Dear Monica, I wanted to get your thoughts on the Ashley Madison phenomenon. I am from the Main Line and read that 3% of Main Liners are members of Ashley Madison. Does this figure sound high or low to you? —L.P., Bryn Mawr
Launched in 2002, Ashley Madison is an on-line dating service geared toward those who are already in a relationship. With the slogan “Life is short. Have an affair,” it has become home base for people who want to get a little somethin’-somethin’ that they are not getting in their marriage. With 14 million members worldwide it is clear that there is a large market of those who want to stray from their vows. In fact, research shows that 60 percent of married individuals cheat in some manner. Whether it’s a lusty kiss or an old-fashioned romp in the hay, it qualifies as cheating.
In Philadelphia, there are reportedly 210,000 people participating in Ashley Madison. The Main Line rests on top of the list, with 3 percent of its residents having a profile on the site. Why is the Main Line so well represented? To answer this you have to look at the typical characteristics of those who cheat. They are the ones who tend to take risks and are thrill seekers with a huge sense of entitlement. People who have affairs usually fall in the personality category of narcissists where there is a constant need for more. More recognition, more money and instant gratification. Additionally, affluence tends to create opportunity for affairs since egos are high and there is a lot of travel done for work. Those type-A personalities who seem to make the most money also are driven to constantly surround themselves with what they perceive to be the best of the best (sex included). The combination of ego and wealth within the Main Line can make a perfect blend for this profile.
The money on the Main Line tends to be broken up into generational money and new money.
Those with the generational money have the tendency to produce trust fund babies who do not have a clear sense of hard work and responsibility. This lucky sperm club has the way paved to Ashley’s front door. The new money is so busy keeping up with the Joneses that their children have been raised never hearing the word “No.” When this group enters marriage, and give and take becomes part of everyday life, these kids are going to hit a matrimonial wall. The group of Main Liners who works hard and yet manage to keep their children well grounded have the greatest chance to stay loyal and give the best example to their family.
The fastest growing segment on Ashley Madison is young females. This is due to their increased presence in the work force. They are experiencing life in a way that only the men once knew. Board meetings, late dinners, travel and hob-nobbing with the who’s who definitely gives rise to the opportunity to meet and greet outside of the marriage. Does this represent the Main Line women? I wish this were true, but most Main Line women have not left their cocoon of cushiness.
As far as the older generation goes, the over-70 population is comprised solely of males on Ashley Madison. (Lord knows they are not looking for over-70-year-old women!) There are certainly enough wealthy older gents between Bala Cynwyd and Paoli to fill the ranks. If indeed they are looking for younger women who want a relationship on the side they have come to the right place with this website.
Although I was originally aghast at a website promoting adultery, I have to say that Noel Biderman has found an audience, filling a void for much of the population. Even the dating sites for singles are reported to have 3o-to-35 percent of its membership attached. Ashley Madison has given those who feel lonely and unfulfilled a place to freely meet like-minded people without throwing their infidelity in their spouse’s face. Is it better to be on a website locked in your office at home, or rather go to a bar to meet someone? Biderman would say the former and this is coming from a guy who is married with children and says he is loyal.
Since photos are private and can only be showcased with mutual consent, it is almost impossible to root out your spouse on Ashley Madison. Although it is free to join, you do need to pay for virtual roses or cards. If you are on Ashley Madison, I will assume you are sly enough to have a separate Visa account and P.O. Box.
As far as the concerned significant other goes, he or she may need to take a hard look in the mirror to see what is missing in the marriage and how he or she may have contributed to pushing a lover away. As far as the Main Line goes, 3 percent percent on Ashley Madison? Given the attitude and affluence of its residents, this figure sounds really low to me.