardboard caricature of same-sexers promulgated by the religionists.
60
Bahahah

1. So you can't comment on Duggar because you "don't know his heart," but you can comment on the "average church attending Christian?" Because, there is such a person as the average "church attending Christian" and you can read his or her mind. Wow, way to hoist yourself on your own petard.

BTW, I too am an" average church attending xian" in a fully and closed monogamous marriage, so don't go down the "No True Scotsman" lane.

2. Savage doesn't loathe monogamy. What have you been smoking? He fully supports people who want to stay fully monogamous and calls people (except in extremely narrow circumstances) who steps out on his or her spouse a CPOS. Can you tell the difference? See, DS is not frightened of monogamy - he isn't advocating against it, trying to write laws against it - he simply recognizes that individuals, in their personal lives can chose a different model. Others, like Duggar, however, are so terrified of the "gays" that they try to actively legislate against them to push them out of existence. If you are part of their ilk, evidently you are the one terrified.

3. Yawn, yes yes, 300 years ago, most people in this country were christian. What to play history lesson? Sure you do! Most of our judicial system and concepts, including enumerated rights come from early Roman (ie. pagan) concepts. The entire structure of a "republic" of course was developed by Rome Republic. Of course, Athens developed the concept of democracy. So I guess you could say we are really a Pagan country,and you can leave it.

Oh wait, our letters are roman, but our numbers are arabic, maybe we are a Muslim country.

Give me a break. The Bible is not adopted into the Constitution or any of our other founding documents.

You can pontificate that the US and the rest of (extremely secular) Europe is this or that as its core. That doesn't make you or the Bible the arbiter of right and wrong. (And I don't believe you've ever read the Bible, which condones murder, rape, and all sorts of other horrible things, you just read what makes you happy). This is MY country; I pay taxes; I like it just fine; and I like the fact that, year after year, the moralists who try and control its laws based on 3000 year old writings are falling more and more by the way side. I can give you the name of several theocratic countries if you'd like to move there.... I will give you a hint. NONE of them are in the West.

61
@Ulfilas: "As a cancer-warrior myself, who has also worried about dying and being alone (luckily, I have an awesome husband), I nevertheless would NOT want him to stay with me, just because he pitied me." I was thinking that too. I certainly don't think that spending the last few years of my life with someone who pretends to love me but doesn't would be a particularly attractive state of affairs. My experience of (one of my parents being in) nursing homes is that the staff there genuinely like caring for their charges. I'd rather be in one of those than cooped up with someone who's pretending to like me while counting the days until I die and they're freed. Maybe the anonymous letter writer's husband, if he knew the truth, would be happier spending the rest of his life with people who actually LIKE him?

I don't think that his cheating wife's doing him any favours, although she certainly likes playing the martyr. She's just manipulating and controlling her sick husband.

People have been talking about how cheating is a private thing. I'm not going to speak for others, but if I were cheated on, I wouldn't regard it as a private thing. I'd regard it (once I found out about it) as abuse. I'd expect my friends to not ignore it, same as they shouldn't ignore if I were getting abused any other way.
62
... an ethical system that shifts with your emotions ...
Since belief in deity or the veracity of any ostensibly revealed text isn't demonstrable via any empirical evidence, isn't it fair to say that all faith-based morality relies, at the very least, on the "emotional" (or, at best, intuitive) act of "feeling" the foundational posits to be true? Indeed, given your years-long failure to make an intellectual argument in favor of your moral convictions, I'm inclined to say that the entire traditional, Judeo-Christian moral framework is favored wholly on an emotional basis. Unless, of course, you're just too stupid to make the excellent rational arguments for it, in which case one wonders why you bother to come around these parts at all.
... sexual indiscriminacy suitable to an animal but not a human being and which most find repugnant ...
The best science at our disposal suggests that human beings are animals. That we possess the capacity for self-regulation may not, in fact, even make us particularly unique among animals. Indeed, our most unique feature, one of the very few that make us appear to be more than flatworms with thumbs--alongside art and pants--is that our self-regulatory impulses can arrive at such a broad array of conclusions. Indeed, our moral diversity is what distinguishes us from termites, not our moral unity ... aside, of course, in those areas where morality dovetails with utility.
But at least they and others with a functioning moral and ethical system are trying to be better.
I would suggest we all are. I agree with you that failure to live up to one's own moral standard is no argument against that standard, per se; I would suggest, in turn, that your failure to recognize the value of a moral standard with which you don't agree is an equally poor argument against that standard.
You? You and your vile pals want to drag everyone else into your own filth rather than trying to get out of it yourselves. And that's maybe the essence of evil.
Again, you assume that your understanding of "filth" should be generally accepted, but offer no evidence for why. More "self-evident" truths.
So don't be surprised when decent people trying to be better don't listen to you. Nothing you say of any value to them. At all.
In a way, that's too bad. You're the worst human being I've ever encountered on the internet, and I still hold some vain hope that, as sorry a specimen as you are, I can still learn something from you, and frequently give you the opportunity to justify this hope.

