For those of who has never experienced having an affair, it can be a little mind-boggling imagining how affairs happen. Someone not only has to decide to stray, they have to arrange meetings, exchange messages, and, of course, go through with it. But a new survey of almost 1,600 members from Ashley Madison, the extra-marital affairs website, found that women often make the first move. In fact, 45 percent of their female members take the lead in initiating a meeting during the first week of chatting to someone.
"[O]ur female members have a great amount of agency over their intimate needs and desires," Paul Keable, Vice President of Communications at Ashley Madison, tells Bustle. "In speaking with members, we hear routinely that the decision to join may take time but once their profile is filled out, they are signaling to our community that they are actively seeking a partner in an effort to outsource their intimate needs. This very behavior is backed up by research conducted by Dr. Alicia Walker from the University of Missouri."
The survey also looked at what people want to learn from their affair partner — and it turns out knowing if they want the same thing is more important than getting to know them as a person. But maybe that makes sense. "For a great many of our members, in particular our female members, the affair is a way to maintain their marriage," Keable says. "They are straying to stay. Affection for their spouse is still there, but for one reason or another, intimacy or affection has been lost. It is this they seek from their affair partner, and nothing more."
So what are they trying to get to the bottom of when they meet a potential affair partner on a first date? Here's what the survey found.