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I get a smile on my face when I have an email from you." He wants something from me that is not sex, even if it is disguised as sex. "Why is it I get the feeling I'm missing out on something very important? He says checking his email is his favorite time of day.Here on a site where the idea, ostensibly, is to facilitate no-strings-attached affairs, a lot of men are trying to forge real bonds. He thinks of me at work, he thinks of me when he is birdcalling. On Ashley Madison, wives are mostly reduced to pronouns, and in that reduction they are less a human than a fact that shares their home.They are beautiful, the son eating an ice cream cone, the young girl in overalls. is holding her up and she is grabbing his finger, and the finger is wearing a wedding ring. He believes that marriage is a path all men must travel at some point. wants to meet me, but he's not sure he can steal time away.His message says, "Although we haven't yet met, something has happened (at least for me). is an engineer in his early 30s who practices birdcalling in his spare time, and sends me pictures of his younger days, when he went boating and life was dangerous and uncharted. If they've dated a woman for number of years, marriage comes next, an obligatory stop on the endless conveyer belt. For now, he is content to write — to paint the picture of the moment we lock eyes across a bar.Dammit, dammit, dammit." All of the men tell me that their wives would never guess they are doing this. "I've never been caught." This one has had affairs before.He has gone home to his wife after renting a room and having sex there with another woman. is in his mid-30s and works in finance, though he wanted to be a scientist. The screen on his phone is taken up by an image of his baby daughter; he moves it aside with his thumb and forefinger to search for a book I tell him he would like. has trouble with eye contact, so he says to his water, "You're beautiful." He has never eaten caviar, so we order a flight.

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He didn't have sex with the first woman he met from the site, so he doesn't feel guilty.

There are the ones who just want to meet to have sex; you can tell because their handles are direct and uncomplicated: Yours4Lust and Deep Passion Man.

They list measurements and ask for yours, as though it's merely a matter of fitting one puzzle piece into another. Instead, I respond to the thoughtful ones, whose tales might help answer my questions.

We wish we could ignore ashleymadison.com, the online playing field for married people looking to cheat. Redbook couldn't ignore that number, so we sent writer Lisa Taddeo online to meet up with straying husbands and get them to answer: Why? He wants to meet; he doesn't know I ran into him just last week. The more careful among them don't post pictures directly to the site, but they send a key that grants me access to a "private showcase" of images.

But over 8 million men and women have signed up, heeding its slogan, "Life is short. By definition, Ashley Madison, a dating site for cheaters, is a disreputable place. Your first impulse may be to throw your arms up in rage and condemn its members, the ones trawling for an affair or the chance to talk dirty in an instant message. I set out to ask married men on the site not only why they cheat, but why they do it so boldly, admitting their recklessness and confessing their betrayals on the Internet as though their morality and fidelity were items up for auction on e Bay. One of the men has a tagline on his profile that reads, "At your cervix, madam." Within moments of signing in, instant messages flush my screen, emails and winks from muscular men and men much older than me and young ones and proud fathers and one gray grandfather, worming out like monsters from the baseboards. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised: 68 percent of the site's members are men, and their average age is 44 — right in his demographic. Some wax their chests and others are darkly forested.

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