In light of the whole Ashley Madison scandal, I am sure millions out there are now counting the days until their secret is revealed, especially those that used their government or military emails that now risk severe consequences not just personally, but professionally. And then at the other extreme we can all picture a whole other camp of individuals relishing in the fact that these people that broke their sacred marital vows are now being exposed, in fact almost branded with a virtual scarlet letter. Where you fall on this hotly debated topic depends a lot on how honest you are with yourself about the skeletons you have in your own closet.
No one is perfect, and since none of us are currently sitting in the position of ultimate judge or jury on any of the cases that may result from this unfortunate breach of online information, let’s just take a moment to think about the current turn of events. Over the last 10 years, modern technology has completely changed our lives. The search for anything, including a sexual partner, is now possible with just a few swipes or keystrokes from the comfort and privacy of your own home. And yet, everything is now captured digitally, and just about everyone around you now has a camera and immediate access to the internet, allowing anything to go viral instantaneously. So, it is super easy to obtain just about whatever you want– but it is also ridiculously easy to get busted. This is the simple truth of our times.
Now, in the case of Ashley Madison users, at least they were being honest about their marital status. In so many other websites, apps, or even just your local bar down the street, you will find complete liars that profess to be single, separated, or together but living apart– ready to leave their spouses once the kids go off to college. These unhappily married folks have been around for centuries, and will continue to exist long after this current scandal is forgotten for one simple reason: keeping a marriage together is hard work, and not everyone is up for the challenge of working through issues both in good and bad times, through sickness and in health until death brings an end to their holy union.
A lot of people delay the decision to divorce simply because of finances. The reality is it is much easier to split expenses and live comfortably in a two-income household. And as the years go by, and you are accustomed to a certain life-style, I find a lot of people try to convince themselves that they are better off with the devil that is known vs. the devil that is unknown. Hmm.. while this is all true, it still begs the question, is this really a way to live? But ultimately, while some of us may be incapable of making the choice of staying in a loveless marriage, there are others who may make a different choice for reasons that we may never fully comprehend– and the fact is it’s not really any of our business.
Rather than gossip about what others are doing in their marriages, I think a far better use of our time would be for each of us to open up that closet full of skeletons in our own homes, and focus on making peace with our past mistakes. Give those old ghosts a proper burial so they will stop haunting you. Make amends if you can with those still living, and going forward remember this old saying: two people can keep a secret only when one of them is dead.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.