David runs Infidelities, one of the UK's biggest adultery clubs.
This is what happens when you don't use Infidelities to have an affair (photo via)
Are you bored of monogamy? Or 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 both the most secretive and expensive way possible.
In fact, 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 going for a while. You probably heard about similar services back when Johnny Vaughan still had a career. But you might know less about the entrepreneurs who've trail-blazed these adultery clubs. Seventy-year-old Infidelities founder David (who didn't want to disclose his surname 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 didn't tell me how they made their money, but did say that they're occasionally related to famous people, which, again, wasn't very helpful. However, he did say 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 little 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.
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 posh 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 an affair. However, David strongly rejects the idea that cheating is always bad for a relationship. In fact, 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 is 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 younger man. This time, the husband didn’t know about the affair. David said that’s usually the case, but 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 inspiration to him than others. When Good People Have Affairs, a self-help book by American therapist Mira Kirshenbaum – targeted at people who identify themselves as good and who want to sleep with someone who isn't their spouse – was released in 2008 to a storm of criticism.
The book, which is Kirshenbaum’s 11th self-help book, was so controversial that one opinion piece in the Edinburgh Evening News 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”.
However, David insisted 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 whole 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, adding: “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 meet with his client.
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