Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

August 31, 2006

"Cheater Seeks Cheater"

Village Voice

From the sick-society department:

In New York's Village Voice for August 30, 2006, columnist Tristan Taormino investigates a cheat-on-your-spouse personals site that has one million members, and compares this to the largest poly personals site with less than 7,000 members.

"I prefer [to cheat with other married people] because they have as much to lose as me typically, and it's easier to relate to someone who is married," says Paul (not his real name), a 35-year-old executive at a large corporation in midtown Manhattan.... Paul cheated for the first time with another married woman he met through the Ashley Madison Agency, a website that boasts such taglines as "When Monogamy Becomes Monotony" and "For Women Seeking Romantic Affairs — and the Men Who Want to Fulfill Them."

Paul is one of over a million members of Ashley Madison, which — like Married Secrets, Affair Match, Discreet Adventures, International House of Wives, and others — caters to married people who want to cheat with other married people....

"Both people have just as much to risk and lose and expectations stay reasonable," says [the company's chief operating officer, Darren] Morgenstern, who founded the site in 2002 after reading a business magazine article that said one-third of people who sign up on singles dating sites are actually attached.... While Morgenstern admits the company receives its fair share of hate mail, he says, predictably, "We don't promote infidelity."

...It baffles me that there is not a site as popular, active, and profitable as Ashley Madison that is designed for polyamorous people. There are well-used swinger sites, but swinging is just one type of non-monogamy, a specific community and culture that not everyone identifies with. Alt.com is marketed as a site for "alternative lifestyles," but in practice, not a lot of poly people use it; you can't search specifically for other poly people, and the site is very BDSM-oriented while not all poly people are kinky. There is really only one credible personals site specifically for polyamorous people, Poly Match Maker (polymatchmaker.com); compared to Ashley Madison's million, it has fewer than 7,000 members.

...In the United States, cheating continues to be the dominant model of how people have sex and form relationships outside their primary partnership, and the stats on how many of our fellow Americans do it are pretty depressing. Statistics show that anywhere from 12 to 25 percent of women and 22 to 60 percent of men cheat on their partners. When will we embrace a more honest, ethical way of meeting our needs?

Read the whole article.

Among those million-plus sneaks who use cheater sites, how many really hate doing it that way — really want to be honest and moral and ethical — really want their beloved spouse to share in a healthy, open, loving journey — but can't begin to imagine how?

The world badly needs a full-up, well-organized polyamory awareness movement to show that wonderful possibilities exist — at least for those (few?) people who are tempermentally suited for it and are willing and able to do the work to make it succeed.

I suspect that the potential numbers of such people are much higher than anyone now imagines. My guess is that it's a good 10 percent of the population. What do you think?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think 10% of people today could handle poly, not well anyway. But if people were brought up in not so sick a society, I think that most people could.

September 02, 2006 6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The PolyMatchMaker site seems functional to me--I just used it now. OKCupid is good as well but they meet different needs--OKC is more flexible but PMM is poly specific and encouraging. I would suggest to anyone looking for a poly relationship to post to both sites--and poly groups and other poly websites should publicize these places.

I agree: if poly alternatives were better known, some of the 'cheaters' might become honest.

September 03, 2006 11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree of course that some cheaters could be poly if they knew it existed and if it were more accepted by society... BUT... to play devil's advocate...: Don't forget that for some cheaters the thrill of the illicit is a big reason why they cheat. Expecting the people in this set to have honest non-monogamy is expecting them to be happy with something that seems awfully similar to the routine, which is what they're trying to escape. Instead, they might benefit if they were helped to see how they can revitalize their current r'ships.

October 11, 2006 1:03 PM  

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