TIME relationships

Twenty Percent of the Canadian Capital’s Residents Are Registered on Ashley Madison

That's pretty spicy of you, Ottawa

Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, is also it’s most potentially adulterous, Reuters reports. Around 1 in 5 of the population is registered on Ashley Madison, a social network aimed at married people that touts “Life is short. Have an affair” as it’s slogan.

The sleepy city, with a population of around 883,000 boasts 189,810 users, according to Avid Life Media, the Toronto-based company that owns the service.

ALM faced a huge hack this week from a group called the Impact Team, exposing 37 million users’ data in a demand to take down Ashley Madison and sister site EstablishedMen.com. The hackers referred to the site’s clients as “cheating dirtbags who deserve no discretion.”

The site says that it has suspended fees for users who want to delete their accounts.

Meanwhile, it seems like Ottawa’s politicians and civil servants are the ones having the most difficulty staying faithful — the most-registered postal code in the city represented Parliament Hill, the seat of power in the country, Reuters reports.

ALM CEO Noel Biderman thinks “power, fame and opportunity” are the likely causes of infidelity in the city. In a newspaper report published earlier this year, Biderman admitted that capital cities usually top subscription rates for the adulterous service.

Ottawa residents seem to think the reason is much simpler — everyone is just bored out of their minds.

“Why do you think everyone goes to Montreal to have a good time?” Kary, who refused to give her last name, told Reuters. “Ottawa is the city fun forgot.”

[Reuters]

TIME relationships

Google Street View Busts Husband Smoking After He Told Wife He Quit

He promised to quit after having a heart attack

A man was caught out by his wife after she found an image of him on Google Street View having a sneaky cigarette in their driveway.

Donald Ryding, 58, from Merseyside, U.K., had told his wife that he kicked the habit after his doctor advised him to improve his lifestyle, including his dietary habits, after he had a heart attack.

His wife, Julie Ryding, thought something was up after he stormed out of the house when she confronted him over a stash of empty cookie wrappers in his car. Hearing that the Street View car had been to her street that week, Julie went online and found an image of him smoking in the drive. According to her, the camera had pictured her husband before Google started blurring out faces.

“I couldn’t believe it — there was no denying it now we’d seen him smoking,” she told The Telegraph. “When Street View first launched, they didn’t blur out faces, but there was no need to with him — he was covered by a cloud of smoke anyway.

Even though the incriminating picture has been replaced by a more up-to-date version, Ryding can still be seen in the archives of Google Map images.

“You can’t believe the trouble he caused that day,” she said. “He still smokes, but he has cut down.”

TIME Security

Hackers Threaten to Expose Millions of Ashley Madison’s ‘Cheating Dirtbags’

Attackers breached adult affair website Ashley Madison

Hackers of unknown origin have begun leaking large chunks of user data from the website of Ashley Madison — a social-networking site promising “discreet encounters” for married people and which operates under the rubric “Life is short. Have an affair.”

KrebsOnSecurity — the Internet security blog run by former Washington Post cybercrime reporter Brian Krebs — says the hackers, calling themselves the Impact Team, are demanding that Avid Life Media (ALM), a Canadian company that owns Ashley Madison as well as Established Men (which promises to set successful men up with “young, beautiful women”) to take the two sites down permanently.

If ALM doesn’t comply, the hackers say they will continue releasing “all customer records, including profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails,” Krebs reports.

Ashley Madison gives users the option to delete their user data for the price of $19, but the hackers claim the feature is flawed and doesn’t actually successfully wipe customers’ information.

They also say Ashley Madison’s customers are “cheating dirtbags” who do not deserve discretion, Krebs writes. “With over 37 million members, mostly from the U.S. and Canada, a significant percentage of the population is about to have a very bad day, including many rich and powerful people,” the hackers reportedly stated.

ALM says it is trying to contain the huge leak and has condemned the hackers’ actions. “We’re not denying this happened,” ALM CEO Noel Biderman told Krebs. “Like us or not, this is still a criminal act.”

[KrebsOnSecurity]

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TIME relationships

6 Ways to Strengthen a Long-Distance Relationship

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You're defining and redefining your core values

Absence diminishes mediocre passions and increases great ones, as the wind blows out candles and fans fire.” -Rochefoucauld

Love doesn’t always respect geographic boundaries, or easily take a backseat to educational pursuits, familial obligations, and career opportunities.

With an unprecedented number of dual-career couples in the modern world, being near the one you love is no longer always a guarantee.

