There are no doubts that technology has brought many advances to our world and has sped up our access to an abundance of information as well as connected people who at a time in the past may have never met. It is amazing that with these changes, people from all over the world can communicate and share ideas in real time, providing such great opportunities for us all.
However, with every change that we encounter in life, we can always expect both positive and negative consequences. Just as websites such as Ancestry.com and Facebook assist people in connecting with long lost friends or family, there are other websites such as Ashley Madison, that promote and assist in connecting people who want to cheat on their spouse and engage in an affair. Their motto reflects their belief and insinuates moral sanction by stating, “Life’s short, have an affair”.
It is this very belief system that my wife, Jean, and I have combated since 2002 by helping couples save their marriages. In 2007, we even coined our own motto, “Life’s short, your marriage doesn’t have to be”, to serve as an alternative option for people considering having an affair, and to offer a sense of hope that marriages can be saved. It is no surprise that we feel very strongly that the messages certain websites send out trivializing affairs and marriage are detrimental to our society and ultimately contributes to the damage of the family structure.
You may have heard recently that Ashley Madison was hacked by a group calling themselves the “Impact Team”. They have threatened to release the names and information of all members unless the website is taken down. And although you may think this would be pleasing for us, Jean and I can’t help but feel conflicted.
It is true that we would like to see websites such as this one be shut down, however not in this manner. Websites such as this one exist because people support them and see what they are offering as a viable option in their unhappy marriage. It is only through education and providing opportunities to change and transform marriages in a positive way, that will make cheating on a spouse unappealing.
It is from this perspective that I am also reminded of the popular adage, “two wrongs don’t make a right”, which remind us that although the end results may be favorable, it is the means to which we got there that defines us. It is our hope that this event serves not as a learning lesson for Ashley Madison and it’s parent company, Avid Life Media, but as a wake up call for those members that are worried about their privacy being exposed. It is our continued hope that people seek out more positive ways of addressing their marital discord rather than turn to sites that do not have their best interests or happiness in mind.
Dr Ray Kadkhodaian is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor at The Lighthouse Emotional Wellness Center. Located in Arlington Heights, Illinois, The Lighthouse, founded by Dr. Ray and Jean Kadkhodaian, provides the guiding light of emotional wellness for individuals, couples and families. In addition to providing a unique and more successful approach to working with couples called, Couples Synergy, The Lighthouse provides services such as: marriage counseling, relationship counseling, family therapy, individual counseling, divorce counseling, psychiatry and personal development workshops.