That said, it really doesn't matter what "value" we place on one another's words or philosophies; we are allowed moral self-determination by the doctrine of "free exercise [of religion]"; if we are not, that doctrine has no meaning.
Likewise, in my view homosexuality has negative effects, and is proscribed by the Christian faith.
And in my view, anthropomorphic monotheism has negative effects. Since we can't demonstrate a causative relationship between those "scourges" and the effects we would hope to prevent, however many examples we may wish to offer (I'm sure you could drag out AIDS or the late Roman Empire; I would point to the slaughter of the Cathars, the various Inquisition(s), and such), our feelings on those matters are politically irrelevant.
But just as he has the right to evangelize promiscuity and absolute license, others have the right to oppose his destructive attacks on family, marriage and healthy sexuality.
Absolutely! We may entertain and adhere to whatever core philosophical values strike us as reasonable. What we may not do is hold others to them by force of law.
Know what law is informed by? At the core? In this country and most European nations? A judeo christian ethical and moral standard of behavior.
At one time, sure. Of course, back then, they also treated hysteria by removing the universe and infections by bleeding the patient with leeches. Given the number of deists (granting that English deism was more traditionally theistic than its more nihilistic French cousin) among our founders, it's useful to note that many of them saw that philosophical system as a guidepost, rather than a metaphysical imperative, and enshrined free exercise of religion (and thus of irreligion) in our founding documents.

Judeo-Christian values have, historically, dovetailed admirably with marks of civic utility, which is why, unless you were a member of one of the minorities traditionally stifled by Abrahamic theology, the lack of distinction between the two spheres has largely gone unnoticed.

I think it's odd that you mention "most European nations," when most of them have operated with a far more liberal approach toward homosexuality and same-sex households than we have. Indeed, what's most striking in your post is this:
Don't like our culture? Move somewhere you do like. See, most Americans accept as worthwhile the moral values Savage and his ilk loathe and fear. If this is a problem for you or him your happiness would seem to be best pursued elsewhere.
Seems to me you're just not paying attention. See, same-sex marriage won the day here in this state by popular vote. Whether or not you agree, most Americans--who probably do accept as worthwhile many values you hold dear, like the primacy of the family unit, basic civility, community, etc.--don't see those values as being threatened by or essentially opposed to individuals building households through committed relationships with those with whom they can and do share romantic and erotic bonds.

It's not us who are ashamed and fearful of our culture. It's you. You have rejected who and what we, collectively, have been gradually becoming over centuries. Right or wrong (and neither you nor even I could possibly know), this is who we are now.
63
We all make choices in life and all choices made have consequences.
64
I'm calling bullshit on this story. Bullllshhhhhiiiiiiit.

Christ. It's like the AM PR team wrote this shit. Which they probably did.
65
Dan's clearly a kinder, more gracious and forgiving person than I am -- the woman who works for a conservative organization that has campaigned for "traditional marriage", used AM and may well be fired if she's "outed"?

