This is, of course, a play on the title of the 1991 book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray. Dated though it is, the title is catchy, and the other day I heard a woman with a PhD trying to inject a little bit of colour into her radio interview by invoking the ‘Mars/Venus’ mantra.
The title is much more interesting than the book probably ever was, though it hit a chord at the time. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus is a relationship book that is way too smaltzy for today’s market. Not only that, it’s probably way out of sync with today’s world. How come? It just does not take account of basic biological differences: women don’t have penises, but they do have wombs and they are biochemically and emotionally quite different to men.
The book starts off with an admission by the author that he just didn’t understand what his wife was feeling when she had their first baby. SNAG that he was (that’s Sensitive New Age Guy for the non-baby boomers), Jon faces up to his inadequacies and gets into cuddling and just holding his wife when she feels the need. He gets so good at understanding his wife’s needs for cuddling that he goes on to be a brilliant therapist for couples who are having similar problems…as one did at that time.
So, what’s wrong with that? Plenty! According to Noel Biderman, the founder of Ashley Madison.com: the build up to the arrival of the first child is when his business starts to get heaps of new male clients. Pregnancy is crunch time for fidelity. No amount of cuddling the wife is going to make men faithful when their women are in the family way, apparently. Biderman’s business had approximately 27 million clients at the time of the interview in 2014, so I guess that makes him something of an authority in the field of infidelity.
Noel Biderman is an articulate lawyer who used to work for professional athletes. Why do top athletes need lawyers? You might well ask. Think Tiger Woods. He is not the only sports star who “lives large”, as they used to say on Oprah. As a matter of fact, Tiger could be pretty typical. So Mr. Biderman’s experience with the tricky personal situations that athletes have gave him the concept for the current business model when the Internet came along. Current, that is, until his recent debacle with the disclosure of client info; something that we did not foresee when we first started to write this article.
It’s not as if Mr. Biderman is against polyamory. As a matter of fact, he’s a big fan of it; or so he says. But it has nothing to do with the business model that made him so successful. Nor is it the way he chooses to live his life. He is a married man in a standard relationship that does not involve cheating, at least, so far as he is aware; or so he says.
His clients are not like him, by definition. Discretion (telling lies to your partner) is the basis of the business. His married clients just can’t deal with their partners handling the truth. Enter AshleyMadison.com, stage right, to help you out with that ‘discretion’ problem…not to mention the other websites out there that are offering the same kind of service.
So what does this mean for polyamorists? It means that you have to be extra careful when it comes to STIs (that’s STDs for baby boomers). There are a lot of people cruising for an STI bruising going by the business stats of Ashley Madison.com alone.
If anything, the current dating climate lends even more appeal to relationships that are honest and lasting. It’s probably a lot less risky from an STI point of view, for starters. If you don’t want to end up being an incurable romantic, in the medical sense, upfront honesty in a polyamorous situation seems like the best bet. As a matter of fact, we would say that it is definitely the best bet, hands down…but that’s just us.
Let’s talk about the up side of cheating: according to Mr. Biderman, for the guys it’s the sex, and for women it’s the passion, when it comes to having an affair. With the women, passion is something with a timeline…say, three months. After that, it might happen again, or it might not. Got the picture? So that’s very different from a relationship. It’s more like what the oldies used to call ‘an affair’. Does that mean that a ‘current affair’ has a shelf life of about 3 months? Apparently it does.
It goes without saying that what we are trying to do in the polyamory community is to provide readers with more non-standard options than the ones we have outlined so far. But first, a reality check: the thing to be said upfront is that certain demographics are not well catered for in the dating scene. According to Mr. Biderman, there is a huge glut of men in their sixties who do not have a suitable demographic that finds them attractive. Ouch!
Having said that, OKCupid.com is regarded as the most polyamory friendly dating site. Let us know if you find others.