Alabama No. 1 state for cheaters

Many relationships suffer from infidelity.

Recently, the Ashley Madison website, which people can join to anonymously cheat on their significant others, has been a hot topic. The site, which has the slogan, “Life is short. Have an affair,” was hacked, and on Aug. 18 the names of millions of users were released to the world.

A list put out Aug. 20, showing the most cheaters by state, named Alabama at the top.

With more than 33 million members in 46 countries and someone new joining every six seconds, Ashley Madison is the world’s largest website for married men and women looking to have a discreet affair, according to their website. The site also states it has become the fastest growing married dating website in the world.

Junior Chip Bailey said he thinks the idea behind the hacking was to show that people, including government workers, are not as honest as they used to be.

“They’re hiding behind technology to hide their scandals, so the hackers want to expose them,”he said.

Junior Quinton Clark said he thinks it is karma.

“You were willing to pay to cheat on your spouse,” he said. “You deserved it.”

Associate Professor of Sociology and Family Studies Amber Paulk said there could be other reasons for the higher numbers in Alabama.

“I actually think that it’s probably because many people were lying about where they were from,” she said. “Alabama is the first state that comes up on the list (when you register).”

Though a mystery surrounds the accuracy of the data, the issue of cheating remains.

“Sometimes it’s a case of bad judgment, but more often than not, researchers have found that it is people seeking connection,” Paulk said. “We also need attention and validation, and if we feel as if we’re not getting those things from our current relationship, then we seek them elsewhere.”

Clark said people should fix their problems or leave their significant other instead of cheating.

Paulk said the anonymity of the website and the realization for most that the encounter would only be sexual might have been a drawing factor.

“If you meet someone in the office, it’s really complicated,” she said. “That person might end up wanting more. They may be confused about the boundaries. If you say from the beginning that you have no intention of leaving your spouse, then that’s a very clear message that this is only going to be sexual and there’s no commitment.”

Freshman Trent Frederick said he thinks people used the website because it is easier than going out and looking for someone to cheat with.

“It makes it easier,” he said. “It’s a place to go and be upfront about it.”

Junior Jackie Willis said she was upset with the website and what it represents.

“It’s really gross because it’s really unhealthy,” Willis said. “These people have the thought they are going to be with someone else, but they’re still going to stay married to their spouse without telling them, as opposed to having an open relationship or just separating.”

Freshman Caroline Thompson said she believes this website shows how messed up society has become.

“People have always been cheating,” Paulk said. “This is just another way for people to do it.”

Reporting of such high numbers of cheaters has never happened before, she said, and that is why she thinks the incident attracted so much attention.

“It actually raised their publicity, and there are a lot of people who believe that it’s worth the risk,” Paulk said.

Thompson said she does not think this will stop people from using the Internet to cheat.

“I think that as time goes on people will forget about it and probably go back to the website,” she said. “I’m pretty sure that after this first blew up, people were scared to get back on it, but I’m sure that they’ll continue to use it later.”

Freshman Corbin Craig said he questions why people would need a website to cheat.

“We’re in a time where openness in a relationship is becoming more common,” he said.

The recent problems have not stopped people from joining. Hundreds of thousands of people signed up for the website the last week of August, according to the site’s parent company Avid Life Media.

Avid Life Media also owns the sites Cougar Life and Established Men and boasts more than 40 million members worldwide.