It’s been quite interesting, following the discussion on Ashley Madison in the media space. I call it a discussion rather than debate cos the letters on this topic have been relatively polite and non-heated, whether arguing for or against the website.
Well, it’s certainly a provocative proposition – a service to facilitate affairs. Discreetly. How convenient. Even more provocative is the proposition to set it up in a nation with one of the lowest known rates of sexual activity.
Some say that adultery is legal in Singapore anyway, so what’s the big deal. People who will cheat, will cheat with or without the website and we shouldn’t nanny everybody. Others counter that legal or not, the impending launch of the website outraged enough Singaporeans and society has the right to impose public standards of morality.
Affairs are legal, so means acceptable?
Well, adultery may not be punishable by law, but marriage as an institution provides for the exclusive union of two persons, and with it comes legal and non-legal privileges and protection (such as grants for public housing).
When the law provides that a divorce is awarded once a party is proven to have committed adultery, then actually adulterers are being “punished” by being excluded from the privileges and protection of marriage by law.
So in a society that upholds the institution of marriage (Singapore still does in a rather strong way), it will be ironic to say that adultery is acceptable, even if not a criminal offence. Marriage is after all, a sacrosanct agreement between two persons, to take specific actions and make various sacrifices, based on the word of the other.
If one party doesn’t keep his/her word, this agreement is betrayed. Endorsing a service that facilitates cheating undermines the core values of Singapore society – of integrity, trust and respect.
But affairs are well, personal, and if keep hush hush, ok right …
Whatever society views, people cheat for a variety of reasons. Many understand it to be one of those moments of human weakness, some simply caught in bad circumstances. Some still value marriage as an institution (they divorce and marry their lovers).
Individually, whether people have affairs for the thrill, they fall in love, or moment of folly yada yada, the consequences of hurt and grief to the family, and to themselves, is real. If you step in, you’ll have to face the music someday.
But I do know of people who had affair, broke up the family, went through hell, but now happily together. I also know of people who deeply regretted their affairs, even though they were never found out. When it’s a personal choice, outsiders can’t really judge the rights and wrongs.
Not so fun after all?…
I would say that affairs are, frankly, overrated. I read some “real-life” experiences online, of people who went onto Ashley Madison. Unlike its promise of thrill and passion, most of these stories outlined the sad undertone of relationships founded through the website.
People who seek an affair are usually lonely, in self-denial, ultimately insecure, and relationships formed on such basis are fragile, empty and eventually unsatisfactory.
It will probably be good advice, that if you don’t wish to get your hands caught in the cookie jar, don’t have a cookie jar. I’d still vote for Ashley to stay away.