On Tuesday September 8th 2015 the Wall Street Journal printed a front page story about the hacking of the adult cheating web site Ashley Madison. The article was written by WSJ contributor Ms. Elizabeth Bernstein. In her article she referenced different counselor types about how wives should deal with finding out that their husbands have cheated on them or at the very least had established an Ashley Madison account for the purpose of potential infidelity. She quoted experts from the relationship-cheating spouse field. One study quoted was from 2001. Another study quoted was from 2007. Nowhere in her article did it even intimate that cheating was part of a larger progressive addictive pattern. I felt she missed the mark. I so sent her off the below e mail and waited for a reply. I’m still waiting. How anyone could start to research this topic and not find Dr. Patrick Carnes is beyond me, I’m just saying. I’m not judging. So it appears that one again the larger American media missed the real story, not much different from when the then sitting President, Bill Clinton got on TV and said he had sinned. The magic moment to get this little nasty secret out of the closet and into the street never happened. Looks like a repeat if you ask me.
Dear Elizabeth Bernstein
One of my clients gave me your WSJ article concerning Ashley Madison. I’m glad that you gave it the space and time needed to bring this issue of “infidelity’ to light. Needless to say cheating spouses is not a new topic but this situation is new.
My name is Jay Parker and I have run a program for the treatment of Sex and Love Addicts in Redmond Washington [home of Microsoft] since 1999. Over the years No More Secrets [NMS] has had over 200 hundred men and about 125 of their spouses utilize my services. What I have learned is that the infidelity is a symptom of a much larger issue. Last December my book, “A Year of No More Secrets” came out speaking to this issue directly.
I do believe that you did due diligence in seeking experts on this issue as resources for your piece, and that you reached conclusions based on their bias. So if you will indulge me for a moment I’d like to share my experience with you, a new set of glasses.
Using drug addiction as a template it is easy to see that a heroin addict did not start his journey downwards with heroin, it’s where he ends up. He started with smoking pot as a teen, drinking to drunk as a college kid. Buying or finding prescription pills or even doing some lines of coke at a party were all tried and tested along the way to a terrible end. Heroin addiction did not and does not happen in a vacuum, it was the culmination of a chronic and progressive illness that when left untreated will and can be fatal. This model is the same for sex addicts who happen to cheat on their spouses.
When Josh Duggar’s [reality television show 19 Kids and Counting] name came up as an Ashley Madison client, along with his two AM accounts and the acknowledgement of an affair came the confession of also being addicted to porn. Now that makes sense to me. Cheating on a spouse for most men, like heroin addiction, does not happen in a vacuum either. I have never had a man sit in my office who only just cheated on his wife once and that was the full extent of his betrayal. Never. I might add that porn, adult book stores, strip clubs and chat rooms, just to name a few, are all forms of betrayal. My clients include techies, doctors, lawyers, clergy, teachers, businessmen, coaches, and men from all walks of life. In the back of my book I have research data to show all facets of their demographic breakdown.
Leonard Pitts Jr. a nationally syndicated columnist from the Miami Herald, wrote a great piece today about one of the reported two men who committed suicide as a result of being outed. This man was a father of two, pastor and professor at a theological seminary. What a tragic waste, but the shame was too much for him to bare. Ashley Madison is culpable and yet like the working girl on the street corner who hikes her skirt up as men drive by, each man is responsible for his own actions. It’s a lose/lose for sure, but the cruising man’s fate was sealed long before he ever got in the car that night, as was the Ashley Madison guy before he ever logged on to their site. We say “you’re only as sick as your secrets.”
Your experts offered up very simplistic ideas on how to repair a marriage. We at NMS have helped many couples come back together but it is a labor intensive process. “Finding a convenient time and place” to throw your spouse under a bus is not the way. And who supports her from this impending trauma as the man unburdens himself, figuratively throwing up a bad meal on her shoes? There is a therapeutic way to handle this, and it needs to be done, but not in the living room unaided. Just a thought.
In the event you have a follow up article planned, or have any interest in exploring what I believe is the greater issue of sex and love addiction outside of the narrow focus of the Ashley Madison fiasco, I would welcome the opportunity to be a resource for you.
Thanks so much for your time.
I would love to hear from my blog readers.
Do you think I’m beating a dead horse or has the world turned a blind eye once more? Let me know. For those of you who got caught in that mess NMS can help. Give me a call. As I always say misery is optional.