Long-distance relationships (LDR) are proliferating, with an estimated 14 million couples defining their relationships as such and a staggering 75 percent of engaged couples reporting having been in a long distance relationship at some point.

Even as they become more common, in no way is a long-distance relationship easy.

They are hard … really hard. Living every day without the person you love most is like living on one meal a day instead of three. You can’t help feeling the gulf, the disconnection, the absence. You know ‘this is what it takes’ to keep the relationship going, and you don’t want to give up … but some days that pit in your stomach aches.

You wonder if, and for how long, you can keep this up, or worse, are you crazy for even trying. Surely no sane person could handle this, you tell yourself.

This is the unavoidable doubt and anxiety that accompanies all long distance relationships. Each day you consider how to make things work — and you wonder how many compromises you must make or how many other priorities must take a backseat before “too much” is just truly too much.

And then you remember how much you love this person, and like an alarm clock that snoozes, but won’t turn off, you push the anxiety away for awhile, delay thinking about it. But it’s always a part of the landscape of your relationship.

So, on the tough days when missing your far-away love feels like more than you can take, here are some ways to reframe the struggle to help make coping a bit easier:

1. Your relationship is stronger than you think! A 2013 study found that long-distance relationships are capable of being stronger and, even, more intimate than those that are more proximate. Long distance forces communication skills to develop and improve if a relationship is to survive. Not only is writing to each other a fantastic way to drill down into your true feelings and express yourself (which helps you), it is also builds needed intimacy with your partner and strengthens the relationship.

2. You’re defining and redefining your core values. Values are sometimes tricky to define and yet, they play a fundamental role in decision-making. Being away from your partner forces you to decide every day whether it’s worth it to continue, and ultimately helps you decide how to prioritize being together — these decisions are strengthening your values and personal sense of self.

3. The glass is half full. Instead of focusing on the separation, try celebrating the connection and love you feel. Research shows that gratitude strengthens relationships by promoting a cycle of generosity and other pro-social emotions. Yet another study found that gratitude boosts happiness … something that helps offset the misery of being alone. Next time you’re feeling like you can’t take another moment alone, redirect your attention to your blessings — that you feel love and connection with a partner who loves you. This a tremendous gift — one many never experience.

4. Novelty is boosting your bond. Doing something novel and interesting with your partner boosts your relationship satisfaction. What could be more novel than navigating the vicissitudes of connecting across time zones, and continents? You’re in this together, and that sense of teamwork creates a bond between you that deepens your relationship. If you can handle this, you can handle anything.

5. Overextending isn’t necessary. Long-distance relationships require costly sacrifice that may tempt you to forgo your needs for the sake of the relationship. Skype sessions at extreme hours, expensive plane tickets, maxed out vacation leave, telling yourself that you’re “OK” being alone (when some days you just aren’t). You risk putting your wellbeing (and the relationship) in a dangerous place when you continuously overextend yourself. Just like we put on our own oxygen mask before helping others, apply that logic to your everyday life; taking care of yourself is critical to maintaining healthy balance in your relationship. Any partner worth keeping will understand and support you in this.

6. It’s OK if long distance isn’t for you. Long distance isn’t for everyone or every relationship — in fact, 20 percent of relationships are ultimately negatively impacted by the distance. If your relationship breaks under the pressure, it’s not necessarily the distance’s fault … or yours. This just isn’t the right relationship to fight that hard for. No matter how painful it feels at the time, this is an important truth for both of you to know. Recognizing the wrong relationship is a crucial step in finding the right relationship.

With our global culture, expanding professional opportunities, and technological advances … long-distance relationships are here to stay.

The good news is, both you and your relationship will gain strength through these obstacles — if you allow yourself to engage with your struggle and channel any anxiety into healthy choices for yourself, as well as the relationship.

In strengthening yourself, you’ll not only survive the distance, you’ll be better for it. Absence can indeed fan the flames of your passion, even if it’s for yourself and your own future.

This article originally appeared on YourTango

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TIME relationships

This Guy Sedated His Girlfriend So He Could Keep Playing Video Games

Judge describes his act as a "deliberate assault"

A man has been fined €500 (about $555) by a court in the western German city of Castrop-Rauxel for drugging his former girlfriend in 2014 so that he could continue to play video games with a friend.

The man put a sedative in his then girlfriend’s tea when she arrived home from work and objected to the idea of an evening spent at the console, Germany’s Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper reports. He insisted it was not a dangerous dosage — “I only put four or five drops into her tea,” he told the court — but the judge said it was a “deliberate assault.”

