So, anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been reading about the Ashley Madison hack and I find it completely hilarious.
I’m not one to revel in the misfortunes of others, but watching guys like Josh Duggar, who for years have tried to make LGBT families, divorcees and anyone who doesn’t fit into their traditional mold of marriage feel like they are somehow deficient try to squirm their way out of this makes me giggle. Watching them try to blame Satan for their hypocrisy warms the cockles of my tiny black heart.
However, the fall of the Ashley Madison website brings me a personal joy for a more personal reason. During my year as a newlywed, my former husband & I had a million and one problems, most of which stemmed from the fact that we were far too young and not ready to be married. But he worked midnights and my roommate and good friend had discovered that this website was real. So, we looked it up and were horrified at the number of people we knew that were on this site trolling for affairs, one of which was my ex husband. In the infancy of our marriage, maybe even before we had said our I do’s, had been looking for an affair. I chose to stay with him for the next seven years, and I’m glad I did as we later had two beautiful children, but the shock and betrayal stayed with me, as our marriage was marred by a lack of trust, which was pretty valid as he cheated on me pretty much all the time. After our first year of marriage, I discovered that the weekend he sent me to visit friends in our hometown was so he could meet a friend in a hotel for a tryst. About two years ago, he admitted to me (while heavily drunk) that he had slept with the stripper next door. I received an email from his former friend’s wife confirming they had been sleeping together while I was pregnant and on bedrest with our second child. And he was once banned from working as a photographer at two separate bars in our old hometown for sexually harrassing the staff. These all stuck with me for years, negatively impacting my future relationship. I would remember the female friends who weren’t platonic friends, the comments about how if he didn’t think I’d get mad, he would be trying to get with our female friends, or the time he propositioned my best friend to have a three way with him and our friend Sarah. It bothered me so much that I didn’t know how to trust a man who said he loved me and it took three years of therapy to feel okay and accept that not every man on Earth was out to hurt me or cheat on me.
I sent an email to the creator of Ashley Madison and blasted them for providing this service. I asked them how could they sleep at night knowing that they were making it easier to break the hearts of so many trusting souls. The reply I got was that maybe I should have been a better wife and lover, and my husband wouldn’t have wanted to stray, a sentiment he would tell me when I would put him on blast for his flirting, or whatever I caught him doing (that he would always say was misunderstood, or he was misunderstood, because he was the victim and why wouldn’t I just do *insert sex act here* and he wouldn’t have to want to cheat?).
This is why I laugh when I see the cheaters on Ashley Madison squirming and crying about their privacy.
I feel for the victims, and by victims, I mean the actual victims. The spouses who used the tool on Wired and got the unfortunate surprise of “Guess who’s email address was compromised?!” or the stammering conversations where they explain their behaviour. I don’t feel the tiniest bit badly for the “victims” who’s privacy was breached. Oh, I know the dark side, this could happen to anyone and boo hoo and credit cards aren’t secure and the like. But a bunch of horrible people are going to be exposed for betraying their spouses and I’m glad. I hope they feel violated and like their integrity is compromised and awful. You know, the way their spouses have felt for months when they have suspected for months that their partner was cheating, or when they found out the truth.
I have had a few friends who have said to me that since I was a staunch defender of celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence when they had their private photos leaked online last year, I should take the same stance on this. I disagree. There is a big difference between private photos that were meant to be viewed by one person privately (such as Jennifer Lawrence’s photos for then partner Nicholas Hoult) and cheating on your mate. While yes, cheating isn’t illegal and having your credit card information compromised totally sucks, you were betraying your partner, and in the case of a guy like Josh Duggar, you were doing it while condemning other people for not living life according to a belief system that you yourself weren’t following. So, I don’t feel totally badly for these “victims,” just the people they have been victimizing, for having to learn that the person that they are with actually sucks in such a public way. Even if you didn’t pick anyone up on Ashley Madison, you had an account, the intent was there and you sir or madam are a raging douchebag. Your partner deserved a million times better and you should feel violated, because you are walking a mile in their shoes and I hope you wear them well.
Maybe I’m biased, because I know how it feels to find out that your spouse has an account with a website designed to help him cheat on you and I know how people like Anna Duggar feel. I hope Anna Duggar takes her kids and leaves him and finds happiness with a man who recognizes how beautiful and special she really is, but I doubt her religion will allow it. Ironically enough, her church will likely badger her with the same answer that Ashley Madison gave me and she will stay with her unfaithful husband. If she does, let’s not shame her or call her stupid. We are not walking in her shoes. We don’t know what her “church” has done to devalue her. But for all of those who are scrambling to “save” their marriage and blaming the Ashley Madison hack, I don’t feel one bit sorry for you, because you already destroyed your marriage when you strayed (or attempted to stray) from your partner; it’s just now everybody knows you were doing it.
And to those encouraging people not to check the list for their partner; I disagree (although I haven’t for reasons that make sense to me). Chances are, you won’t be shocked by the answer. My Texan bestie looked up her own email & hubby, even though she knew the answer just for the lolz. But most people who are checking are either;
a) bored like me or
b) confirming an answer they already knew subconsciously, an answer they have every right to know.