Conversations we should be having about Ashley Madison


By now most of us have heard about last week’s reveal of the data released by hackers of the extramarital affair site  High- and low-profile users have been “outed” as clients of the site, with some pretty unsavory consequences.  As such, it’s been easy to tease and make fun of this whole situation–after all, these cheaters had it coming, didn’t they?

The problem with that attitude, of course is that none of us are perfect.  In fact, even if we aren’t members of Ashley Madison ourselves, there remains a lot we can learn from the whole debacle.

A good place to start is by using this story as a springboard for having some not-so-fun, but important discussions with the folks closest to us.  Here’s a start:

With your partner:

  • Have you ever been tempted to have an affair?
  • Did you go through with it?
  • How often do you look at pornography online?
  • Do you hide anything about your online life from me?
  • How would you react if I told you I was unfaithful?

With your kids:

  • What sorts of pictures are OK to post online?
  • What have you posted about your romantic life to social media?
  • Have you ever formed a relationship online (either friendship or romantic) with someone you didn’t know personally?
  • Do you hide anything about your online life from me?
  • Is there anything you have posted online that you later wished you hadn’t?

With yourself:

  • What websites have my credit card or other personal information about my likes, dislikes, etc?  How would I feel if that were suddenly made public?
  • Do I engage in online activity that makes me feel ashamed or guilty?
  • Do I do things “virtually” that I wouldn’t do in person?
  • Is my use of technology consistent with my goals as a person, as a family, or professionally?
These conversations aren’t easy or romantic, but it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be had.  Speaking openly about the topics of love, faithfulness, infidelity, confidentiality, sexuality and relationships is essential, particularly in the age of social media and technology.
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