Ashley Madison Hack Could Have A Devastating Psychological Fallout

Ashley Madison users may face more than just marital discord after the dating website’s recent hack.

On Tuesday night, hackers came through on their threat to leak almost 10 gigabytes of user data, revealing information including the names, email addresses and credit card numbers for up to 34 million people allegedly registered on the site, which caters to people looking to cheat on their spouses.

While individuals can search for their spouses’ information, 4chan users — who recently leaked images from a celebrity photo hack — are also combing through the data and looking to out high-profile users.

The potentially devastating fallout of the leak is just beginning, with users of the site and their families being most likely to suffer.

What do these unmasked users face? In addition to the obvious and devastating repercussions for those who were caught cheating — marital conflict, divorce and the rupturing of family ties — users of the site (whether they’ve actually cheated or not) may be subject to psychological trauma, public humiliation and possible blackmail. Public figures and government officials, of course, have the farthest to fall.

“Dealing with an affair in a very public way makes the embarrassment greater and the hurt for the spouse and kids even more devastating,” Dr. Elaine Ducharme, a Connecticut-based clinical psychologist specializing in family trauma and divorce, told The Huffington Post in an email.

So what are some of the psychological impacts of being unmasked as a cheater on the Internet — or having your partner outed as one? Here’s what some experts say we can expect the fallout to look like.

The Curse Of Uncertainty

One of the first likely outcomes is that former users of the site will develop a sense of constant fear. —> Read More