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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 September, 2004, 10:25 GMT 11:25 UK
Is web romance breaking marriages?
Person surfing the web in a cyber cafe
Internet websites and chat rooms are making it easier for partners to have an affair and may be adding to the UK's rising divorce rate.

Relationship experts said that the number of people going to websites to look for old partners is on the increase.

Long working hours at the office are also putting a strain on marriages - and providing more opportunity for internet romance.

The number of couples getting divorced is at its highest level for seven years according to official figures.

Is the internet adding to the UK divorce rate?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


A selection of your comments:

Why does the internet get blamed for everything?
Cathi, Liverpool, UK
Well, I met my husband online at a time when I was housebound and unable to get out to meet people - I've made many good friends online worldwide. Why does the internet get blamed for everything? My husband's previous partner spent all her waking hours watching TV soaps, EastEnders, Coronation Street, can I blame them for the breakdown of their marriage? For those people saying people spend too much time online - any hobby or pastime which takes over a person's life to the point of obsession is a threat to a marriage.
Cathi, Liverpool, UK

This is nonsense! If it weren't for the internet, I wonder how my husband and I would have stayed married! We have to spend a lot of time apart in different countries, but thanks to the internet, we are able to stay connected easily and at low cost. Technology is simply a tool, and people will use it in whatever way they will. If they want to play around, they will find a way of doing it!
Liz, UK

A lot of the problem is boredom. Simple financial realities mean that life for a lot of people consists of going to work, coming home, making dinner, doing the washing up, and going to bed. Who can blame people for wanting a bit of excitement in their life? The problem is that the person on the internet who appears to be the answer to your dreams is probably not what they claim to be, and the internet means you can get carried away with the rush before you realise that your 22-year-old model with a huge trust fund is actually an unemployed 63-year-old with a warped idea of fun.
Dave Tankard, UK

Why blame the web? There are lots of other ways for cheating partners to meet new people, not only chat lines, adverts in back of tabloid papers and magazines as well as chatting people up in bars and pubs. The internet is just another avenue. If people are going to do it, they will find a way. The person must have already made the decision to cheat before they start chatting other people up, whatever way they do it. You can't blame websites, there are many genuine relationships that have started on them.
Phil, Chester, England

If a couple aren't happy, surely that's the cause of a break up
Gemma, Preston, Lancs
It gives people the encouragement and opportunity to meet new people if they're single. It's not all bad! If a couple aren't happy, surely that's the cause of a break up?
Gemma, Preston, Lancs

I think isolation can be caused within a relationship depending on where the computer is kept. We keep the computer in the room where we spend most of our time together, and not the back bedroom.
David, England

No, the web is not breaking up marriages. It's the 'me' generation who think they can do as they please with loose morals, and little thought or care to their spouses, children, family and friends. Let's not make it easier to blame the web to alleviate the guilt of those who forget the promises they made at their wedding.
Jack, London

It's possible that the web has facilitated the break-up of relationships. However, the increase in divorces is simply a manifestation of changing societal morals, in a world that is ever faster paced. The Internet is hardly to blame for these trends, any more than the other emergent technologies. The commonality in the human condition is change occurring at ever faster pace, which undermines the stability of institutions such as marriage.
David, Milwaukee, WI, USA

You can't blame the web for this, it is society in general
Brian, North UK
You can't blame the web for this, it is society in general. People see unfaithfulness everywhere and think its alright. I know many people who are deeply in love and yet still cheat on their loved ones, and they more or less expect to be cheated on. It is society and frankly I think infidelity should be a crime!
Brian, North UK

My friend's husband left her for another MAN he met online - not sure he would have had the guts to go out and search for a real gay lover but the internet enabled him to make a start, and now, to dump his family.
Anon, UK

An increasing sense of personal empowerment and independence is a marriage breaker, not the web.
Steve, UK

If you run away with them you'll still have to mow the lawn and pay the bills
Jonny, England
The most important thing to remember is that however special that "someone" is - be they an internet flame, a former partner or the gyrating god/goddess in a strip joint - if you run away with them you'll still have to mow the lawn and pay the bills. The internet can help fuel a fantasy of happily-ever-after but can't hide the reality forever.
Jonny, England

The web seems to be the popular scapegoat of the day. With many people misguided as to what it does and how it works, it seems a perfect empty void into which society can throw accusations. Perhaps people should consider that technology is merely a tool that is utilised by people to perpetrate certain situations. They are not forced at gunpoint to do the things they choose to do. Yes, the web is a chaotic mess of data in which child abusers, etc. can find a shield of anonymity, but it is also a network that connects business across the world, it allows people to work remotely, boosting our productivity. If the net were to be shut down (which will never happen), the world would be crippled. Dictating that we should destroy the technology just because some members of the human race can't control themselves is not a valid option.
Chris Ward, Guildford, England

My ex-husband's internet habits contributed heavily to the break up of my marriage. He was another one who would spend all hours of the day and night online, so I could never contact him during the day, and more often than not went to bed in a bad mood at night after having only the television for company in the evening. I came to really hate the sound of the modem dialling. In the end he had an affair, not with someone he met online but he used an internet email account to contact her so there would be no record of having phoned her and therefore no way I could accidentally find out.
Anon, London

Forget web romances, what breaks marriages up is lack of concern, lack of patience and maybe most of all, lack of a real sense of forgiveness.
Alex Kenny, Thurso, Scotland

I met my current partner on the internet, and we are getting married next year
Rachel, London, UK
I met my current partner on the internet, and we are getting married next year. My mum also hooked up with her ex from primary school through friends reunited - they are now very happy and will probably marry in the near future. In my case, the chat rooms were a way of finding my confidence and self-worth after coming out of a long serious relationship that was also violent, and it then led to close friendship and romance.

