Thank You For Resigning, Noel Biderman, So Adulterers And Attempted Adulterers Can Recover From Their Feelings of Betrayal After Private Information Was Leaked By Hackers.

no matter what happens in life, we are in charge of our own choices

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Yes, this post is about the Ashley Madison scandal. It’s also about the argument against monogamy.

Thinking about those who lost something in the last couple of weeks. Something of value. A husband. A lover. A family. Trust in the one person you thought you could trust. Face. Posture. Dignity. Peace. That feeling of security and comfort that comes with believing that everything is okay.

There seems to be a growing counter-culture that is dedicated to propagating monogamy as impossible. The basic message (as far as I can tell) is this:

Listen, we both know that cheating happens. I’m not going to lift one finger to curb my primordial urge to fuck every ass that stimulates my visual cortex. It’s science, baby. Instead of going through a pointless exercise of getting married, fucking around, and then losing everything that I – I mean we – value in marriage, why not just face reality.

We cheat. We all do it. It’s biology. Society’s standard of monogamy is impossible, and therefore society is the enemy here (not me) because the standards are setting me up to fail.

So, listen, how about this? We get married because we cannot deny the benefits of marriage. You like marriage, I like marriage. But my archaic biological drives (which happen to feel really fucking good when engaged and then released) are too strong to ignore and I don’t want to get into this whole marriage thing knowing that I will lose everything that I – I mean we – worked so hard to achieve. That’s not fair.

So, let’s just accept that we cheat. Let’s accept that even if I did have the ability to control my archaic biological drives (science is split here, and I’m not sure about the validity of the studies in favor of our ability to control it), I don’t want to control it.

I’m going to go ahead and fuck a few other people while we’re married. Because I love and respect you, I will use a condom. It’s completely natural to cheat.

I really do not want to give up a single thing that benefits me, or may benefit me in some way in the future. I truly do not want to have to make a decision that will result in the need to prioritize benefits and needs, which inevitably means I lose something that I value on some level. That’s not fair.

And I will try my best to be discrete, but here’s the thing: when there are unknown factors involved (ie a hot young college student who may or may not understand the importance of my need to keep the status of my marriage because of her limited experience with marriage and stuff) I cannot and will not make any guarantees. You might find out. There is no 100% containment of these things. I’ve seen it before.

Therefore, in the event that I am called out on my betrayal, I don’t want you to see it as a betrayal, so I’m going to do everything I can from the beginning to make sure this marriage will stand. Which means convincing you that monogamy is impossible.

And if I’ve made a convincing enough argument, you can’t say that I betrayed you when I’m caught, because you knew that I was not capable of monogamy. You were informed.

Your feelings of betrayal will be rendered null and void, and we will go on like none of this happened. Because it’s the feeling of betrayal that incites anger and sadness, which is ultimately what leads to divorce in cases of infidelity. Acceptance, on the other hand, is love. And I really do love you and the kids.

That’s the basic circular argument as far as I can tell. And it sounds absurd coming from someone we aren’t caught up in loving or stuck feeling dependent on. It sounds like a hollow, laughable argument unless it’s being spoken passionately by the one you really want to love and accept you.

I think a growing number have been there. And whether this argument is spoken out loud or it is implied at the beginning of a committed relationship, or it comes when lies fall out of pockets or cracked online accounts, those who have been betrayed have to make a choice.

Oh, the feeling of betrayal is real whether there is an arrangement or not. There is no logical way out of feelings.

Some will get caught up on the unfairness of being forced to make a huge decision because of something that someone else did.

But acceptance actually is love, and if we can accept the fact that we are all connected and that the actions of those in our lives will have a great impact on us, and that we made the choice long ago (or not so long ago) to allow this person’s actions to impact our lives, then we can take a sidestep away from feeling like a victim, and then step into the role of creator.

Which means, simply, that no matter what happens in life, we are in charge of our own choices. We feel our feelings. We reach out for support. We step into the creator by making choices that are best for us and our children (if we have children).

When we say yes to anything at any point in our lives, we can also say no to that same thing at any point in our lives. The need to reevaluate our decisions often comes up when new information is revealed. Saying no to something we have previously said yes to is not a failure. It is not a betrayal of a promise. It is not a betrayal of self.

Life is fluid. Everything changes. We grow. We become more of ourselves every day – at least, that’s the goal, I think.

And change becomes much easier when we accept the reality that we can handle whatever comes at us. We can handle the good and the bad. And if we do this consciously, we will come out on the other side of any challenge stronger and more trusting in our ability to handle the ups and downs of life.

We are all connected. But we are not bound by contracts when things become unbearable, unhealthy or humiliating.

Maybe monogamy doesn’t work for many people. So why stay married?