Deserves to be. Actions have consequences.
66
I know of at least one person who went through the list trying every email address in her mail box. Due to society not being too kind to people in open marriages my husband and I are not public about the inner workings of our marriage. My professional reputation and my standing in the community would be compromised and my young child subjected to hearing horrible things said about us. Luckily we never had paid accounts and used emails not easily traced. My post was more in line with why I feel that this hack is a terrible thing and that no one on the list deserves a public outing.
67
@66. Creepy. Creepy.

I agree its no one's business. I really question why your young child would be exposed to anything about your sex life. Growing up in the late eighties into the nineties, my father cohabitated (not married) with the woman he had an affair with. Blew up both their marriages. I knew of another woman who was the long time mistress of a married man. I know two now as well. I cant begin to count how many marriages have struggled with infidelity... this is not new!!! you aren't going to be ousted as swingers unless you choose to disclose it. At most someone might think you all are cheaters. If someone tries to bring it up, give then the finger. People will talk yes, because people do. That will be he end of it.

68
@62: "Seems to me you're just not paying attention. See, same-sex marriage won the day here in this state by popular vote. Whether or not you agree, most Americans--who probably do accept as worthwhile many values you hold dear, like the primacy of the family unit, basic civility, community, etc.--don't see those values as being threatened by or essentially opposed to individuals building households through committed relationships with those with whom they can and do share romantic and erotic bonds."
Shhh, he's talking about Real Americans, which are imaginary. He once told me that rural Americans are the only true Americans, despite the fact that city-dwellers make up upwards of 80% of the nation. Remember always that Seattleblues lives in a world of make-believe where every Real American agrees with him and his opinions are facts.
69
@68 No Real American, No True Scotsman.

Fuck me I am screwed. I am both an American and a Scotsman.
70
She calls the marriage loveless, and implies it's "terrible". I deeply doubt "the good of her ailing husband and the good of the children they're parenting". I'm afraid that's a rationalization for her job and her social position; hope I'm wrong or she finds a way out.

If she can and will be a true help to her ex-husband in sickness, I respect that. But she could do that without a terrible marriage. Love and intimacy are gone here (now, for all I know he broke them too), respect is probably gone... I can't imagine she's much use as emotional support for him in his fear. What she's being for her husband is a home health aide who reminds him every day of once having been loved. This is the big gift?

To put it coldly, could she make him less unhappy by moving out and paying for an actual professional home health aide? Because her job could swing that, right?

And if she wants to be a good mother to her children, for heaven's sake, be a good divorced mother. What does she think she's giving them this way that she couldn't do better that way? Modeling this marriage -- and they know it's poison -- The actual parenting interaction would go better if the parents got the marriage out of the way.

71
(* lost text, "-- is not doing good for them.")
72
To put it coldly, could she make him less unhappy by moving out and paying for an actual professional home health aide? Because her job could swing that, right?

That is the question - what is going to hurt him less?

But I don't think you can assume she gets to keep her job if she gets divorced. And even if she did, I don't think you can assume some conservative outfit is going to be staffed such that the ACA employer mandate applies, or that as an at-will employer they'd carry an expensive employee for any length of time.

And if he's sick and can't work, and she loses her job, who keeps the family (kids) afloat? Does she hurt him less by deliberately tossing them all into a financial crisis? You do know medical crises are the leading cause of bankruptcy, right? That there are lots of cancer patients who deliberately forgo chemo and other treatment because they don't want to impoverish their families and figure their odds aren't that great anyway?

As much as I say this kind of outing is necessary - that the culture warriors should be "hoist on their own petard", that I condemn her morality as a Bernardo Gui or Anthony Comstock - I do not condemn her ethical judgement about what the right thing to do for her husband and family is. I think she probably was doing exactly the right thing, depending on the nature of his illness. I'd say wait it out if it's an aggressive cancer - say, metastatic melanoma - but if it's just that his prostate has been removed and too much damage has occurred to the cavernous nerves (iatrogenic ED) and he's likely to be around for another couple of decades, then it's effectively "forever" for her in terms of her sex life. That doesn't mean it's an unjust ending to the story - she made this bed, and as @63 says, actions have consequences - but I certainly wouldn't condemn or fire her. Of course, I wouldn't be running an outfit trying to legislate my theology onto others.