The woman slept until noon and kept nodding off throughout the next day, she said. Her boyfriend confessed what he had done, and the couple broke up not long after over an unrelated issue. Court-ordered testing of the woman’s hair confirmed that she had been exposed to the drug only once.

[Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung]

TIME relationships

Jimmy Kimmel Asked Little Kids What They Think About Gay Marriage

Hot debate for minds of all ages

Following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling to sanction marriage equality in all 50 states, Jimmy Kimmel turned to one important group to hear their thoughts on the subject: kids.

Responding to those who think explaining the change in marriage laws would be difficult, Kimmel sent a producer and cameraperson out into the field for a Jimmy Kimmel Live segment to find out what kids know about marriage equality. For the most part, the kids Live found had no problem understanding marriage in any form. But they certainly weren’t lacking for opinions on the institution of marriage itself.

Some think there’s a best time of day to marry, others are planning to wait until 30 before they wed, and one thinks it’s fiscally irresponsible to marry at all. But even if it’s not for them, all of the kids seem to agree on one thing: everyone should have the right to marry… as long as they’re old enough, of course.

This article originally appeared on EW.com

TIME relationships

Meet the Straight Couples Who Were Waiting to Marry Until All Gay Couples Could

Roxy Davis Roxy and Jordan Davis pose for pictures at the California State Capitol building in Sacramento after getting married at the County Clerk/Recorder's Office on June 26, 2015.

Now that the boycott is over, it's time to get legal. Maybe. Or not...

Last Friday in Sacramento, Calif., Roxy Davis, 29, was scrolling through her Twitter feed when she saw the news that the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that all 50 states had to recognize same-sex marriages. As tears streamed down her face, she woke her partner of seven-and-a-half years, 29-year-old law student Jordan Davis, and screamed “Let’s go get married!” After “boycotting marriage” for six years, the heterosexual couple went to a flag store, bought rainbow flags, and told loved ones to join them for a “celebration of marriage equality” at the County Clerk/Recorder office, where they were married in a civil ceremony.

Likewise, in Portland, Oregon, Zoe Zachariades and her partner of seven years, Boris Kaidanov, both 28, got text messages from their moms asking if they were going to get married. Zachariades says she texted back “yes, then I looked at Boris, and asked, ‘Oh, are we?’ He said yes, and we hugged.” The two, who have a five-month-old baby, haven’t set a date yet.

These are just a few of the straight couples who have been waiting to get married until same-sex marriages were recognized as legal nationwide. Likeminded couples made headlines for getting married in 2013, after the Supreme Court both struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and cleared the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California. But many also pledged not to wed until there was marriage equality in their states.

Even that wasn’t enough for Zachariades and Kaidanov. A federal judge ruled Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional last May, but the pair still held out. “We would do it when everyone in our country could do it,” Zachariades explains. She said their decision was influenced by college classes that taught them about “gay rights as human rights, and we wanted to be part of change.”

Zachariades and Kaidanov wanted to “bring more awareness to our friends and family” about the issue, as did Jordan Davis, who says, “I was boycotting marriage because I have family members who would say we don’t need marriage equality. They thought [the gay marriage debate] was someone else’s problem, so I was trying to make it their problem, too.”

Straight celebrities have also generated mainstream attention for this unusual cause. Actress Kristen Bell, who pledged not to get married until her gay and lesbian friends could marry, popped the question to actor Dax Shepard in a tweet on Jun 26, 2013 after the Supreme Court struck down DOMA. Likewise, there were rumors that the court’s decision may have inspired Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to tie the knot, after Pitt famously said in 2006 that they’d only do it “when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able.” When they wed secretly in August 2014, it was seen as a sign that they thought same-sex marriage was allowed in enough states.

And most recently, Girls creator Lena Dunham told Ellen DeGeneres that she and her boyfriend, musician Jack Antonoff, would not get hitched until gay marriage was recognized in all 50 states. After the Supreme Court handed down that decision last Friday, she tweeted “.@jackantonoff Get on it, yo…”

There are also straight couples who have used their weddings to advocate for marriage equality, either by incorporating lines from court decisions on same-sex marriage into readings at their ceremonies, or asking guests to sign petitions supporting marriage equality, or by wearing lapel pins with a white-knot, a symbol of the movement.