In all seriousness, though, every person has to make choices that are best for him or herself. Make those choices from a place of inner strength and peace, and I believe life will be better.

It takes work to find that inner strength and peace. It takes time. And that might scare people off. That’s okay. Wherever we are is okay. Acceptance of self is vital.

I wish the best for those who are facing feelings and decisions they would rather not be facing right now. Betrayal, devastation, anger, sadness, grief. I humbly suggest that you reach out if you are facing this or a similar situation right now. You don’t have to go through it alone.

I also wish the best for those who are facing outcomes no longer in their hands after choices that were made long ago (or not so long ago).

As much as I poke fun at the anti-monogamy philosophy, I don’t ridicule the individuals who have bought into it, or been sold on it. I understand through compassion that there were reasons for putting all of that time and energy into creating, selling and buying that philosophy. Into making it your own.

Feeling limited and boxed in can be dreadful. And not being aware of alternatives, we try to make things work as best as we can with the tools we have.

I believe that monogamy is possible. (And not just in heterosexual committed relationships.) But it isn’t easy. And all parties have to be committed to doing the necessary work.

Please also see my addendum in response to the tone I chose for this post: https://tendrilwise.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/the-absurd-anti-monogamy-argument-now-with-50-more-grace/

Author: tendrilwise

Hi, I have a diploma in Journalism, I've published a novel, and I am currently studying psychology. My odd way of viewing the world either gets me kicked out of parties or invited to them. Jenn McKay

7 thoughts on “Thank You For Resigning, Noel Biderman, So Adulterers And Attempted Adulterers Can Recover From Their Feelings of Betrayal After Private Information Was Leaked By Hackers.”

  1. Hi Jenn, like you said on aha, this is quite opinionated. Honestly, I don’t quite fully grasp your opinion. It seems to me that you think that monogamy is a society-created box that we are being made to live in though we are biologically supposed to be polygamous. Is that what you are saying?

    Are you saying that people should go into relationships with the mindset that cheating is not just a possibility, but an expected outcome? I am not really sure and I wish you will clarify that. Because you see, I belong to the school of thought that believes that those biological impulses can be controlled. Yes, that is why humans are a higher grade of animals. We have brains and we can think, which means we can control our actions.

    Moreover, if having multiple sexual partners was really the way to go, what about the risk of STDs. I mean if one were to have multiple sexual partners, one can get infected, and transmit them to one’s partner. is there any justification for that?

    Also the first few paragraphs make it seem like cheating is something that men alone do.

    Well, I need you to throw more light. Because like I said, I don’t quite fully grasp what you are trying to say

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Toby, thanks for reading and for commenting. I can see why this post may have been confusing, especially in the context of my blog and my voice. This piece has a different tone to it than many of my other posts.

    I do not believe that cheating is inevitable. This post is my response to the men who buy into the philosophy that monogamy is not natural and therefore use that line of thinking to create a circular argument in favor of cheating on their spouses without remorse or consequence. These are not people who live polyamorous lives. (They generally do not believe it’s a good idea for their spouses to sleep around – only themselves.) These are men who premeditate serial cheating. These are men who want to maintain a certain status in society by “achieving” husband status and still philander. This is the philosophy of the former CEO of Ashley Madison, a web site that charges married men to send messages to women with the intention of having a physical affair.

    It’s a long post. But the first half is written from the perspective of the married men who buy and sell the philosophy that monogamy is not natural. I am poking fun at their circular logic. The second half is more about my opinion. I guess I felt it was important to give that side of the argument voice before launching into my opinion.

    Oh yes, women do cheat as well. I don’t believe that woman are immune to acting any differently than men. But I am specifically posting in response to the Ashley Madison scandal.

    I agree with you. I think men who buy and sell the anti-monogamy propaganda are selling themselves short. We all have the capacity to live beyond our primordial desires.

    I think if anyone is living this way, they are not living in love, but in fear. I think this philosophy is the result of shortcuts taken when living in fear.

    I hope that clears it up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Jenn,

    What a great thought out post. I bet there are some very wounded people at the moment attempting to save face and salvage something of their marriage. I am like you I believe in monogamy but I don’t believe it is easy either. There are many benefits to a strong foundation in a relationship. There are tough issues a long the way, a stable relationship outweighs a small a mount of thrill or instant gratification. Attraction does not stop because you are in a relationship, it can be a wonderful experience for someone to be attracted to you without having to act on it. Enjoy it for what it is.

