Editor’s note: The author of this post, who wishes to remain anonymous, spent years as the owner of an online discussion board that catered to people having extramarital affairs. When he finally sat down and read through the content of this forum, he decided that he could no longer excuse his role in enabling the adulterers. He sent us this post so that a larger audience could share his revelation about profiting from a site that so decidedly went against his morality.
”What kind of scum enables cheaters to brag about their sexual exploits?”
“They deserve to rot in Hell.”
“You are without morals.”
“Do you not have any empathy? Are you devoid of feelings?”
And that is just a small sampling of the things that have been said about this site, and in essence, about me around some areas of the web this past little while. I like to think that I have a thick skin but when you are pretty much universally vilified it can wear on you. And it has on me. It has worn on me because while this may come as surprise, I am of the opinion that if you are unhappy in your marriage then you have an obligation to fix it or leave rather than go down the road of betraying your partner by committing adultery.
The truth of the matter is that this site has existed for one reason and one reason only and that was to fill a niche. With the advent of online dating and sites such as Ashley Madison catering to those looking to find like-minded individuals to cheat with, there was an opportunity to make money from that demand. Regrettably, I chose to participate in filling that niche and really can’t excuse myself from doing so.
I did it. I’m not proud of it.
Incredibly, this site grew in popularity despite me. A few years ago, when I put up the forum software and threw up some banner ads to married dating sites, I really didn’t give it much thought. It was just another little niche site that was in my stable of online dating sites that were part of a portfolio of web-based properties that I derived an income from. I never really did any promotion or traditional marketing because quite frankly the subject matter was more than a little off-putting. It was pretty much a “set it and forget it” type of affair (pun not intended). Despite that, over the years the forum grew and the amount of content that was being generated by the forum membership was quite staggering. Almost 75 thousand posts have been made on the forums by people that were actively involved in affairs.
A couple of months ago I decided that a redesign of the site was in order and part of that process involved me moving the forum to a new software platform. While I was in the midst of that project I really began to actually read the content that was being posted on a daily basis. I mean really read it. Not just skim it over like I may have done in the past. I don’t know what it was but it was like cold water being thrown in my face. The posts were not just words on a page to me anymore. The posts became vignettes of people’s lives that really began to make me feel extraordinarily uncomfortable. The post about a man that got off seeing his affair partner dress up in his wife’s clothes as part of sex play. The talk of using the marital bed to have sex while you are cheating. People talking about how they get turned on by being on the phone with their spouse while they receive sexual favors from their affair partner. This is some pretty disturbing shit, to put it mildly. I could go on and on an on. The site is filled with stories of such shocking betrayal that it really does make for difficult reading.
I decided then that I was going to try and change the scope of the site to make it more inclusive and to include the voices of those that were not in the pro-affair camp. I thought that by pitching a big tent that the there could be some great dialogue and debate and everyone on all sides of the equation could learn something. Despite significant push back from the membership, I appointed a moderator that was unabashedly adamant in his view that you have an obligation to fix your marriage or leave before going down the path of adultery. I encouraged posters to express opposing viewpoints in the forums and even toyed with the idea of having a separate section of the site specifically for those that had been betrayed. I realize now what an incredibly stupid idea that was. During the course of reaching out to people who’s lives have been touched by an affair in the hope of having them participate in the dialogue, someone very wise pointed out to me that it would be like having a site for rapists and victims of rapists to come together to read and discuss the topic of rape. While I certainly don’t believe that the act of adultery is comparable to someone being raped, the analogy brought home to me the fact that the degree of hurt that someone must feel after learning that their spouse has been cheating could in no way be tempered by engaging in dialogue with people that were actually engaging in the exact behavior that could lead to such terrible pain. I have been told that the pain of discovering an affair is beyond the ability of mere words to describe.
“I honestly never seen man crying so can’t really imagine it – it sounds too funny.” -Forum member pandorabox
I think the final straw came from just another post in just another thread where a member wrote that she found the thought of a man crying to be funny. This same member had spent the past few days whining like a petulant child that since the new forum software came in to effect that she didn’t like the way the site looked on her cell phone. The cold cruelty along with the unforgiving sense of entitlement and narcissism just made me sick to my stomach. Why am I doing this? Why am I building a platform for such twisted thinking? Who the fuck are these people?
The bottom line for me is that I have to get up in the morning and look at myself in the mirror and be comfortable with who I am and what I stand for. I can’t stand for this anymore.
So there you have it. This is my U-turn. As soon as I hit publish on this post I am going to go over to the forum and announce that it is over, I will disable the posting functions and over the course of the next several weeks will change the scope of the site to reflect the fact that this site is no longer a safe place for those that choose to betray their spouses.
I expect that some of the membership will feel betrayed by my decision. I expect some will take comfort knowing that’s the case.