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Dating website spied on its cheating users

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It wasn't the spouses of cheaters that were doing the spying.  A dating website for people looking to secretly cheat spied on their users.

Eric Anderson, the "chief science officer" at Ashley Madison, a dating website for affairs, spied on more than 4,000 conversations from 100 women had with potential flings.

"I monitored their conversation with men on the website, without their knowing that I was monitoring and analyzing their conversations," he says. "The men did not know either."

Anderson used data that included the women's profile information, along with private messages the women had with men over the period of one month. Even though the women did not know that their private messages were being spied on, it is listed in the terms and conditions they had to agree to when registering for the site.

Anderson, who is also a professor at the University of Winchester in England, used the spied on conversations for a study that was presented on Saturday at the 109th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association in San Francisco.

The study claims that women look to cheat before they need more passion. The research suggests that women would rather cheat than divorce because they usually still love their husbands.  "It is very clear that our model of having sex and love with just one other person for life has failed -- and it has failed massively," he says.

It should be noted that there is a conflict of interest with the study since a dating site that promotes cheating on your husband pays Anderson.  His study conclusions also come from a sample of women who want to cheat on their spouses. While he wants the study "to help unravel the stranglehold that our culture has on sex and love," it is still a biased study.

"Most of our knowledge of women who cheat comes from another population via selection bias, those in counselors' offices. My method is the best way we can do this. It's not perfect, but it's the best we have," he says.

Putting aside his bias, Anderson has a theory that people want to cheat because the Internet makes people aware that there are more opportunities outside their marriages.

"Individuals evaluate their own standing by comparing their current position with those who have more," he writes. "Women may therefore look at their monogamous relationships and consider themselves sexually deprived in comparison to what they see occurring in today's sexualized culture."

Even if your husband doesn't know you have been getting intimate with others on the Internet, someone out there does.

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