That's what always kills me about conservatives: their judgement about what is most sensible is always eminently better and more compassionate when it applies to themselves. I remain convinced that the heart of "conservatism" is a kind of narcissism or more likely, arrested development expressed as juvenile ego-centrism; sometimes it's merely applying a different set of rules to your own conduct than others, and sometimes it's the Libertarian FYIGM. And it's such a tiny tiny step intellectually - the most facile application of the Golden Rule they always pretend to worship - to get beyond this. It baffles me.
73
@28 - I think you hit on the core of why "the lie" isn't nearly so horrible as people make it out to be.
74
@73 - I'm totally willing to accept that you do not find the lying to be horrible and would not feel betrayed (or at least not find it that horrible) if your partner chose to have extramarital sex without your knowledge while leading you to believe the two of you were monogamous.

OTOH, I can't accept your general statement that the lie is not as horrible as some people make it out to be because my own experience is that it was very horrible and I've been close to enough people who felt similarly. This is why informed consent is so important, even if it is along the lines of "if you plan to do that, please don't tell me." Some people don't find the lie horrible, but some people really do.

In some cases, the "horrible" part is limited to a sense of betrayal, the realization that you've been playing by two sets of rules, perhaps anger over sacrifices made or opportunities lost while the other partner felt free to place their needs first. In other cases, it can extend to significant physical consequences. Just within my limited scope of friends, I'm aware of the discovery of two non-paternal events (a man who discovered his son was not his biological child and a woman who discovered her husband's fling became pregnant), STDs (more than one woman who discovered she had precancerous cervical cells as a result of HPV, another woman who couldn't get pregnant after developing PID as a result of an untreated STD she didn't know she should test for).

75
@73 To be perfectly clear, in the context of this thread, I do not condone the AM hacking or related outings of personal information. I do not think monogamy is the only acceptable model within a marriage. I'm sure some of the Ashley Madison users were upfront with their spouses, whether in open relationships or agreed upon DADT arrangements. I am primarily speaking to your assertion about the lying that often accompanies cheating.

I think both partners should know the status of their relationship so they can conduct their own lives, including their sex lives, accordingly. When the lies are direct, it can significantly damage trust which affects many aspects of the relationship. I'm not giving a pass to simply withholding information which is damaging in its own way, but direct lying can lead to added difficulties in reestablishing trust.

As for whether this might contribute to a cultural shift, I would love for there to be more general awareness of some of the more typical scenarios that occur in a monogamous LTR. For instance, I'd love to see more studies on open marriages and how increasing variety of partners and frequency of sex can positively or negatively affect primary relationships, libido, personal sense of well being in each partner, etc. I think most people just hear the old "boys will be boys" thing which is pretty limiting and perhaps sends the message that DADT is a more reasonable choice than an open marriage that might be mutually fulfilling.
76
@69: Here's the post in which he asserts that the 4/5 Americans who live in or around cities aren't real Americans. Just in case you're morbidly curious.
77
@AFinch, fair, and I'll take back the strongly leading questions about this woman's specific situation, since I don't really know.

I do repeatedly hear about people who think they're staying for the good of their children, and the children look back and say that was a bad mistake. An honest mistake and self-sacrificing, even, but bad for them.

Anyone who's been the child here who does look back and thank their parent(s) for staying? Assuming where the marriage is not just without sex, but also without love or intimacy in partnership, and they're staying in a terrible experience.
78
@77 - you are asking an unanswerable question. There is no way to poll people who were raised in intact families to ask if they were grateful that their parents stayed together despite sexual and initmacy issues between their parents. There are plenty of parents who can adequately hide relationship issues from the kids. Or parents who had discreet affairs that were never discovered to enable them to continue the relationship. You have no clue if the perfect house next door with the intact family and seemingly happy well adjusted kids are being raised by parents who are getting their needs met outside the marriage, perhaps without their spouse's knowledge and approval. Safe to say, given the rates of cheating, it happens all the time.

