February 13, 2009. So, it's nearly Valentines Day. The roadsides are strewn with vendors pawning flowers that may or not live the weekend. Couple are planning the most expensive meal out of the year. Hallmark is trying to get me to buy a $ 5.00 dollar greeting card that plays 80's music or Homer Simpson burping. Its such a romantic time of the year. Not too long ago, I remember hearing stories from my parents about how they met. I think my father first saw my mother in church one day. My grandfather, so the rumor goes, met my grandmother at a coming out dance (I embellish, sorry Nana) .
Today, we have become accustomed to hearing stories of our friends trying out online dating sites like match.com. Another site, eharmony, plasters television ads enticing us with a "free compatibility test" (I checked, no one is compatible with me). One friend of mine even met his wife on a Jewish singles dating site. Whatever you may think of it, good or bad, Internet dating is here to stay. We are busy. We don't have time to say hi to the cute girl we see across the room anymore. Instead, we go to craigslist and checked "missed connections" every night (again, no luck here).
I don't think anyone would have guessed what was coming next. I guess there was a gray area between these dating sites and a swingers/porn type site. I never noticed. But someone else sure did. Ashleymadison.com touts itself as a "dating' site where married or attached people can have an affair." That's right, cheating just became mainstream! Just set up a profile and pay with your credit card (they will anonymously bill you in case your significant other looks at your credit card statement!). Set up a profile and start searching away. Refine your search by location, age, height, weight or body type. Its a veritable grocery store for the straying hearts. Of note is an "affair guarantee." If you sign up for the $ 249.00 plan, they guarantee you an affair. What I figured out is that they have a reserve of troll like men and women lined up to ensure they never have to make good on this guarantee. At the last possible moment, expect an offer of an affair by Trina the cross dressing, toothless "guarantee buster!"
In all seriousness, as a divorce lawyer I can see the writing on the wall. Some hapless sap is going to leave himself (or herself) logged into the site and get caught! Subpoena's will be flying into the Ashleymadison corporate offices faster than a new season of "Survivor" (will they ever get back to the island?" I really do believe that its just a matter of time before this site breaks up a marriage, a couple, a relationship, a family. But hey, it takes the willing and no one is forcing people to join or participate. Some may say to blame the members. While this is true, the temptation to surf in relative anonymity may be too much for some. This is what the site hopes for.
Curiously, the most confusing thing I came across on their site was the following: When asked if the site encourages infidelity, their answer: "No, Ashleymadison does not encourage anyone to stray. In fact, if you are having difficulty with your relationship, you should seek counseling." I had to find an authority on infidelity so I looked to the folks at cheaters.com. (that's their trademarked logo above) According to their informational site, the definition of "infidelity" is clarified:
"While adultery is more concretely defined as voluntary sexual intercourse between a married man or woman with someone other than his or her spouse, experts disagree on precisely what infidelity entails. There is, however, a growing consensus that infidelity is not limited to sexual unfaithfulness, but that it also occurs when a spouse forms a strong emotional attachment outside of marriage."
Of course, that's exactly what AM.com strives for, the EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT. Following up on their disclaimer, I looked and looked but to my dismay I could not for the life of me find a link to any couples' counseling websites on AM.com. I have a great idea for the people at AM. How about a link to my website? I do plenty of divorces and accept referrals. This may work out better than I thought.
~ Jay Roncone
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