Ashley Madison Hack

Dear Readers:

Because this blog is 100% organic (and gluten-free!) I refuse to invent letters from readers seeking advice.  

However, in the wake of the Ashley Madison hack I’d like to address a question I suspect many people are wrangling with right now:

What do I do if my spouse’s email address appears on the Ashley Madison data dump?

For those of you blissfully dwelling under a large rock, let me summarize: Ashely Madison is a website dedicated to hooking up people seeking extramarital affairs.  Their motto is, “Life is Short.  Have an Affair.”

Yeah, that’s pretty gross.

Their website was broken into and a treasure trove of email addresses spilled forth.  Millions of them.  Numbers vary but hover around 30 million. 

That’s a lot of unhappy spouses.  I’ve got to imagine some of my readers have either used the site or discovered their spouse has looked into it.  For local context, Portland readers should know there are approximately 61,000 Ashley Madison users in our city.

Most Ashley Madison users are men.  More on that later.

Back to our question:

What do I do if my spouse’s email address appears on the Ashley Madison data dump?

For advice regarding dealing with the initial shock, I’m going to address men and women separately.

Women: Take a Deep Breath and Try to Relax.

You already knew there were problems in the marriage, didn’t you?  That’s why you peeked at the list in the first place.

Estimates vary but generally posit between 85-95 percent of Ashley Madison users are male.  Thus, chances are your husband did not have an affair through this website.  That’s the good news!

The bad news is obvious: your husband may very well have strayed elsewhere.  At the least you know he is priming his pump for a new well.  So why do you think that is the case?  

Before you run out and buy a gun or burn all his clothes and take a baseball bat to his car, sit down in a quiet space and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I faithful?
  • Am I affectionate and loving?
  • Do I still have sex with my husband, or do I regularly give Sam’s Stiffy the Stiff Arm?
  • What am I doing to make my husband feel special and appreciated?
  • Do I denigrate my husband in front of others?
  • What do I contribute to this marriage?
  • Do I put my children, friends and family before my husband every time there is a choice to be made?
  • Do I still have sex with my husband?

Yes, ladies, I know I asked that last question twice.  The reason I did so is because I receive scores of letters on this subject from frustrated husbands.  

The sexless marriage is one I have written about extensively.  For a few samples, see these:

Internet Porn is Ruining My Marriage!

Husband Wants Separate Vacations.

Am I jealous of My Kid?

I have also fielded plenty of questions about women who are openly hostile to their husband on a daily basis, especially in front of the children, friends, and family.  For my favorite column on that subject, click here:

Mr. and Mrs. Bickerson.

Women, ponder those questions as I address the men who find their wive’s names on the database.

Men: Also Please Try to Relax.  

If your wife is on the list, I’m sorry to inform you she probably enjoyed a variable potpourri of penis in profuse numbers: a deluge of dissimilar dick likely rained upon her unhappy goat milker and rendered her unfaithful.

Hey, don’t kill the messenger. I’m just working with the numbers here.  Still, it’s entirely possible she was just looking around and didn’t actually do anything.

Now it’s your turn to sit in a quiet space and ask yourself some questions:

  • Am I faithful?
  • Am I affectionate and loving?
  • Do I still have sex with my wife, or do I regularly give Kathy’s Kitty the Kiss Off? 
  • What am I doing to make my wife feel special and appreciated?
  • Do I denigrate my wife in front of others?
  • What do I contribute to this marriage?
  • Do I put my work and hobbies before my wife every time there is a choice to be made?

Advice for Both Men and Women:

  1. Go to your doctor and get a health screening including tests for all STDs.  Now.
  2. Call a marriage counselor.  Now.
  3. Remember that Ashley Madison did not verify email addresses.  That means it’s possible your spouse didn’t actually enter their email on the site.  They may also have just looked around but done nothing.
  4. Have a brutally honest conversation about whether or not you still love each other and wish to remain married.
  5. If you do, you’ve got work ahead of you.  See #2 in this list.  A good marriage counselor can help you move past infidelity but only if you are both willing to accept the past, struggle through the present and commit to improving the future.
  6. If you don’t want to stay together, handle your divorce in an ethical way.  Do not use your anger (or shame) to punish your spouse.  Which leads me here:

For Those Who Have Decided Upon Divorce:

Perhaps this new information was the final straw for your broken camel back of a marriage and you’re done.  Please read carefully:

There are reprehensible, hateful, terrible no-good assholes out there waiting to take advantage of your pain.  

