An online cheating site for married people got hacked earlier this summer. As a result of the move, some 37 million subscribers to the Ashley Madison website saw their personal information revealed to all. The array of immediate reactions to this event has been perhaps predictable to experienced family law attorneys in Texas and the rest of the country.
One divorce lawyer in the Northeast told Forbes magazine recently that her “phone lit up like a Christmas tree” when the news broke. Meanwhile, the Miami Herald offered up a column headlined “Elegy for an Ashley Madison Suicide.” It described how a 56-year-old husband, father and minister who had a subscription took his own life when it was revealed.
And then there’s the take offered up by Tech Insider which suggests that many who frequent Ashley Madison may be rather blasé about the possibility of being caught.
According to this piece, supported by the personal observations of a psychologist who has studied the online cheating phenomenon, the reason for holding to a “meh” attitude is that the individuals don’t feel that they’ve done anything wrong. In this line of thinking, online flirting, and even the sending of sexy photos, is not infidelity because the affairs haven’t been consummated. Besides, there’s the anonymity factor if you’ve taken precautions to create a fake profile.
At the same time, the psychologist notes that many spouses of online cheat site users don’t share the view that the activity is all that innocent. If that isn’t translating into divorce, it may well be prompting many to at least seek counseling.
What seems clear from what has been recorded so far is that full toll in terms of actual relationships from the Ashley Madison hack is something that won’t be known for some time to come.