So in order to answer your question, you would have to include children who seemingly grew up in homes without tension but where a spouse cheated at some point and no one was the wiser - do you wish your parents had divorced? You are going to get some strange looks and a lot of "hell no"
79
@78 Tim - There are also parents who choose to move on and remarry, creating new or extended families. Sometimes the new family structures cause friction, sometimes the kids bond really well with the additional (step)parent(s).

I was really worried about how our child would be affected by our divorce. When we told her what was happening...that was the hardest conversation of our lives. As a couple, we got along well, so it really caught her by surprise. So far, I've been amazed by her resilience. I still worry sometimes about how this will affect her. Will she be able to feel truly secure in a relationship without wondering if it might just disappear someday with no warning? But then I also think, as much as I wish I could protect her from all sources of pain, empathy can spring from it.

Of course, I had to adjust, as well. It took a while to get used to being away from her for stretches. Then I started thinking of it a gradual loss rather than a sudden one in the later teen years. We all eventually adjusted to what now seems like the new normal.

IIRC, in your case, you have explicit permission for a DADT arrangement with a couple ground rules (nobody local, don't embarrass her), so my guess is that your wife shares your feelings about the importance of keeping the family together, even if your needs as sexual partners aren't being met within the marriage. That you feel similarly is important, I think. I see that as very different from a situation in which one partner decides what is best for both partners by either lying or withholding information about the status of their relationship.
80
Here's the thing, marriage was established to codify the lifelong union/commitment of two ppl. Not three or four or whatever. Sure, Savage is correct, there are a few limited exceptions for sex outside a marriage (for ex. it has become clear that your partner will NEVER be able to honor the sexual end of the deal ever again—they become severely physically disabled to the point they CAN'T have sex, or become so mentally disabled they can't consent any longer. OR were forced into the marriage and are trying to find a legit escape) but not just because your partner is dying or they're temporarily sick or incapacitated. It is hubris to think we can "rewrite" the rules of marriage and not denigrate/diminish its importance it at the same time. The spiritual marriage vow is "in sickness or in health." The civil vow may or may not include that, and I am not sure what the rules are for civil unions. But I am speaking strictly of a legal, and spiritual/religious union where two ppl commit to a lifetime together. Now, if you don't want to be married anymore, then end it. Staying together for the children? Yes, that's a good idea...but such couples can wait to exercise their sexual freedom after the divorce commences, after the kids are 18. No one is going to go insane without sex as Savage seems to think unless they're addicts maybe. People have lived sanely without sex throughout history, and not just celibate nuns and priest. Further, in the context of this thread, people commit suicide not because they've been exposed for some duplicity but because they're desperately depressed or mentally ill. They don't commit suicide because they're "stuck in lousy sexless marriage." It's always much more than that. At least in this country. Otherwise, what the hell?! If cheating has exceptions and everyone gets to write their own rules about what marriage is, then what the hell is marriage even worth? Why bother? Why hold it up as a glorious thing? Why go to weddings? Why celebrate these unions? It's a slippery slope when you start adding caveats to something as sacred as a lifelong commitment. If you don't want to participate DON'T GET MARRIED. I have several friends who want to keep their options open and actually have "open" relationships because they don't want to be hypocrites and co-opt marriage or mold it to their version of reality. Now that's healthy cheating if there ever was a way to define it. An agreement, outside the bounds of marriage, between two willing individuals who don't want to confine or hurt another (and, again, aren't married). You can't have your cake and eat to. Well you can but it will dilute the very essence of marriage, and people will get hurt. Further, it take considerable hubris to think you can rewrite and redefine something you only want certain benefits and none of the work. It's like those claim there's is an"open" marriage so they're entitled to cheat and hide it to protect another. That's taking away the rights of the "other." And what if both parties agree that they can swing? If you look to the traditional and spiritual definition of marriage that is still cheating and that is not marriage. You can argue with me that I am coming at this from a religious angle, but I am not, and I am actually agnostic. I am looking at centuries of marriage as an institution, and what it was reasonably designed to do—unite two people in a lifelong commitment. Not for convenience.
81
If the woman mentioned in the article is indeed a member of a conservative Christian organization bent on spreading the word, if outed she should lose her job and be ostracized. She is hypocritical and, even worse, she should have learned to accept the cross that her god gave to her to bear. In my opinion, she is no less despicable than those preachers that convince the gullible and ignorant to part with their money so that the preacher can carry on living his thoroughly un-Christian life.
82
MAN SHUT THE FUCK UP! THESE STUPID MOTHERFUCKERS SIGNED UP TO ASHLEY MADISON WITH THE INTENTION TO FUCK SOMEONE ELSE. IT'S NOT CALLED THE "I NEED A FRIEND TO HELP ME STAY SANE WEBSITE". I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO SYMPATHY FOR THOSE EXPOSED. IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE MARRIED THEN GET A DIVORCE, YOU CAN'T HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO.