These vultures greeted this data breach with glee and eager anticipation.  They want nothing more than to throw napalm on your fire of sadness and create a conflagration of billing opportunity.


(Illustration by Chasity Fincher)

You may know them by their common name “Greedy Divorce Lawyers” but I refer to them as DICKS (Divorce Industrial Complex Kingpins).

If your lawyer is using this data breach to market her firm, RUN.

If your lawyer tells you she can get you more money or more parenting time because your spouse’s name showed up on this list, RUN.

Find yourself a good attorney who will explain the law to you and encourage you to separate your anger from the clinical legal decisions that need to be made during a divorce negotiation.

Over 95% of cases will be settled before trial.  If your lawyer is speaking to you about fighting for custody based upon your spouse’s email being on this list, they are telling you to go all the way to a trial.

That’s the worst position you can take, but especially at the outset.  In addition, these “gutsy” attorneys almost never actually take a case to trial.  


They posture and proclaim and pronounce, and then fold like a cheap suit on the eve of trial.  

After, of course, they have generated obscene amounts of money in legal fees. 

Watching a local firm milk this hack has been sickening, but enlightening.  Just when you think a slithering snake can’t get any closer to the ground, a sinkhole emerges.


PS: Don’t forget to share!  Sharing is caring.


This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Karen

    I saw a firm in my city using this scandal to attract clients. I am an attorney and the firm in question is run by someone who is an embarrassment to the legal profession and a joke. One of my partners started an email chain sharing the firm’s social media posts on the Ashley Madison hack and each and every one of us is incensed and disgusted, but not surprised.

    This is the same firm that has placed incredibly tasteless advertising in local publications, so I suppose one cannot expect any better from a scoundrel.

    Keep up the good work, Robin! I am eager to read your book when it is published.

  2. fred g

    Take the sleeze bag attorneys out of the divorce process. Go to a mediator and an accountant. Its the best way to keep your sanity.

  3. Cliff

    Wow, this is too good to pass up! So I was a recent employee of this particular firm, which has become such a fucking joke around town, among the family law group. It has been an eye opener to watch as they bleed their clients of their $$$, all the while “people” mean NOTHING to them. It became obvious that the deranged narcissistic senior partner in the firm needs to keep supporting her outrageous spending habit, to the point where she turns her firm into a Salvation Army store to sell things that she gets for free, using her employees to do the selling.

    There is absolutely no continuity of operations in the firm since there is about a 180% turnover rate of personnel, staff and attorneys. In the past 19 months, 76 people have come and gone from the Portland office, which currently employs 30 people. This inefficiency among others is ultimately passed on to the client, not to mention the Hostile work environment she creates, and this is coming from a career army veteran with multiple combat tours. I am not the least bit concerned with putting my name on this because it is that firm who has no loyalty and burns their bridges, not me!

    It is actually amusing now to watch the firm crumble, like watching a slow motion earthquake, especially since it is primarily because of the Senior shareholder, who by the way doesn’t have the BALLS to fire her own people so she has another partner do her dirty work, the only process they have down very well. I don’t think they should use the term “partners” there however, seems to be far from that. Since it has been crumbling for sometime now, and there are a few others on their way out or eyeing the door, It would be ill advised to take your business or your marital issues there, unless you just love dumping all your money into a giant SHIT-SHOW.

    I think we all know the place, if not just hang out at Suki’s and have a drink in the afternoon, it will come to you. Have a nice day!

    1. Robin DesCamp

      I used to sing karaoke at Suki’s, back when it was Lila’s. I thought it was a dive bar back then. SO sorry to hear it is more akin to a dumpster dive.

