Photo via Flickr user Harsh Agrawal
Are you bored of monogamy? Do you just have an uncontrollable urge to have sex with someone other than the person you sleep next to every night? If so, I have some excellent news: A matchmaking service is offering husbands and wives seeking a fling the opportunity to shit all over their marriage vows in the most secretive and expensive way possible.
In fact, UK-based Infidelities—a "discreet one to one private client personal and bespoke introduction service for men and women who are in a committed relationship but seek an affair"—has been around since at least 2009, but David, the 70-year-old founder of Infidelities (who didn't want to disclose his real last name as he thought it might damage his other businesses), hadn't done any press about the site until I met with him recently in the lounge of the Ritz hotel in London.
When I arrived, David was taking a break between meeting clients, who he told me are generally pretty well-off. He mentioned that they're occasionally related to famous people and said that he once arranged an affair for the sister of a well-known author. “When she gave me her name, it was quite an unusual surname,” he said. “Later, I picked up a book from the library, and it had the same surname as the woman I’d met that morning.”
Besides that vague snippet, the rest of David’s consultations, understandably, are strictly confidential. He also refuses to discuss how much he charges, saying it’s a matter for him and his clients.
He would tell me about how he started this business, however. Having run mainstream dating services for the past 15 years—and corporate networking services before that—David took the next logical step and branched out into arranging affairs for married people about five years ago. “I thought, There’s a niche market here—why not develop it?” he told me. “It was kind of on a whim, really.”
David divides his time between East Anglia, where he lives, and meeting clients in fancy hotels in London. He told me that he enjoys walking, cycling, classical music, reading and cooking, and said he helps as many as 50 people a year have affairs. Understandably, he strongly rejects the idea that cheating is always bad for a relationship—he even got angry when I said the word cheating and forbade me from using it again.
“I never use the word cheating,” he said with disdain. “It’s just common currency. It’s a conspiracy of a certain middle-class, middle-England Protestantism. If you go to France, I’m sure they don’t call it cheating. It’s the wrong description; it’s much more nuanced than that. There are so many different reasons why people want to have a relationship outside their marriage.”
Continuing, he launched into what I believe could be an entirely original conspiracy theory. “This whole idea of cheating—it’s all a con; it’s helping the divorce industry,” he said. “The lawyers make a lot of money out of divorce. People all have different reasons why they want to do certain things; it doesn’t just come under the category of cheating.”
One example he drew my attention to was of a woman whose husband was ill and could no longer perform sexually. With the husband’s consent, the wife consulted with David and he arranged an affair for her.
Another case involved a wife who was much younger than her husband and wanted to experience sex with a man more her age. This time, the husband didn’t know about the affair, which David said was usually the case. He still insisted his service is doing more good than harm.
David is married himself and told me his views on marriage stem from reading a lot. One book, which he cites on his website, appears to have been slightly more inspiring to him than others: When Good People Have Affairs, a self-help book by therapist Mira Kirshenbaum that was targeted at people who think of themselves as moral, upstanding individuals but want to have sex with someone they aren't married to.
The book was released in 2008 and attracted so much controversy that one opinion piece in the Scotsman had the author describing how she wanted to fly across the Atlantic and “[hunt] her down and [beat] her with my bare fists, turning all my hurt of being cheated on in the past into powerful blows.”
David insisted to me that Infidelities is strictly about business and is in no way a political or moral statement. “It’s not philosophical,” he said. “I’m not looking to have a fight—I’m running it as a business. I’m making a living, and that’s bread on the table for my wife and family.”
He told me that he doesn’t understand why a marriage should fall apart based on one little case of infidelity. “You’ve built a house, a family,” he said. “You’ve worked hard together. You’ve built the financial stability. Is an affair a reason to knock down the whole house of cards? [My clients] have no inclination to set up a home with this new person.”
In that case, I asked him, why don’t these people—especially the men—just visit a prostitute?
“We do want a relationship where we want someone we have a rapport with, who we can talk to,” he replied. “Men especially are much more into casual relationships—as many as possible without any commitment. Women aren't looking for multiple partners in the main; they want some sort of commitment.”
As our interview came to an end, an elderly man wearing a long coat entered the lounge and started milling around as though looking for somebody. David excused himself, and I left him to it.
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