February 13, 2012
Everyone knows Valentine's Day is Feb. 14. Not quite as as many may know that Feb. 13 is Mistress Day, though, and that's probably a good thing. But we thought it might be a good time to learn a little more about cheating. So we went to AshleyMadison.com, a dating site primarily for married people looking to get lucky outside their marriages, to find out more.
"Seventy-nine percent of married men that we polled plan to spend Feb. 13 with their mistress," said Noel Biderman, the founder of AshleyMadison.com. "Since our launch in 2002, we've interviewed tens of thousands of women over the years and discovered there was a behavior pattern where people were making sure that around certain holidays, if you were leading a double life — you paid attention to those lives."
Biderman said, despite having a company slogan that states "Life is short — have an affair," he is not trying to convince people to cheat, but merely creating a community of discretion for those who do.
"Affairs were going on before I started this site, and they will continue to do so long after it's gone," he said. "But people were conducting them in dangerous circumstances — at the office, with a family friend, or going on the singles dating sites and posing as something you're not. I wanted to create a place where they could do it anonymously."
With nearly 13 million members throughout 17 countries, it seems like it's caught on. While the majority of the members are married men seeking women, Biderman said 22 percent are single women seeking married men. And Biderman said when you factor in hotels, jewelry and luxury travel, the infidelity economy is a trillion-dollar-a-year business.
"Men spend more money on their mistresses, guaranteed," he said. "Single women looking for married men will say they get all the upside and none of the stress of a traditional marriage. They get the benefits — travels, sex, romance, and they can get a lifestyle too. Men are attracted to beauty and age and women are attracted to power and influence. There might be a 24-year-old woman who is very bright, and a CEO taking them around the world is a lot more interesting than a guy with his hat on backward."
Biderman polled more than 2,000 married men on his website about Mistress Day. The most commonly used excuses of why they couldn't make it home on the 13th are staying late at work, going to the gym, and shopping for a Valentine's Day gift. As for where they planned to rendezvous, the majority said in a hotel (47 percent), while a large percentage admitted they would be going to a neighboring city or town (33 percent). Less popular options were the office (11 percent) and at home when the spouse is away (9 percent).
"I've heard a lot of stories of people having affairs and surviving," Biderman said. "It can actually make a relationship stronger sometimes. Hillary and Bill Clinton are an example of this. But it becomes difficult if you bring someone close to home. If you have a lover in your own bed, it's bound to end your relationship. If you are going to meet with your lover — don't do it at home."
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