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The Times
  • Dan Seaborn: Beware of those encouraging affairs

  • A woman on my staff showed me an email she received recently that went into her spam folder, which read, “Life is short, have an affair.”

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  • A woman on my staff showed me an email she received recently that went into her spam folder, which read, “Life is short, have an affair.”
    It turns out it’s a company’s tag line. She was shocked that someone was sending out emails encouraging people to indulge in a relationship that could be harmful to their marriage. I told her that I had seen this material before on a TV show.
    There is a service available that promotes people having affairs. This particular company has been around for 10 years. They’ve set up a website that works like a dating service, but it’s for married people. Single people aren’t excluded. Many singles sign up because they aren’t looking for a commitment and want to date someone who is married. It’s crazy!
    On one hand, the company claims to stand behind their product by offering an “affair guarantee” similar to the guarantee other dating sites that pair up singles offer. In the next breath, the company states that they do not encourage anyone to have an affair and actually suggests counseling for marriages in trouble. Huh?
    As I read further, I learned how they justify this service. They believe they are helping individuals who have already decided to have an affair by providing a safe and anonymous way to find partners. I imagine this type of wording helps them sleep better at night.
    The company claims they just want to help ensure a positive experience when someone does stray. They clarify their reasoning further by stating that offering a dating service for married people does not make someone cheat. I agree that no one can point to a website as the impetus that caused a betrayal to occur, but I think people would agree it doesn’t help. It’s like putting alcohol in front of an alcoholic and then taking no responsibility when that person takes a drink. It’s a slippery slope.
    This service is the brainchild of a supposedly happily married man who suggested in an article in the Los Angeles Times that “because many members are in sexless marriages, but don’t actually want to leave their spouses, the company preserves more marriages than we break up.” Again, another attempt to ensure a good night’s sleep.
    The creator has made about $20 million dollars encouraging people to cheat on their spouse and has no qualms about making money the way that he does. I think if people would spend half of the effort and money that they do when searching his website as they would on fortifying their own marriage, this business could become obsolete.
    I know there may be people out there reading this saying, “I’ve tried, Dan, and nothing works,” or “It got better for a while, and then it fizzled out again.” I know marriage can be hard, but I want to encourage you not to give up! An affair is not the answer, and the people claiming it is are not marriage experts. They are profiteers!
    Page 2 of 2 - We have counselors, experts on human behavior, at our Family Wellness Center who would never recommend cheating as a way to preserve a marriage. It’s a selfish and cowardly reaction.
    An affair is like a tornado in that it can rip people apart and cause pain and devastation in its path. Our counselors would love the opportunity to work with couples who are struggling in their marriage (winningathome.com).
    Don’t turn to a dating service, but turn to your spouse, and get real help together.
    — Dan Seaborn is the founder of the Zeeland, Mich.-based group Winning at Home Inc. Email questions or comments to hometeam@winningathome.com.
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