      1. Dude

        Haha, dumpster dive, I like that. Actually Suki’s is not half the dive as the element around it! You can enjoy a drink there, such as a Grey Goose vodka, instead of screaming at some employee for leaving her huge office stash of Grey Goose out where clients could see, even though there are way less clients up there than vodka! And as far as the cocaine, (which is still an illegal narcotic, for those in the law community who think they are above it) which was allegedly locked in the firm’s safe along with guns and cash, was probably placed on Craigslist and sold out of the conference room. So listen up Queen of fucking everything, YOU need to wake the fuck up!! You DON’T know everything, though you try, you don’t even have a fucking clue what is right under your nose because your whole legacy you will leave behind is a huge trail of people who fucking HATE you. NOBODY respects you Queeny, they are just all stuck there trying to hold their jobs as long as they can, out of their own sense of loyalty, clearly not out of respect for you. What a pathetic joke you are to the business and the community. You will never get it though. Most other casualties of yours just don’t have the balls to speak up. Have a nice weekend!! 🙂

    2. Gregory O'Shea

      I hired an attorney to do two things for me. In the course of getting one thing done, she joined this firm, after I paid her over 11 grand over nearly a year. This firm then tacked on another 6 grand in three months of doing absolutely nothing and sent me a bill as i was in court finishing this all up pro se. Then the firm owner’s husband is the guy trying to collect on this ridiculous outstanding bill. I’m here with a ding on my credit score, unable to get VA financing for a loan to buy a house. The real shame of this is that my kids are under the influence of a severely personality-disordered parent (not me) and they are going through alienation that will most likely affect them and their future relationships. I’ve tried everything I can do as a reasonable, non-attorney person. I’m looking now for another attorney who I can pay to deal with these horrible people. I’d like to go before the city council and voice my concerns about Oregon family law. The current state of this system is a nightmare if you are the sort of person in an outlier situation like mine. Ten+ years of trying to stay in contact with my kids and I’ve seen many of this town’s practitioners of ‘family law’ and it’s a business that attracts more personality-disordered people who prey on the victims who stumble in to this trap.

  4. SCC in SDA

    I once worked for a notorious divorce lawyer who hid in the bushes during a party. Her client was instructed to provoke their spouse into an argument and lo and behold when the cops showed up, this lawyer was there to give a bogus side of the story.

    This is the same lawyer who assaulted an associate in court because the associate was not prepared. The reason the associate was not prepared was because the lawyer was supposed to handle the hearing, spaced it (brain troubles?), assigned it to the associate immediately before the hearing, and then freaked out in open court when it was not going well.

    I’m not joking, the attorney grabbed this young woman BY THE EAR and dragged her out of the courtroom. She quit that night, but not before blasting the firm to all the employees. I think perhaps 3 of those employees are still there.

    Then there’s the “creative accounting…”

  5. Karen

    How about that cocaine and cash in the safe?

  6. The Entire City is Watching This Unfold!

    I know a firm whose founder hired a homeless person to work for her to do yard work and scare other homeless people away.

    The homeless man was eventually picked up by US Marshalls because he was a convicted sex offender (pedophile) from CA.

    They had posted pictures of him on their FB and I often wonder if that’s how the feds found him.

    You might say hiring people with a criminal background is the firm’s Achille’s Heel.

    1. Robin DesCamp

      She seems to have an affinity for pedophiles, allegedly. I base this upon her unflinching support for a man who sexually abused teenage girls he was supposed to be coaching.

  7. Skipper

    We’ll I was obviously employed at the same firm as the one being focused on here, so it seems that when you treat people as badly as you do and continually screw people for their money and flush hard working people down the toilet like yesterday’s dump, it finally comes back to bite you in the ass!! Not that it could miss.

  8. Out of the Cult

    I wonder if the founder paid payroll taxes for the homeless sex offender. At least he was actually working for the firm, as opposed to the Polish cousin who is on the payroll, whose house is paid for with firm money, but who does not work for the firm in any capacity. That’s what I heard in the lunchroom, anyway.

    Speaking of the lunchroom, ask the “Chef” about his plans to open a restaurant, his “secret” supper club so secret that nobody comes, and his plans to open a hippy commune.

    I saw your Facebook fiasco with the cook who insists upon being called a Chef and with a capital “C” no less. The carnage you made of him was sublime. Whatever happened to that offer of $25,000 you made for him to prove that shit he was slinging?

    And speaking of shit, nice photos of his food. Yeesh. I heard in the lunchroom that he was turned down for a job at Jimmy John’s.

