Ashley Madison Fallout: "Oh no, my name is on the list for having an affair, now what?"

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A national study by Proven Men reveals that 1 in 3 men and 1 in 6 women are having affairs and provides steps to take when a spouse commits adultery or name appears on the leaked Ashley Madison list.

secrets and self-focus are the silent killers that lead to an affair

Around the world people are gasping, “Thank God my name is not on that list!” But millions more aren’t so lucky and shrink in horror as they silently murmur, “Oh no, my name is on the leaked Ashley Madison list, now what?” With more than 30 million people having their secret adultery suddenly exposed, many are wondering how they got themselves into this mess or how to get out of it.

The Ashley Madison hack opened the public eye not only to how easy it can be to get caught up into an affair but also how easy it can be to get caught cheating on your spouse. “Although I don’t condone leaking out names of those having an affair, getting caught can be one of the best ways to save a sinking marriage,” according to Joel Hesch, the founder of Proven Men Ministries which helps men restore their marriages and regain sexual integrity.

The Ashley Madison hack has pulled back the bedroom curtains and spotlighted just how many married people are having affairs. It’s even worse than the 30 million names on the list. Our recent national survey takes these numbers even further by revealing that over 1 in 3 (35%) married American men are stepping outside of marriage by having sexual affairs, and 1 in 6 (17%) married American women are cheating on their spouses.

What causes people to have affairs? According to Hesch, “Secrets and self-focus are the silent killers that lead to an affair. Secrets kill relationships. A person always hold part of themselves back when they are desperately hiding a secret. When the secret is that you are fantasizing about having sex with someone other than your spouse, it creates an even greater dividing wall that suffocates a marriage. You must keep your spouse at a distance to avoid getting caught, which kills real intimacy or trust."

Add to secrets a selfish mindset and an affair is almost inevitable. According to Hesch, "Chasing after sexual fantasies, whether through porn or lusting after others is about the most self-centered activity in the world. A selfish person justifies the attitude or action with thoughts such as, 'I deserve a little pleasure.' The problem is that selfishness never quits wanting more. You’ve met selfish people. They aren’t fun to be with because it’s always about them. Same for affairs; they are only thinking about themselves, not the harm to others."

What’s the solution for a person who had an affair or is toying with the idea? It must begin with being open and honest with your spouse. Hesch let's the public in on a healthy little known fact: "A wife would rather have a man that struggles with lust but is working on it than a selfish, secluded man keeping secrets." That doesn’t mean that every spouse will stick around once finding out that a husband had an affair, but if a man keeps living with secrets he's killing his marriage anyway. Hesch suggests, "It’s better to have a quick death than a slow and painful death of your marriage as your secret life is slowly strangling your marriage."

Is change really possible? Can a marriage be saved? Absolutely. The Founder of Proven Men is an example of knowing the heartache firsthand because he had an affair. Hesch recalls, "I lived through the fear and trepidation I felt when I told my wife on my 7th year wedding anniversary that I had some bad news. That's the day I confessed not only porn use and a sex addiction, but also that for the past 6 months I was having an emotional affair with one of her friends." The silver lining is that this week marks Hesch’s 20th year free from porn and sex addiction. As he celebrates his 27th wedding anniversary, Hesch adds, “It took a lot of work, but our marriage is better today than the day we got married. In fact, the first seven years were really a lie.”

Want to find out more about how to break the news to your spouse? Hesch reveals in his book not only the proven path for gaining sexual integrity, but a full chapter is dedicated to what to tell you wife and contains practical steps for breaking the news.

If you are the wife of a cheating husband, Proven Men also provides free articles and videos to help you handle the fallout from learning that your husband has had an affair or is hooked on porn.

The mission of Proven Men Mission is restoring families one man at a time by helping people embrace a proven way of life that produces lasting victory from strongholds of porn and sex addiction. It developed a 12-week at-home system to help men win the battle with porn or sex addiction. The proven path system includes a 12-week course of study and a book on sexual integrity—available on Amazon. “This system requires a commitment to intense work over 12 weeks to establish a foundation for change. It also requires that you link up with an accountability partner. But without these two things, you risk your marriage, as you struggle to keep living within a secret, secluded and selfish world.”

This system not only strengthens existing marriages, but it prepares singles for marriage.

The Proven Men website ( also has free resources, such as a guide for accountability.

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Joel Hesch, Founder

Mike Milnor
Executive Director
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