Life after Ashley Madison : Striker Pierce Explores the Impact of Infidelity and Cheating
Striker Pierce Investigations began receiving a flurry of calls almost immediately after the notorious “cheating” website, Ashley Madison, had its member data and security vulnerabilities exposed by unknown hackers recently. Most of the calls were and continue to be from married men concerned about their names being on “The List.” Popular news media also began calling and asking questions regarding security, information loss and data protection. However, in none of these calls has the impact on the spouses or partners, who were and are also affected by this incident, ever brought up. What happens now? Where does the relationship go from here? Will I ever get over this? These questions and more are what we at Striker Pierce decided to start focusing on in order to assist our Clients when they contact us.
Walter Lohmann, Striker Pierce’s Chief Intern provides the following analysis and his own thoughts about a recent article written by Alexandra Katehakis in Psychology Today.
Life After “Ashley Madison”
The recent Ashley Madison hack has brought into the light of day an issue, marital infidelity, once hidden from view and has proven a field day for professional and arm-chair psychologists alike. Infidelity is an extremely sensitive subject; couples most often don’t want to think about it until they absolutely have to and, even then, they tiptoe around it for obvious reasons. No one wants to believe that his or her partner could be capable of cheating. In the realm of private investigation, the cheating spouse is no unfamiliar beast. By writing this article, our hope is that our readers will get a better sense of the psychology behind infidelity, through the contemporary lens of the Ashley Madison hack.
Alexandra Katehakis of Psychology Today recently wrote, “there is something incredibly personal about being cheated on. It makes you feel you’ve been replaced; that your love has been a total lie; that you did something wrong.” This is a very poignant characterization of the psychology surrounding the aftermath of an affair. The state of mind that Katehakis describes is very detrimental to all parties involved.
Understanding the underlying psychological roots of marital infidelity is key to responding in a healthy, mindful manner. Katehakis refers to cheating as a “coping mechanism” for any one of a long list of various experiences or traumas that could befall an individual. This sheds light on the idea that cheating is not usually an act meant to hurt someone. While infidelity is by no means victimless, a cheater’s intent is usually related to a greater host of issues than merely yielding to temptation. Though all relationships and all affairs are different, one can usually expect that their partner is not cheating on them with the purpose of hurting or offending them. In fact, Katehakis relates infidelity to addiction, and maintains that it must be treated as such. It is important to keep in mind the prospect that a cheating partner might not be in total control of his or her actions, because they could be suffering from a very real addiction or, at a minimum, the residual effect of past traumas. Thus, jumping to conclusions and making instantaneous reactionary decisions after an affair are not recommended. Dialogue between partners and conversation with third-party experts are the most positive, constructive ways of coping with infidelity.
As painful as the reality of infidelity is, experts like Katehakis insist that “although it may take a great deal of time, damaged relationships can be healed and trust can be reestablished.” This statement serves as a glimmer of hope in the midst of a very dark situation. Many individuals exposed in the Ashley Madison hack are bound to be clambering to restore trust and save broken relationships. In order to do this, it is key for couples to seek therapy and build a strong support network. It will take time to rebuild trust between partners, but many strong relationships are likely able to persist through such hardships.
Seeking more transparency in your relationship? Contact Striker Pierce for a consultation and we can work with you to determine a positive course of action. All calls are confidential and discreet. 571-451-4833 or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further reading, consult Alexandra Katehakis’s original piece in Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sex-lies-trauma/201508/infidelity-looking-beyond-the-ashley-madison-scandal