He gave me a Shake Weight. I’m so done with this shit.
I was reading an article on Businessweek about AshleyMadison.com, the website that links up married or otherwise attached people looking to discretely step outside the bonds of marriage and fidelity. The article mostly focused on how booming the adultery business is (they’re expected to pull something like $20 million in profit this year) and how despite their success they can’t bust through social stigma to get advertising recognition from the big boys, namely Facebook and the Super Bowl.
But what caught my eye was the infographic accompanying the article, which doesn’t really seem to get addressed. Registration numbers tend to spike the day after holidays, particularly those that are centered around the exchange of gifts between partners. Obviously, Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest of those and the numbers reflect that. In 2010, AshleyMadison.com earned 19, 215 new members the day after Valentine’s Day. Normally, daily registration of new members is a fraction of that. Interestingly, men edge out the women by a small margin, probably due to the fact that male members vastly outnumber female members on the site in general. The other big spike day was the day after Mother’s Day, on which the site saw 31, 427 new members. That was also the biggest day for new female members, who dominated the registration scene with a 77% share.
It’s an odd offshoot from the news that divorce initiations increase right after Valentine’s Day, too. What seems to be at play here is one person giving their partner one last chance to do right by them by celebrating Valentine’s Day to their standards. When they don’t, they finally take that step of looking elsewhere.
It’s unfortunate that people feel the need to go this route, though. I’m not going to launch into a tirade against AshleyMadison.com. They’re merely providing a service for something that already existed and would continue to exist without them. No one is saying, “Oh, check out this site. I think I’ll have an affair just so I can use it!” But I’m going to assume that the vast majority of people on this site don’t have any kind of open arrangement in their marriage and are doing this behind their spouse’s back, which is just deceitful and hurtful. I know marriages can get complicated, but I wish people would just be brave enough to say, “I’m not happy. We need to change. This isn’t working anymore.”