Before You Have An Affair, Remember This Anecdote

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We've known for a while now that cheating is a profitable business model. 

Back in 2013, Newsweek reported that the Canadian dating and affair arrangement website Ashley Madison received $50 million in a Hedge Fund investment

Intrigued, I headed over to Ashley Madison to see what this money-making cheaters site was all about. It appears women sign up for free, as a lure for guys, and being married isn't a requirement to sign up for a membership.

They also apparently give you your money back if you have no luck within six months. Don't hurry over, though. I was spammed with email, even without signing up. 

So, having an affair and cheating in a relationship is a business, and a discreet one still (despite the massive Ashley Madison data breach in 2015).

People pay to have sex with someone they don't know or find a regular bed buddy. Cheating, or the more elegant term "having an affair," has been in vogue since humans were cave dwellers.

RELATED: 15 Specific Signs A Spouse Is Cheating And Can't Be Trusted

Temptation is strong ... are you stronger?

Who's not intrigued by the promise of no-strings-attached encounters, daring to get caught, or a bedroom romp with someone new?

Before we got mired in the confines of puritanical rules of conduct, it was common for men and women to openly have affairs. High society and the poor alike were not ones to buy into morals. And, full disclosure here, I think that as consenting adults, we should follow what's authentic to our personal code, so I'm not here to count partners.

Personally, I have always been a one-man-at-a-time woman, with no interest in a taken man. If I was completely at ease with my sexual nature, like the goddesses who roamed in pagan times, I might just couple with whomever I chose whenever nature called.

I never cheated on my ex-husband in all the years we were together, and rarely fantasized about sexual intercourse with someone else, so I have little personal knowledge of cheating. But I have seen my clients fascinated by "mattering" to someone, often outside the marital bed, at whatever the cost.

Men and women, in general, though, will always have affairs. Relationships forged outside the confines of conventional institutions like marriage are often an escape. Fantasies give us fuel, and society encourages adultery by playing up the cache inherent in our animal roots.

RELATED: Cheating Is Always A Choice

Hiding in plain sight behind an affair

Yet, having an affair is an excuse to hide in plain sight. As long as you cheat, you're not required to love wholly or commit to the challenge of being enough. Too often, adulterers use the phrase "my partner made me cheat." Pardon my disbelief, but what a crock.

What else has us scorning vows? Possibly scoring better in the next encounter? Or perhaps it's because many of us are reluctant to ask for what we really want in our relationships.

No matter what, there are plenty of reasons why having an affair is never worth it. When the going gets tough, the weaker link finds solace in sex with someone new or from their past.

It's exhilarating for some to imagine being with a stranger in a hotel room and walking out. That secret keeps a smile on their faces all day until they get home to their real lives, which they're running from.

RELATED: I Went Undercover On Ashley Madison To Find Out Why Women Cheat

Another option — bury your head in the sand

Maybe the cheater has no interest in becoming the person who makes a relationship last. Fighting constantly about money, taking out the garbage, or how to raise the kids is a serious turn-off that could have you longing to run away — at least temporarily — into warm, willing arms.

Acing that test is a challenge I couldn't rise to in my own marriage. But instead of running to a lover, I escaped real life by burying my head and heart in romance novels in which god-like men roamed with tender hearts.

Infidelity, in any form, is a sign of immaturity and insecurity. God knows I suffered from both. The reason people cheat on school tests — they want to pass — is also the reason they escape with non-committal sex. It's a lot more fun than studying.

How you show up to take the test is your choice. Are you totally prepared for all possibilities, or do you want to take the easy way out?

A teacher can hand you the material and give instructions, but still, there is nagging homework and possibly, embarrassing failure.

RELATED: The Real Reason Women Turn A Blind Eye When Their Men Cheat

Who are you really cheating on?

Partnership demands vulnerability, and that's scary for some. An affair has a "Peter Pan" quality about it — all pretense all the time. Meeting Tinkerbell under the bush is much sexier than growing up.

The only thing you take home after the wild romp is your dark secret, and the knowledge that the person you are really cheating on is yourself. That's why having an affair is never worth it.

To deepen the love connection with your partner, show up and grow up. Honesty is not the most comfortable of poses, but it's worth it. Practice being the love you want in your life. Try seeing your partner as a wonderful provider, and dig up some genuine gratitude and grace.

Don't fake "you." Set your boundaries, find your value, and use your voice to derail a cheating heart.

As witnessed by Ashley Madison, affairs are money makers, but liars make true connections impossible.

RELATED: How To Stop Yourself From Cheating — No Matter How Tempting The Other Man or Woman May Be

Jen Duchene is an internationally acclaimed speaker, Akashic Reader, Astro-Numerologist, Author, and Sacred Design Expert.