    I also respect an opinion that others hold that they have open relationships (mind you someone always gets hurt). For me it does not matter what you believe. It is what you agree to with your partner. Saying one think and doing another shows inconsistency.
    .
    I read a post the other day with a lady who had been a participant in the Ashley Madison scandal. She was married thinking she would be able to maintain a married life. However when she got married abuse became apart of the relationship. Her story would have made anyone say go for it lady, your man is a jerk off and not worthy of you. And while life is not that cut and dry and some relationships are very scary rather than positive. When the terms of the agreement, a partnership, a supportive relationship turn sour, it is time to re-evaluate.

    I love the idea of marriage for ever, but you can only be responsible for the actions of your own, not the actions of others and they may do something that stops the relationship. Can one come back from heart break and distrust? Do you want to?

    Jenn I think you made your points loud and clear and I enjoyed reading the post. Thank you.

    Rachel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Rachel, thanks for reading, commenting and for sharing on Twitter!

      I stand behind my opinion 100% but I am embarrassed by the fact that I chose to approach it through sarcasm, which is not compassionate, and therefore outside of the purpose of this blog.

      But it is such a touchy subject.And I was touched!

      You know, cheating is one thing. If someone is young and doesn’t know him/herself well, I can see choosing a partner with good intentions only to find the relationship lacking. In that case, depending on that person’s history and level of self-confidence, (s)he may be tempted to cheat. May actually cheat. This, I believe, is a completely different topic. This is something that is possible to heal – if that’s something that both partners want.

      But when a person intentionally puts him or herself above his or her partner because (s)he believes his/her partner is less than, deserves little or no respect, and is disposable or viewed as someone who wouldn’t dare leave, that is not something that can be healed from within that relationship.

      I believe it requires a power imbalance (where one partner sees the other as less valuable than him/herself) to buy into the philosophy that philandering (on the part of one partner) is inevitable and should be accepted.

      That’s what I hoped to get across in this piece. And I really hope that my sarcasm didn’t get in the way of that.

      Take care,

      Jenn

      Like

  4. Jenn, I agree with you that monogamy is possible with commitment and efforts from both the involved partners. The seeds of infidelity are sown in situations when one or both the partners stops working on the relationship, stops loving, when caring lessens and there is a lack of communication as well as physical intimacy.

    Dealing with temptations is purely a subjective matter and totally depends on the person and myriad factors of his or her life and the outlook. Its sad that people cheat and resort to adultery but we cannot jump to conclusions as everybody has the right to exercise “freewill” and have their own share of experiences, sufferings, and pleasures of life.

    But we must remember that monogamy and the institution of marriage was created for a reason after probably experimenting for hundreds of years so that we derive long term benefits and happiness in life as opposed to short-term pleasures that at times result in sufferings. Marriage is also a good exercise for self-development as it requires you to constantly work on yourself too.

    Eventually, we have to live our life and live it with our principles and values. We all have a philosophy of life, which might keep changing with time or different phases in our life. Some people hook-on to the anti-monogamy line and believe it is inevitable and normal. However, they may even change with time. That said, there may always be such people, with or without Ashley Madison.

    But coming to monogamy, I think it is possible, and it depends on many factors. However, you cannot always blame on the society for any deviations. I hope many people will take lessons from the Ashley Madison incident and those who are affected find a new light in their life as the storm calms down. May they all sideline betrayal, inline acceptance, and outline their life with one-to-one real love.

    Thanks for this post Jenn, and I hope many men read it. Thanks for sharing it on the ABC. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Vinay, for taking the time to read my post and contributing your thoughts on the subject.

      I believe strongly that there is no one specific right philosophy for everyone. I also believe that we are all living at different points in our journey, which often creates strife between people.

      I do not think that monogamy is the right choice for everyone and I believe that compassionate and accepting polyamorous communities out there prove that it can work for some people.

      But, for those of us that are looking for a committed relationship with one other person, I think monogamy is the only way to go.

      One of the arguments that I’ve heard against monogamy was”there’s always something missing in a marriage”, which speaks to a craving (I believe) to know oneself more deeply, but not seeing that for what it is.

      I do see that this philandering philosophy has been around for many years – in different forms – and I believe it stemmed from a belief in inequality between the sexes, so strong that it was actually believed at one point that woman (and children) were nothing more than chattel. Property. And men obtained them the same way they would obtain a piece of land or a herd of goats or the materials to build a house.

      When we can rise above the entitlement handed down through generations, there is an incredibly rich and irreplaceable reward.

      Cheating is painful. Premeditated philandering is weaponized entitlement. I second your wish for those who have been affected by the Ashley Madison incident, and similar situations. If betrayal is sidelined, acceptance inlined, and one-to-one real love is outlining their life (especially starting with self-love), I believe that all those impacted will thrive after getting through the pain.

      Thank you again for sharing your thoughts on this touchy subject, Vinay!

      Jenn

      Like

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