Experiment: To attempt to have affairs with married women via AshleyMadison.com. (Hey, back off — they're clearly not getting the good stuff at home!)
Hypothesis: There are married women out there; they want me; I want them, and Ashley Madison will bring us together for illicit amoral roistering.
• Sense of guilt, shelved
• Loyalty to my fellow men, abandoned
• Ashley Madison account
• Wedded women
Background and a disclaimer: by nature I'm a one-woman man. Yes, right now I'm actually in an open relationship, but whenever I've been in something serious and monogamous, I didn't have any problems staying true. That said, I'm not a hardliner about other people cheating, especially if the cheater in question isn't getting any loving from their partner but can't leave him or her for economic reasons or because of the kids or for a number of other legitimate factors. Under those circumstances, I feel that the under-attentive spouse might well be getting what he or she deserves.
What I often wonder about, however, is why someone who wants an actual relationship starts things off with a married person. Aren't relationships hard enough without adding that complication to things? And how comforting can it be that your new friend is willing to run around on his or her spouse, lying all the while? To me, if you're going to be with a married person, it should just be light and playful, an adventurous physical thing, not something you're taking seriously.
And because I'm in an open relationship with a woman who actually lives with her other boyfriend (who knows all about me — long story), seeing a married person would be pretty much the ideal arrangement. I'm extremely happy with my girlfriend and not going anywhere, I just need to keep things symbolically even by stepping out on the side while she's with boyfriend #1. And I know I'm not going to be able to provide anyone else a whole lot of emotional engagement, so I want their expectations low.
Isn't everyone entitled to a little affection?
Single women often tell me they understand where I'm coming from (your basic emotionally unavailable asshole, right?), but my experience is that it can be hard to keep things sufficiently un-serious. With a married woman, there might be a much better chance, so Ashley Madison, here I come!
Method: For those of you who don't already know, AshleyMadison.com is a personals website for married people or those who want to get with married people. Their motto — "Life is short. Have an affair" — is perhaps overly glib, but, again, if you're suffering through a loveless, sexless marriage and can't get out of it, I think I have to agree. Isn't everyone entitled to a little affection?
Compared to the interminable eHarmony profile process, filling out my Ashley Madison page felt like going through the EZ Pass lane. Actually, it felt like trying to pick someone up in the EZ Pass lane, since you don't get to reveal a whole hell of a lot about yourself or find out much about them. You pretty much only get to put up photos (which, if you're married, you might well be discouraged to do), give your vitals (which everyone seems to lie about), fill in boxes for what kind of interaction you're after (there were far too many people listing just "cyber chat"), as well as the kinds of fooling around you like (there's "light, kinky fun" but no "heavy, Rick James enslavement," sadly) and some activities that you'd enjoy doing (fine dining, sure, but sailing? How much time will we have?). Granted, they let you add a line at the end for each section, but it's still pretty superficial. (Oh, but wait, I'm looking for superficial encounters — I guess that's okay!)
I filled out my profile, rounding my height up an inch to six feet even (I figured anyone who puts 5'11" is likely to look like Danny DeVito). I was honest about my weight and age (north of thirty-five but south of 175). I said I was looking for "anything goes" (anything?), and listed myself as single, as there was no box for the rather particular nature of my romantic life. (Though I'm surprised they didn't have an "It's complicated" box for people going through divorce, engaged but wondering, etc. Here of all places I thought they'd be sensitive to the range of situations.)
I clicked enter, took my moral temperature (turpitude), and looked myself in the mirror. Was this the face of a home-wrecker?