As a “show of solidarity for our gay friends and family members,” Tony Curtis, 35, and Beth Moore, 33, of Louisville, Kentucky, had been planning a commitment ceremony at the LGBT-friendly Douglass Boulevard Christian Church — where, up until last Friday, ministers had refused to sign marriage licenses for straight couples until same-sex couples could get married statewide. (The Supreme Court case decided last Friday involved plaintiffs from Kentucky.) The couple was then going to drive to either Iowa or Indiana to get their marriage license signed because Moore, a behavioral analyst, said she didn’t want to get her marriage license signed in a state where same-sex and heterosexual marriages were not viewed equally under the law because she was frustrated by the way her relatives referred to her mom’s cousin and his husband as “roommates” at family reunions.

“I realized that if we had children, I wouldn’t want my children to think that their marriage was any less official or less important than other marriages or other relationships,” says Moore. Engaged since August 2014, the two now plan to marry in Louisville on July 18 and have the Douglass Boulevard Christian Church sign their marriage license.

But for some it was hard to find a partner willing to wait as a matter of principle. Mary Lunetta, a 33-year-old policy analyst in San Diego, (who was first quoted on this topic in the 2006 New York Times article “The Sit-In at the Altar: No ‘I Do’ Till Gays Can Do It, Too”) says her aunt came out as a lesbian at the same time that she got engaged. After talking with her fiancé, who also had gay family members, they agreed to wait. “How could I get married if my aunt couldn’t do that? It just didn’t seem right,” she told TIME. “I wouldn’t want to claim something for myself that was denied to people I love.” They ended up breaking off their engagement after she moved to take a new job.

Since then, she hasn’t met a guy who completely shares her views. She says she broke up with her boyfriend of two-and-a-half years about a month ago because “he wanted to get married, and he was supportive of marriage equality, but he didn’t understand my hesitation to do it until everyone in the country had that right. He’s not the only one who didn’t get the desire to wait. In discussions about this topic online, some critics argue these statements are akin to “not eating until there are no starving people in the world anymore.”

After last Friday’s Supreme Court ruling, Lunetta says she is definitely open to getting married when she finds the right person. “Now that we can stop talking about who should and should not be allowed marry, we should talk about how to commit ourselves to a true, loving partnership,” she says. “I’m a millennial, and a lot of millennials are the kids of divorced parents, so we don’t know how to do the good, solid, loving partnerships thing.”

That comment may especially resonate among the share of American adults who have never married, which is at a “record-high,” according to a Sep. 2014 Pew Research report. “We felt committed enough to one another that we didn’t need a piece of paper anyway,” Zachariades put it simply. Also, some of the straight couples TIME interviewed haven’t felt pressured to get married because they work for companies that recognize domestic partnerships which allows them to get health insurance for their partners.

Still, marriage is tempting because of the government and tax benefits it offers. Fawn Livingston-Gray, 42, and Sam Livingston-Gray, 40, were featured in the 2006 New York Times article as a couple that weren’t going to marry till there was marriage quality, while they did wear “matching white-gold rings engraved with Celtic designs.”

Now, nine years later, the Portland, Ore. couple have a six-year-old daughter, and the decision is as much about practicalities as principle. Fawn, a volunteer coordinator at a women’s crisis hotline who identifies as bisexual, says they’re still considering marriage because of the “protections for our kid and access to things like Social Security when we’re older, and it would probably save us money to file tax returns jointly.”

TIME relationships

Women Keeping Their Maiden Names More Often, Report Finds

It may not be for the reason you think

More women are opting against saying “I do” to changing their last names.

According to a new analysis by New York TimesThe Upshot blog, about 30% of women in recent years have decided to keep their maiden names in some way after getting married. The Upshot finds about 20% keep their last name in full, while 10% have opted to hyphenate their two names.

The number of women who have decided not to take on their husband’s last name has risen since the 1980s and 1990s, when only 14% and 18% of women kept their maiden names, respectively. Women most likely to keep their names are high-income urban women—like those featured in the Times wedding section, among whom some 29.5% have kept their maiden names in recent years, up from 16.2 percent in 1990.

Not every woman opts to keep her surname in the name of gender equality, the newspaper reports. “It’s not necessarily a feminist reason, but it’s just my name for 33 years of my life,” said Donna Suh, who married last year. “Plus, I’m Asian and he’s not, so it’s less confusing for me to not have a white name. And on social media I thought it might be harder to find me.”

[NYT]

TIME psychology

10 Ways a Little Kindness Can Change Your Life

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Eric Barker writes Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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