Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, the release of the Ashley Madison list is one of the hottest news items of the day. Ashley Madison is a web site for people who are looking to have an affair. Hackers broke into the site’s database and demanded that the entire site be shut down. When their demands were not met, the hackers released the names of 28 million people worldwide who have signed up and paid for the service. The tag line for the company’s site is “Life is short, have an affair.” Welcome to the age of the internet. There are no more secrets.
A member in a local Facebook group that I follow published the complete list for Fairfax and Loudoun counties. Women got out the popcorn and poured over the list, noting that their neighbors, loved ones and even well known sports figures were members of the site. Questions came up, questions like “should I tell the wife?”
I have your answer. No. Tend to your own damn lawn. This could have been you. It is not your place to be the catalyst to hurt another human being, wreck a family and revel in someone’s sadness. Chances are they already know and you don’t need to add to their humiliation.
If there’s one thing I have learned in life, it is that friendships, relationship and marriages are hard work. No one is perfect and we all struggle. My first husband had an affair and the marriage was dissolved immediately. It was an easy decision because the affair was a symptom of a broken marriage. It was just an escalation point and it was our smoking gun for divorce.
Now I am on my second marriage. It is not perfect. I can say with all honesty that life has completely disrupted, tossed romance out the door more often than not, and has pummeled us with routine. My husband and I struggle to get some alone time in our own house, let alone have a romantic night out. Finances, decisions, careers, monotony, kids and life squeezes their way into every single day. This is the truth for all of us.
Unfortunately for some, this truth can be a perfect storm for an affair. Sometimes people don’t face their problems but run away from them.
When you are married, you make a decision to understand that your family takes more of a front seat than your own individual needs. When one person refuses to prioritize or cannot do so for one reason or another, the marriage may be in trouble. Some people are more resilient than others.
Affairs may be a symptom that your marriage needs some attention. It does not have to mean that your marriage is over. People are saying that divorce lawyers will have a field day with this Ashley Madison list. I say bullshit. I say you that if you are affected by this list you wake up. You make a decision whether or not you will fix what is broken, whether or not you love your spouse and whether or not they are willing to also work on the marriage. If the answer is yes…then hold your head up high and turn this into an opportunity.
The opposite is also true. Perhaps this is your smoking gun. Perhaps you have suspected that something is wrong for some time now and now you can no longer be in denial. You have one life to live. Is this the person you want to be with? Take the time you need to decide.
Surround yourself with the love of good people.
The rest of us? Never be complacent. Don’t live in a glass house and don’t throw stones. It may bite you in the ass one day. Tend to your own lawn. The way that you view this Ashley Madison debacle says more about you than the people who are on this list.