Saturday, February 12, 2011

Trends in Aspirational Cheating

Check out this graph, from a Business Week piece about Ashley Madison, the dating site for cheating married people.*  Make of it what you will.

So, people register more after Mother's Day than any other day.  And mostly women, with the parallel for men and Father's Day.  Valentine's Day is an equal opportunity holiday, with a pretty even split of new registrants.  I would be curious about the patterns before holidays.

The key appears to be that married folks become much more interested in cheating after a day that is supposed to recognize their relationship and their role.  I guess lots of people are bungling the celebration of their spouses' contribution, leading to the celebrated spouse looking around.  Of course, as the title to my post focuses on the fantasy of all of this--just joining a dating website for cheaters does not mean that people are then cheating (unless one has a pretty strict definition of cheating).  I am sure there are no good stats on the percentage of people who join such a dating website who actually consummate. 

On the other hand, it may not be that people are celebrating these holidays poorly, but rather the mere fact of a day recognizing one's status (as lover in the case of V Day, as Mother or as Father) is enough to get folks to look at escape hatches or diversions.  "My identity sucks! I need to find someone else" syndrome?

I have no clue what this graph really means, but I do think the results are very funky.  Almost deserving of Steve Greene's chart of the day.

* HT to Wayne Norman and his post.

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