If you're stressed about getting busted by this whole Ashley Madison hack, there is hope. Maybe you hadn't even done anything, maybe you just clicked around to see what the prospects were but the evidence will be there for your partner to see. So, here you are, fork in road.
Perhaps you and your partner have become a parenting logistics management team and real intimacy and sharing has long since left center stage, well...you're in luck, this can be your wake-up call. If you want to be more than roomies and kick-start a new marriage with your partner, now is your chance to get fearless.
Tear it all down, and consider turning that indignation into curiosity. The marriage we choose at a certain moment in our lives developmentally may not be the same marriage that works for you now. Time to re-negotiate a new deal. We live in a pornified culture with ever more exposure to easy hits of sexual novelty and romantic intrigue so putting our heads in the sand and telling ourselves that we're different is at best naive and sweet and at worst, just plain stupid.
Agustín Fuentes, a PhD in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame reminds us that "the idea that romantic love and marriage are connected and that marriage is the ultimate outcome for a couple in love gained prominence in the 16th century and rapidly spread across much of the western world, and now much of the globe. Previously, and in many societies still today, there is no necessary connection between romantic love and marriage." He also writes that "in our society we often confuse 'pair bond' with "marriage." They are not the same thing".
Often, it seems that we assume that because we fall in romantic love with someone, got married, had kids with them, bought homes and cars and life insurance together -- that they will just automatically be sexually faithful. Maybe it's a good opportunity to tease out the various unspoken expectations of your "pair bond" and make realistic commitments about fidelity with each other. Why are discussions of fidelity confined to sexual liaisons outside the marriage when financial and emotional infidelity can cause as much if not more destruction to our chosen "pair bond"? Remember that the research shows that most people will fall in love an average of 7.6 times in this lifetime. Oh dear is right!
The American obsession with romantic love becomes a private hell when your or your chosen "pair bond" partner falls prey to the frailty of the human condition. Although we have greater access to everything in an instant now, we are more alone than ever so we can drift into wanting all of our needs -- emotional, intellectual, financial and sexual -- met by this one poor mortal with whom we fell into romantic love once upon a time. Maybe a tad unrealistic?
Perhaps there is a greater lesson in all of this -- and if your email address has popped up as one of the 37 million who have fantasized about, flirted with or indulged in a "discreet" encounter -- there is no better time to have wildly honest conversations with your "pair bond" partner about how to define a deeper, lasting partnership based on realistic, mutually-agreed-upon expectations based on compassion for the frailty of the human condition.