    1. Robin DesCamp

      Dear OOTC:

      1. I have no idea how he was paid. Perhaps in bad food?

      2. I’d love to ask the cook about his career plans but we aren’t on the best of terms right now. We did have a nice conversation several weeks ago (thus making the recent turn of events somewhat surprising) and he told me he was leaving the firm in December to appear on a reality cooking show.

      I find that exceedingly difficult to believe, but I believe in dreamers living the dream. I’m a good example of that and I truly wish he achieves everything he wants in his career.

      As for the hippy commune, that sounds kind of nice when you are young but as a grownup I can’t say it appeals to me.

      3. The $25,000 offer has been ignored and as of today I haven’t heard a peep from either cook Ryan Spragg or the other firm spokesperson/garbageman Teddy Tickler.

      See, that’s what happens when you are confident and brave enough to call out a liar. They fold immediately. Kind of like certain lawyers who claim over and over again to “win” for their clients but who actually never win anything.

      4. He was very upset I posted those photos which were on his business FB page. He said they were “unflattering” and “taken out of context.” That’s an odd position to take since, again, THEY WERE ON HIS BUSINESS PAGE.

      5. Final thoughts:

      That whole dance on Facebook was very interesting for me. I was having drinks with my friend JC last night and her sister suffers from bipolar disorder. It is a very sad and terrible illness.

      It is quite common to attack people by alleging they are mentally ill, need medication, or off their medication. I see it all the time and quite honestly I have gone there in the past.

      It’s facile when you’ve nothing else to argue or when someone is making you angry to lob these insults. Unfortunately, to do so is incredibly insensitive to people with mental illness.

      What’s also interesting is I’ve been absolutely forthright about my own occassional struggles with depression. I’ve written about it and since the boss logs every word I write (this is odd but true!) both she and Ryan decided to go there. Repeatedly.

      I think they thought it would rile me up but honestly I just felt bad for all the people who were reading the thread who may suffer from mental illness and takes those words to heart.

      My thoughts on the cook are these:

      A 33-year-old man who cooks at a dwindling law firm, lives where he lives, and with an extensive criminal record should not feel superior to me.

      When I was his age I had practiced law for 6 years, had a 6-figure income, owned and lived in a beautiful home in Westover Heights, and had no criminal record.

      Today, I am about to publish my first (of many) books, I own a beautiful home with an amazing husband who believes in what I’m doing and supports me in making this happen, I have a child who fills me with awe and wonder every day, and two dogs: one of whom is kind of an asshole but I love him anyway.

      I still have no criminal record. I intend to keep it that way.

      The Oregon State Bar has never had to investigate me. Unlike some lawyers. Ahem.

      Being a critic of the family law system and those who twist it to suit their greedy purposes is bound to get me embroiled in silly little things like this from time to time. Usually I try not to engage. That is what I did when he first appeared on my page labeling me a “stalker” because I shared an article written by their IT Director.

      The problem was, he made several very serious and very false allegations against me. I had two choices: react or ignore.

      My concern was if I ignored his claims people might think they were true. So, I reacted. I think his refusal to back up his statements with proof and collect his $25,000 reward tells you all you need to know about the veracity of the claims, which would have come only from his boss.

      In closing I’ll say this:

      I don’t think he’s a bad guy. He was sent on an errand by a coward and failed spectacularly, but I do not fault him.

      You named yourself “Out of the Cult” and I think there is very much a cult-like phenomenon going on over there. I have studied cults out of fascination in my spare time (especially Scientology) and the similarities between cult leaders and their practices and what I hear about where Ryan works are striking.

      You’ll see a chapter on that in the next book. By the way, if you are interested in the cult of Scientology, I am hosting a cocktail party for the amazing Tony Ortega next month. Email me if you’d like to come!

      Sorry for the tangent.

      Anyway, I think he’s young, impressionable, needed a job (who doesn’t in this economy) and is drinking the koolaide. I think he will inevitably get fired (perhaps even over the FB stuff because of his attacks on those who suffer from mental illness and women who don’t work, of which I am not one thank you) or he will find the environment intolerable as so many do. Perhaps he will end up in a wage dispute with his employer as one of the former cooks did.

