The recent data hack that exposed more than 35 million subscribers to the Ashley Madison cheating website has pushed an untold number of marriages into crisis and has allegedly led to at least two suicides to date. ItsCheating.com and renowned psychotherapist and expert on digitally driven intimacy disorders, cheating, and pron/sex addiction, and Senior Vice President of Clinical Development with Elements Behavioral Health, Robert Weiss, LCSW, CSAT-S, are acting as emotional health “first responders” to provide information, support and help for couples affected by the infidelity disclosures as they work to make decisions about their future.
“There are millions of hurt, betrayed and worried spouses out there today wondering ‘was it my loved one on that site?’ and ‘how can I cope if they were on there?’ and even ‘can our family survive this?’ Meanwhile the millions of married people who used the site wait in anxiety, wondering if they will get caught, how to make amends or if their relationships can be saved,” says Weiss, who in recent weeks has been featured extensively in the media to offer insights on new, digitally driven sexual norms and sexual addiction in the wake of the Ashley Madison hack. “By and large, hurt and angry spouses aren’t seeking divorce. They’re trying to figure out what happened to the relationship they thought they had, not to end it.” Weiss is the author of seven books on infidelity, technology and addiction including 2015’s Always Turned On and 2014’s Closer Together, Further Apart: The Effect of Technology and the Internet on Sex, Intimacy and Relationships.
For those affected by the Ashley Madison leak, Weiss recommends refraining from making any life-changing decisions for at least 30 days. “Let the passions of the moment pass before making decisions that will change your life for the long term,” he says. On ItsCheating.com, Weiss provides additional expert advice on recovering from infidelity – for both cheaters and those cheated upon – along with a list of resources including books, support groups, professional therapists, treatment programs and self – tests that can be of help in determining next steps.
Weiss, who directed the launch of Relativity programs to address serial infidelity, intimacy disorders and sex addiction at The Ranch treatment center in Tennessee and The Right Step® family of drug rehabs in Texas, has some words of encouragement for couples seeking to repair their marriage in the wake of infidelity disclosures. “Trust can be restored if both people are willing to do the work,” he says. “In fact, the relationship can be more honest, more intimate and more vulnerable over time when the secrets re on the table.”
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PhD, CSAT/ Provider Consultant