updated 5 Nov 2013, 15:00
Login password
Fri, Nov 01, 2013
The New Paper
Email Print Decrease text size Increase text size
Infidelity does not mean suffering
by Judith Tan, Nur Shereen Ibrahim and Jasmine Lim

Singapore - You would expect a man who has only good things to say about infidelity to be bad at his own marriage.

But Mr Noel Biderman, founder of a website that matches cheating spouses, said he does not cheat on his wife.

He said that he and wife Amanda, who have two children, are faithful to each other and that he would be upset if his wife cheated on him.

"If my wife were engaging in such a service, then clearly our relationship would be in trouble," Mr Noel Biderman told Online Personals Watch, an Internet news magazine programme.

He explained that while being monogamous works for him, it may not be the way for others.

His wife feels the same way.

"I would be devastated if (Noel cheated) on me," Amanda said.

"But I would not blame a website... It is servicing a need out there. And unfortunately, it exists. It's sad," she told the New York Daily News., which he started 11 years ago, has announced plans to set up a website in Singapore. MyPaper first broke the news last week.

It sparked a public outcry, with Singaporeans and politicians insisting that its maxim "Life is short. Have an affair" is not what we want.

Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing said in a Facebook post that he is against any company or website that harms marriage.

"Promoting infidelity undermines trust and commitment between a husband and wife, which are core to marriage," he said in response to media reports of the planned local launch.

"Our marriage vows make it clear that marriage is a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman. This includes staying faithful to one another," Mr Chan said.

But Mr Biderman, who is also Ashley-'s CEO, does not agree.

He told The New Paper: "It's naive to believe that cheating is not happening now in Singapore. It is. So, are you going to remove these people from the community?"

He was speaking en route to a television interview in Sweden.

Mr Biderman, 42, said: "I don't know what the minister's mandate is like, but I assure you, he and so many people in similar roles don't truly understand monogamy from the social science perspective.

"We humans believe that we are monogamous, but we are not. It is these unfaithful acts that have helped us stay married. After all, it (cheating) is a needed relief. In a marriage, certain priorities take precedence over others such as children, finances and shelter over sexual needs. If you are cheating, it helps you stay in the marriage."


Launched in 2002, is a Toronto-based venture that earns money by getting members to pay it to contact one another.

It has 20 million members in more than 33 countries.

It recently dropped its pin in Asia, casting its first line in Japan in June and reeling in under half a million members in just three months.

It went on to Hong Kong in July, where it amassed more than 80,000 members, making Hong Kong its most successful launch rate per capita.

Mr Biderman is estimated to be worth US$100 million (S$124 million), largely amassed through

The online dating site, named after popular girls' names of 2000, is a female- centred brand.

"In today's world, more women have jobs and are financially independent.

They travel more and interact with more people. When societal obstacles are removed, the women start behaving like men. So with technology and the Internet, infidelity driven by women has caught up with men. Women are now using the Internet to fulfil their fantasies and passion," he said.

Mr Biderman said that he does not think "just a website can convince people to have affairs, except if they are already determined to do so".

A recent two-year study on marital infidelity in Singapore found adultery to be a top reason for the breakdown of marriages here.

The study, which looked at 227 individuals who sought help at counselling centres and family service centres, found that only about a third were likely to end their marriage and that men with cheating wives made up almost one in four.

Family therapist and founder of Heart to Heart Psychotherapy Jasmine Boulter, 42, said that already, the family value system here "is not very strong nowadays".

"By allowing a site that encourages infidelity to come here would be like setting up a 7-Eleven store for the convenience of cheaters," she said, adding that there are already other sites available online, without having to add another.

Mrs Boulter, who is married with four children, said that curiosity about the 20 million members, in this case, will definitely help to "kill the moral cat".

"The seed will have been planted that this is the 'in' crowd and if you are not with them, then you are not part of them," she said.

Mrs Boulter, who has counselled many couples, said: "Often, people tend to overestimate their ability and underestimate the power of feelings.

"It is not okay to flirt and that dinner will not have been just a dinner because feelings that develop can often become overpowering."

Block the site

A Singapore businessman has organised Block Ashley Madison - Singapore protest on Facebook, which had more than 25,000 likes as of Tuesday.

The man who identified himself only as Mr Tan said: "Temptations will always be lurking, but it's very different when it's orchestrated... We cannot allow (the promotion of extramarital affairs) to become mainstream."

Facebook user Mabel Lee posted on the page that people who are curious may end up getting hurt.

She wrote: "Just like drugs, it will destroy you! Ashley Madison is just making money at your expense. If you want something more, fix it in your marriage, not outside."

Another poster, John Ng, was emphatically vehement.

"If this company comes in, there will be no meaning in marriage anymore. If having affairs (is) right, then why should people get married for?? Simply no logic for this," he wrote.

Assistant Professor Sam Han from the Division of Sociology, School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Nanyang Technological University, said monogamy is a "recent phenomenon in the past 100 years or so".

Vested interest

"He is accurate, but Mr Biderman obviously has vested interest in citing this fact.

"I don't believe that a website like this would increase divorce rates - I don't believe it did in the United States.

It would be interesting to see how Singapore negotiates this new venture, whether it would let the moral ethos be undermined by its business ethos.

"But if the state wants to promote marriages and to strengthen families, this website would be running counter to that."

When Mr Biderman was asked if he will continue his foray into Singapore after all the criticism, he said: "I might be coming in the later part of the year."

Get The New Paper for more stories.

  >> Next
readers' comments
"Infidelity does not mean suffering"

Are you really sure ??

I bet my socks the Singapore adulterous men here will cry suffering when their wives divorce them and make use of Women's Charter to exact revenge on their useless horny willies. HAHAHA.

No suffering...yeah sure.
Posted by tlukay59 on Sun, 3 Nov 2013 at 19:55 PM

wrong liao... not 62 but 26%... the balance still single :D:p
Posted by baoxingtian on Sun, 3 Nov 2013 at 12:26 PM

is GE not a contest? :D:p
Posted by baoxingtian on Sun, 3 Nov 2013 at 12:25 PM

The unfaithful ones and women with regular lovers are part of the 38% who were not satisfied in bed by their spouses.
Posted by renyeo on Sun, 3 Nov 2013 at 12:19 PM

Thot so. :):p;):D
Posted by Kontikki on Sun, 3 Nov 2013 at 11:33 AM

I didn't read your message actually. I just logged in and post something that came to mind.
Posted by renyeo on Sun, 3 Nov 2013 at 11:31 AM

No. My mood is normal except that I needed to voice a grave concern.

When you read around in cyberspace of comments left by netizens concerning daily issues in this country you can't help wonder whether people are slowly warming up to communism.

If so, then it's a new problem the government has to nip in the bud.

I mean you won't know that somehow one day some smart alec decides to contest in the GE extolling the virtues of communal living and why globalization is weak for your lifestyle.
Posted by renyeo on Sun, 3 Nov 2013 at 11:30 AM

You countering me ?
How you arrived conclusion you talking sense ? And how you know communists behave such issues ?:eek:
I believe he angmoh because he got angmoh name and from life experiences. Will you say such things like him ? I won't. :D
Posted by Kontikki on Sun, 3 Nov 2013 at 11:19 AM
Posted by baoxingtian on Sun, 3 Nov 2013 at 11:15 AM

Totally agreed! Couldn't have said it better. :D
Posted by Gerigeriyeo on Sun, 3 Nov 2013 at 11:14 AM

Copyright © 2013 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.