Tuesday, June 16, 2009

An Agency to Help you Cheat on Your Spouse; Whatever Will They Think of Next?

So I bought a house last night. I have the key and everything. After about 45 minutes of signing papers to the point that my hand ached, I was handed a stack of papers and a front door key. The little old lady from whom I purchased my new home will be leaving as of next Monday at 3 p.m., much earlier than I'd expected.

Of course, given that I have a conference at work from Monday to Friday out of town, I'm not going to get in there until the following weekend. Timing in life is always interesting, isn't it?

Still, it's my house now, for better or worse. Nine months after moving across country, I'm a homeowner. It's a scary thing to say. Yet it's also growing on me. Give me a month of driving backwards and forwards between my apartment and the house and I'm going to be ready to be settled in. I can now do things I've always wanted: Doing my laundry in machines that don't take quarters but actually belong to me, owning a grill that I'm allowed to use, not hearing the sounds of vigorous sex coming from above me, parking my car in a garage that will release me from the nuisance of having to scrape it when it gets icy out. It's a beautiful thing, at least for now until reality sets in.

Anyway, so there's really not much to say about that until I'm actually in my house. So I'll babble about other things. Something, in particular, actually. This morning, I was lying in bed and my radio went off. I'm back to listening to the awful Gamble and Finn in the mornings because the little high school station I found is no longer pick-up-able. All I get is static. I turn them off pretty quickly and put the TV news on instead but they do wake me up.

This morning, I happened to catch a commercial that, for a moment, I thought was a joke. Then I realized...it's real. It's for a dating-type agency called Ashley Madison. I say dating-type agency because it's more of a...hook up agency than traditional dating. You see, it matches up married people or people in relationships who are looking for a fling.

The agency makes a very big point of stating they don't promote infidelity but the fact of that matter is that married people get bored and rather than start having an office affair or an affair with someone single that could get hurt, why not match them up with other bored married people.

I realize now that I'm a bit of an old fashioned Monkeypants because there's a voice inside my head shouting "WHAT. THE. HELL?" Ok, so I get that people get bored in their marriage. I get that sometimes the sex blows and that people are looking for something more lively. I get that sometimes people wonder if they did the right thing and want to make sure they're happily married.

I'm sure I'll probably come across as rather dull and clearly never been married but there's a reason I've never been married: I haven't found someone I could marry yet. Don't get me wrong, I could probably have been married a couple of times by now. The closest I came was probably in college and he was a great guy but I was just too young and wasn't ready to settle down. Yet the mere fact that I'm not married pretty much should prove that I'm not about to make a choice that would lead me to, say, the Ashley Madison Hook-Up agency because I wasn't happy in my marriage. I'd rather not be married than have to deal with that idea.

The fact of that matter is people have affairs. I think part of the attraction is the illicit nature of them; they're covert, they're sneaky...they're hidden. Part of the allure is the danger in having the affair. I think there's more sexual attraction generated because it is an affair rather than the fact that there's a man and woman with undeniable chemistry. I'm not advocating marital infidelity either but the sad fact is that people cheat on their spouses. I'm not encouraging it, just stating the obvious.

It's never ok. I don't think that someone should cheat on their spouse or significant other. In a perfect world, people who realize they're not happily married should realize that early on in the relationship, try to fix it and if that doesn't work, move on. Yet it's not a perfect world. Cheating provides an ideal way to deal with an unhappy relationship, make yourself happy and no one gets hurt.

Except they do, every day. Sooner or later, the spouse/significant other will find out and it'll be ugly. There will be confrontations. There will be distrust and nothing can be done to fix it. No matter how many times the cheater apologizes, even if he/she breaks off the affair, the damage is done and no amount of concealment can truly get rid of the scar.

And now there's Ashley Madison, an agency for the sociopaths among us. Are there really couples who are completely ok with the idea of cheating? Is it supposed to be an agency for the more 'modern thinking,' people who swing, who don't mind a bit of casual sex? Or do these people have the affair, become riddled with guilt and doubt that they're doing something wrong? Does it become a relationship outside of the person's marriage-relationship? In which case...what if they get bored with their Ashley Madison hook-up? Does the cheating circle continue?

I guess I just don't understand it. If you get married, you get married. There's a commitment to honour, no matter how boring or bad it seems. I get that some people don't believe in divorce but, then, um, shouldn't they not believe in cheating either? I get that some people don't have the courage to get out of an unhappy marriage but is it really better to pay an agency to help you cheat? How do you explain that to your kids? "Sorry, darlings but your daddy and I are staying together because we want you to be happy. However, every now and again, you might see one of us with an Auntie Ashley or an Uncle Madison. Just ignore that, ok?"

Yes, because that's SO much better for the kids. Yes, I know that Ashley Madison probably also promotes discretion. Yet does that mean if you don't get caught, it's ok?

Don't misunderstand me: I'm not talking about sex and being a prude about that. If couples want to swing, power to them but at least let it be a joint discussion. No, this isn't a blog about the immorality of sex, it's a blog about how flabbergasted I am that in a world where gay couples still can't completely be together because the law says so, it's ok for married couples to pay an agency to help them cheat.

There seems to be something a little upside-down about that. Feel free to disagree.

Happy Tuesday.

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