YOU COULD HAVE BROUGHT YOUR PARTNER HOME THE AIDS VIRUS. WTF!

PROPS TO THE HACKERS FOR EXPOSING THEM. STUPID FUCKING WEBSITE SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN UP IN THE FIRST PLACE. YOU DESTROYED YOUR MARRIAGE, NOT ASHLEY MADISON. FIND GOD YOU DUMB ASSES!
83
Dan, how about a decision tree that diagrams the sequence of possible events? First, I have to choose to confront or avoid my unhappiness with my spouse. I choose avoid. Then I have a choice to cheat or not cheat. I choose cheat. Then I have a choice to go on the internet or look locally. I choose the internet, so then I have a choice of real profile or false profile.

Et cetera.

At each junction there is a probability of success or failure; that is get away with it, or get caught.

Far at the end of the decision tree is "kill myself." Honestly, wouldn't a rational person have selected the options along the way that did not lead to that? If the first choice is "live with my discontent" or "kill myself," Ashly Madison would not even be in the picture!

You are blaming persons who are blameless. It all comes down to an individual's choice, and some really bad choices.
84
This thread lacks the perspective of deceived partners of AM member. I am one. We were having daily (what I thought was) passionate sex, which even he says was better than any strange. Didn't stop him from trying to (and succeeding) sleep with women from AM. He told women we were sexless / in home separated. Total lie. Three years after finding out, my marriage is ruined. I wish he had left me instead. Or at least asked for an open marriage. I could have moved on or not. But to have sex with him for years while he dated other people behind my back... I simply cannot recover from MINDFUCK. It isn't the sex or the rejection. It is being deceived by the person you trust and love most in the world (Not to mention years of hard to treat physical symptoms – bleck I won't even go there).I used to love Dan, but I can't stand his take on cheating. Sorry Dan, I don’t buy your theory that there are ethical reasons to cheat.

When it comes to sex, I believe in the right to informed consent. I have a right to know if my partner is fucking someone else. You (my cheating partner) don’t get to decide what I know and don’t know about the risks I face in bed. It is a fundamental human right. And all of those supposedly considerate AM members who are so thoughtfully trying to spare the delicate feelings of their duped partners – FUCK YOU. Your concern is keeping your marital cake and eating the strange cake too. All while turning your partner into a chump (for extra thrills!). Tracy Schorn said it so well in her Unified Theory of Cake. Google it.
85
Rationalizing your cheating as way of protecting your family is bogus. It is patronizing, and bullcrap. Taking your partner's voice out of what happens to your relationship and marital boundaries is a violation. It is a mind fuck. FYI- cheating is also not just about sex. It can be financial, emotional, or otherwise hiding things from your partner because you want what you want and you don't respect them enough to give say.
This is not about sex or monogamy. It is about cowardace in facing the difficulties of relationships head on and with honesty and integrity.
Stop having conversations about cheating and consensual non-monogamy in the same breath.
86
Of all people Dan, advocating for people to stay in the closet about their sexual and emotional needs to their partner???
Even if you risk losing them, one cannot live a joyful life by hiding the important parts of yourself to the person you pledge to walk in life with.