Yesterday we published a handy guide to the sites that help married people pursue affairs. Perhaps predictably, some readers were not happy with this, and felt we are undermining the institution of marriage.
If the institution of marriage is what you’re interested in protecting, you have to admit these sites are great. The stubborn (and sad) reality that for many marriages, an affair is a precious safety valve. In many cases, it’s not just the only but the best way to keep a marriage together.
The problem with affairs is that they can destroy your marriage — if uncovered.
Sites like Ashley Madison pair together people who are married (just not together). And people who are married are the ones who have the most to lose from an affair being uncovered. Unlike your secretary or your babysitter, a married woman is much less likely to have illusions that you’ll leave your wife for her, or that you actually love her. She’s less likely to call your wife.
All else being equal, sites like Ashley Madison make affairs more convenient and safer — and thereby certainly strengthen many marriages.
Don’t get us wrong: cheating on your spouse is a very, very horrible thing to do. (Your writer is happily married and cannot imagine ever cheating on his wife.) But it’s a fact of life that many marriages are not as happy as they should be, and that for many of them, one (or both) spouses having an affair on the side is the thing that can relieve some of the stress and keep the couple together. That this fact is deplorable does not make it less a fact.
So if you’re interested in preserving marriages (as opposed to the purity of married people or your worldview), you should be happy there are sites that make affairs easier — and that we report on them.