More than 18 million people in 26 countries frequent AshleyMadison.com, a dating site for married people looking to have affairs.
But while unsatisfied marrieds browse the site looking to hookup, the man behind the site — creator Noel Biderman — has been happily married for nearly 10 years. HuffPost Divorce spoke to Noel and his wife, Amanda — who’s featured on the company’s new billboard campaign — in separate phone conversations to discuss the secret to their relationship success, how Amanda reacted when Noel initially told her about his idea for the site, and why Noel believes cheating actually saves marriages.
Noel, you’ve said that your website saves marriage and that an affair can serve as a “marriage preservation device.” Can you talk a little more about that?
Noel: I definitely believe that. For me, I’m a married man now — 10 years later, two children later, a really good economic success later, and with an extended family I love, I would be a fool if I said sex was the most important thing in my marriage –- it’s not. [But] it’s important to me, I’m not a priest and I didn’t sign up for a life of celibacy. If I woke up today in some kind of sexless marriage like so many Americans do, I would be genuinely upset by that. I would try to change it with my partner, but if I couldn’t change it, I don’t know if I would just walk out the door. I believe the social science, I’ve seen it firsthand, how children raised in single-parent households have more trouble with drugs and alcohol, have fewer educational opportunities, and get in trouble with the law. I don’t want to do that to my family and I certainly don’t want to do that because everything else I have going for me is great. I like my lifestyle, so why would I give it all up because the number five or six thing on my list -– my sex life -– is not where it should be?
So yes, if my brother came to me and said I can’t take it anymore, I’m either leaving or I’m having an affair, I would encourage him to have an affair first.
Amanda, would you stay in a marriage where you knew your husband was being unfaithful for the sake of keeping your family together?
Amanda: I wouldn’t just walk into divorce. But, I mean, I also wouldn’t deal with a relationship where I knew there were interpersonal relations going on without me. We definitely differ on that point. I get that some people are doing this to fulfill a need and to make themselves more fulfilled and happier. I’m not here to judge those people. Personally, that’s not how I live my life. That’s not how I live my life and how I define my relationship and what I would accept moving forward.
Read more here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/01/ashley-madison-creator_n_2993008.html