By now virtually everyone knows about the hack of the cheating website, Ashley Madison, and the release of the names, emails, and other data of its users. What Washingtonians may not know is that D.C area residents have ranked near the top in users for quite some time. One can only imagine the panic and quiet desperation that ensued here in the Nation’s Capital when the hack became public.
Apparently the usual scam artists and bottom feeders have come out of the woodwork. Unconfirmed reports of blackmail, and suicides have been reported. Websites that offer “protection” services have also gotten into the act, first inviting people to search the database, then offering to erase any evidence of involvement. Of course, the ones doing the searching have often been suspicious partners and family members/friends—so the information got to them before any action to cover up could be implemented. “Oh, the tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”
It’s hard not to feel some sympathy for these exposed users, in spite of the fact that they brought this on themselves. After all, relationships are complicated and many marriages and partnerships encounter serious bumps in the road, so who are any of us to judge? Yet, we often do. There is also quite a bit of sympathy going around for those who were cheated on and the public embarrassment they must feel when their partner’s emails are flashing across the screen on the evening news. This would be a tough way to find out that this person you trusted was in fact, living with a big secret.
Apart from seeing their email on this list through chance, checking through the huge database that is out there in cyberspace, or hiring one of these websites or other services to find out if your partner strayed, how can you know? Their nonverbal communication will hold many clues if you pay attention to their behavior and signals. Here are a few telling ones:
- Your partner has suddenly become uncharacteristically attentive, solicitous and available. The change was rather sudden and intense and you have been enjoying it so much, the idea of their cheating is the farthest thing from your mind.
- Your partner is spending less time handling “work calls and texts,” and is more engaged in family interactions and activities. It just seems like they are more present then they were before.
- Your partner has suddenly changed an email they have had for years and plans to quickly upgrade and replace their computer/personal device. They have no real reason for this except that it is time for a change.
- Your partner has seemed jumpy and preoccupied at times, with no apparent reason. They may get this way while watching the news, when the phone rings, someone knocks unexpectedly at the door, and/or you ask an innocent question like, “who was that on the phone,” or comment when your hear their device go off that they just received a text or call.
Yes, some of these taken alone could be completely innocent and symptomatic of work or other stress in their life right now, a desire on their part to recommit to you and your relationship, and/or a sign that you are entering a new phase in your relationship. However if more than one of these is present, you may want to ask him or her if there is something they would like to discuss with you or if there is something weighing on them that they would like help with. What you don’t want them to do is open the door to scammers and other crooks who would prey on this very private affair that should stay only between the two of you.