Byron Bay, our capital of the Ashley Madison cheaters’ club

BYRON Bay is the region's "capital of cheaters" - with one resident in every 12 of the 2481 postcode a paid-up member of the Ashley Madison website.

The North Coast's "jewel in the crown" has an 8.55% membership rate among its 9000 residents, with 775 local people subscribed to the site.

The rest of the Northern Rivers is comparatively faithful by contrast, with membership rates of at least half that of Byron Bay.

The statistics are sourced from Fairfax Media, who published an interactive map on its website, reportedly created by data scientists and online property search engine NationMaster.

They only record those who have made actual financial transactions with the Ashley Madison site - considered a better indication of its genuine user base.

The Ashley Madison data dump has created societal shock waves across the world in thousands of households - with some reported suicides in the US and others with a morally pure public profile being rudely exposed.

Despite the region's lower number of users, compared to Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra, not one postcode has been immune from the scandal which has played out over the last fortnight, with tens of members in smaller postcodes to hundreds in the largest.

Southern Cross University psychologist Dr James Donnelly said while the worldwide scandal was unprecedented in its immediate scale, unfaithfulness was an age-old issue which happened everywhere.

"The reality is every day in every country people are being found out for having extra-marital affairs," Dr Donnelly said.

"Ask any psychologist; they have a steady stream of people coming in about betrayals in their relationship.

"This stuff has been going on forever but sites like this create a new risk for being caught and in a far more public way."

Dr Donnelly said some people hunted for affairs addictively because they were sociopaths or narcissists - the former can't feel the damage they are doing, while the latter are too self-absorbed in their own transient satisfaction to notice.

But the majority of people sought out-of-relationship fulfilment due to underlying dissatisfaction with their existing relationship, and maybe a desire to return to a simpler state of "infatuation".

"People really enjoy the initial infatuation stage when the flaws in someone's personality tend to get ignored," Dr Donnelly said.

"Over time, reality tends to set in and things like taking care of children, the challenges of having a life together can decrease intimacy. Things that didn't seem to be a big deal can start to get on people's nerves.

"Some people resolve the problems by going to find someone else, or multiple people, to go back to that infatuation state."

Dr Donnelly said the Ashley Madison scandal "exposes an aspect of human functioning which isn't very pleasant".

"It would have been nicer if the people involved had come forward and talked to their partners about what they were feeling," he said.

"But if it can get people to stop and think about how they deal with relationship dissatisfaction, then that's not a bad thing."

He encouraged people to seek professional support from appropriate relationship counsellors or psychologists who could assist with these issues.

"There's a real possibility they have sacrificed something that was very important to them, and being found out may expose aspects of themselves that they wanted to remain secret."

Ashley Madison paid members with postcodes in the Northern Rivers

Byron Bay (2481): 775 subscribers, 8.55% of the population

Lismore (2480): 1580 members, 4.4% of the population.

Ballina (2478): 907 members, 4.1% of the population.

Casino (2470): 327 members, 2.87% of the population.

Evans Head (2473), 56 members, 2.25% of the population.

Kyogle (2474): 94 members, 1.81% of the population.

Coraki (2471): 29 members, 1.45% of the population.


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