      If that happens and he wants to download and deprogram with me, I’m happy to do that. I forgive him for everything he wrote on my Facebook page (again, MY page) because I think he is being held sway by a very strong personality.

      Whatever. However it happens, Ryan will leave the firm and I’ll bet not under the best of circumstances. And if he does and he wants to reach out to me, I’ll be here. Just as I am for all the formers and some of the currents.

      1. Popcorn

        Since the cook made false and defamatory statements against you, are you considering a lawsuit? I practice in New Jersey but I know two lawyers who do this sort of work in your neck of the woods.

        1. Robin DesCamp

          That’s a good question and the answer is a simple “no.”

          As I mentioned above, I am sympathetic to this guy, despite all the ugly nonsense he posted on my page. I am also well aware of the salary he makes slaving for the woman who sent him into a knife fight with a vegetable peeler.

          Filing a suit for defamation takes time and money and my life is utterly focused upon writing and another project I hope to divulge by the end of the year (if not sooner). I simply do not have the bandwidth to devote myself to a silly lawsuit against someone who had little choice in the matter and who will likely soon be out of a job.

          I also think (and please forgive me for my language) that would be a total pussy move. I stand behind everything I write and say with the truth.

          That is why those whom I’ve critiqued are so frustrated: they know I have the truth on my side so they cannot sue me.

          That is why they log every word I write, including these you see here. Good morning, guys! Nice to see you here again!

          That is why they have allegedly consulted with attorneys about how to handle their “Robin problem.”

          That is why they sent in a proxy with false allegations.

          Ryan is a victim, not someone I want to harass with a lawsuit.

          He probably believed the things he wrote were true because the cult leader told him they were true. I’m sure he was deeply embarrassed and upset when he sought proof from the founder, hoping to cash a check from me for $25,000. I know he was upset (sources!) when he provoked me into posting his criminal record.

          I do hope he stands down, however. The last kerfuffle did not go well for him or his boss, as evidenced by the thread on my Facebook page and the emails that continue to flow into my inbox today.

          People sure love to share war stories.

  9. Chris

    Having this lawyer on the other side of my divorce was like having a terrorist move into my life for almost two years. Every single thing was a huge battle replete with insulting and threatening communications. My ex-wife was led like a lamb to the slaughter and she didn’t realize it until it was all over.

    Her net result was far less than I offered all along because she was instructed to keep fighting on all issues, major and mundane, all the way to trial. This resulted in over $250,000 (yes, you read that right) in legal fees for us both. That’s $125,000 more she would have received if she’d accepted my initial very generous offer.

    She did end up accepting that offer. When? Almost two years later and immediately before the trial.

    Robin, you have a following that cheers on your efforts because we have lived this misery and had our lives nearly destroyed by divorce lawyers who practice in this way. It is extraordinary that someone who has made a career and life out of treating people like garbage and abusing them mercilessly is so angry about you calling her out her behavior. She is a hypocrite of the highest order.

    My ex-wife now sees what a horrible mistake she made and as a result we have been able to get to a better place. We are thinking of starting a Victims of Bad Divorce Lawyers wine group. You are already an honorary member and I hope you’ll speak at our first meeting.


    1. Skipper

      Chris, I have another story about this fine Lawyer. She was hired by my current wife, a number of years ago, to represent her in her divorce from another attorney in town. (not family law). Upon receiving a phone call from my wife’s former husband, this wonderful, amazing lawyer told my wife that she could not represent her because she would have more clients sent her way by her ex. Do I need to say more? Just refer to the illustration. By the way Queen of fucking nothing, the beatings will continue until morale improves, or until you are gone. You should also consider the fact that your “flock” is not really yours, since there is a lot of information coming from current employees. Now your next task is to figure out who. Have fun!

  10. My Turn!

    I caught my lawyer overcharging me repeatedly, so I fired her. When I tried to get my file for my new attorney, she refused to turn it over until I paid the bill in full.

    That was the bill I fired her over because of the overcharging. So the practice is: cheat your clients, sometimes get caught, get fired, but hold the file hostage until they pay the ransom in the amount you cheated them for.

    Interesting way to do business. My new lawyer finally got my file and once this is over I intend to file a complaint with the Oregon State Bar. How can this possibly be legal?

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