I was talking with a colleague today. We’ve both seen an influx of new clients whose email addresses and personal information was found in the Ashley Madison hack. He, unlike me, has already had one client commit suicide over it.

These are not fun times for many. For spouses who’ve found their husband’s emails associated with the site, many are in intense grief and emotional pain. For the men caught with accounts, many have been—or are in the process of—losing their jobs, their marriages, their good reputations. They might feel like they’re living in their own personal hell. 

If your information was found in the hack, this post is for you. This is triage.

1) Talk to someone

This is a tip I usually hold off on when I write articles like this one. It seems contrite. But in this case, you’re going to need to process what’s happened. There’s possibly a lot of embarrassment and shame involved in your day-to-day experience right now. You need someone—or maybe even a few close friends—or even a counselor, to help you process what you’re feeling.

2) Realize that people make mistakes

People make mistakes. Let me even say, as humans we’re downright professionals at making mistakes—especially when those mistakes are in the realm of sex. Sex, and the desire for it, can drives us to do things that we’re not particularly proud of—things that go against our own moral code, and to do things that go against the grain of what is socially acceptable (i.e., infidelity). Despite our best intentions in the realm of sex, many of us still screw up from time to time. You are not alone. In fact, the statistics are staggering. In this hack alone, you’re among millions of others.

3) Realize it’s never as bad as it seems at the time

Right now, today, things might look bad for you. They might look bad at work. They might look bad at home. You might be riddled with guilt for the pain your spouse is feeling. You might have a lot of difficult conversations ahead. Let’s not sugar coat that. Still, it’s going to get worked out. Perhaps you and your spouse can repair the damage—and perhaps you can’t. Perhaps you can rebuild your professional reputation—and perhaps you can’t. But life goes on, and no matter what opportunities might be lost or damaged, there’s still a lot of possibility for reconciliation, for personal growth, for new opportunities, and for happiness.

We normally don’t make a pitch, but we will this time. Wherever you are, if you need to talk, call us to schedule: 1-855-4-THRIVE.

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Anthony Centore

Anthony Centore Ph.D. is Founder and CEO at Thriveworks--a counseling practice, focused on premium client care, with 240+ locations across the USA. He is Private Practice Consultant for the American Counseling Association, columnist for Counseling Today magazine, and Author of How to Thrive in Counseling Private Practice. Anthony is a multistate Licensed Professional Counselor and has been quoted in national media sources including The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and CBS Sunday Morning.

Check out “Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book” written by AJ Centore and Taylor Bennett."