The only difference that the internet has made is that it is easier to get access to other people and therefore easier to cheat emotionally, if not physically, as you don't have to go out to hook up with someone. Dan from New Jersey, your story sounds familiar - I had a friend on the same chat room who had that problem. Fortunately for him, he managed to meet someone else and (I believe) is now very happily settled in the States - the internet does bring a lot of positives as well!
Rachel, London, UK

I met my husband through the internet. 3 years ago I moved over to Norway to be with him and we got married just over a year ago. As I was in the East Midlands at the time, and he was here in Oslo, it is very unlikely we would have met any other way. Why is it you only ever hear about things going wrong with the internet?
Wendy Harrison-Fox, Oslo, Norway

While the web makes it much easier to meet people from all over the world, I do not believe that it breaks up marriages
Arlene, Houston, Texas, USA
While the web makes it much easier to meet people from all over the world, I do not believe that it breaks up marriages. I have met many people in person from the net over the past 7 years. Not one was a man until my husband of 20 years wanted a divorce. I was able to connect to and fall in love with a man from England that before the net I never would have been able to meet. We were married in December. The net did not end my marriage, it brought me love.
Arlene, Houston, Texas, USA

I met both my last and my current partner online. My last partner turned out to be a paedophile, unknown to me - I found out when I used his computer and accidentally found some child porn. I reported him to the police and he was subsequently charged and sent to jail for it. I then found my current partner online. We now live together and I can honestly say I have never been happier. The internet is a tool, nothing more. It's the people that make it what it is.
Liz, Manc, UK

On the contrary, occasionally, meeting up with an 'old flame'(on-line) from past times can clearly re-enforce your memory banks of how boring and dull that person once was (and still is!)...except now that same one is also older and past their 'sell by date'. Time doesn't change a lot of folk in character, that is...they just get older, that's all. Also, many feel that the grass is always greener on the other side, and this is what tempts them to cheat (either on-line or whatever)...but most of the time this isn't so. Why complicate your life even further? It's best to play it safe and not get involved, especially on-line, where you just don't know what crank you're taking on board.
Peter, U.K.

I met my husband from Yorkshire, UK four years ago in a chat room. Neither of us looking for a romance, however after spending thousands of words and hours chatting both on line, then over the phone and two meetings across the ocean later here we are married for just over a year and half. Both prior marriages did end in order for us to be together in Canada now. We are both sitting here and wondering what all the fuss is about still over internet relationships. There has been a continual change in the way people meet since the days of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
Sharon, Canada

It also adds to the marriage rate
Dave, Cambridge UK
Of course, it also adds to the marriage rate. I would never have met my wife had it not been for the internet, given that she was in the US and I was in the UK when I first started chatting with her on-line. We have quite a few friends that we've met on-line and subsequently met in person so it's not all bad. How many of those divorces would have happened anyway, albeit slightly later, due to other means?
Dave, Cambridge UK

Make sure you leave the computer on when you are done, for it will be the only friend you have when this is over.
Michael Ahmad, Toronto, Ontario
"I'm just checking a few things! Be out in a moment!"....famous words from people trying to get away with what they rationalize as just tapping away on a keyboard in the dark in a locked room. At first it is just a friendly two letter "hi" which quickly turns into innuendo as inhibitions are quite easy to get over when the ignore button is better than a tombstone or a divorce. Soon your senses are going through something that can rarely be experienced in real life, and those whom are far to inhibited by social, and emotional constraints are using terms such as master, and doing things they never thought possible. All accomplished in an hour, just enough time to mow the lawn right afterwards.

Pity the only one whom will suffer will be the wonderful person who stood with you and vowed until death do you part. Yes you hit the ignore button, and you ignored the only real person in your life. The time you could have spent with them, is now gone forever. All for a few strokes of the keyboard. Make sure you leave the computer on when you are done, for it will be the only friend you have when this is over.
Michael Ahmad, Toronto, Ontario

Chat rooms are the modern day Mills & Boon
Christine, UK
Chat rooms are the modern day Mills & Boon. Men and women who are stuck in everyday life use the chat rooms to escape from bills, work and children the way housewives used to read and fantasise about the heroes in their Mills & Boon books. The chat rooms are just a form of escapism to help people forget about their everyday struggles. If more people go online to look for a way out, then there has to be strong underlying causes that should be dealt with, rather than blaming chat rooms.
Christine, UK

We live in a 'must blame something or someone society' when really it is only each individual who is to blame for what is going wrong with his/her life. Marriage needs commitment and sometimes things go wrong but decent people should try and sort out the problem. The Internet has many benefits and blaming it for increased divorce rates is like blaming films and TV for violence. Those who have a predisposition for infidelity will go with their next door neighbour if the need takes them.
Rosalind Mercer, Bedford, U.K.

Don't blame the internet, blame the people who do these things. It's easy to find an excuse; it's much more difficult, and more meaningful, to face up to problems in a relationship and to work them out.
Jason Konik, Chicago

I think that web romance can break up marriages, in that it tends to take away the attention of one partner and left the other worrying of what is happening to their marriage and how it was great some time ago. Web romance can also be destructive when a particular partner now is hooking up with a long time lover. They tend to want the ' old fire stick' to catch and this can be done quickly, especially if their past romance was intriguing and it had ended because of certain circumstance/s beyond their control. I think web romance and chat rooms are not for married people. Stick to your partner and appreciate him/her better.
Winston, Montego Bay, Jamaica

A lot of people use the internet as an excuse to avoid each other and not talk about their problems
Mark, Glasgow
My girlfriend's parents are going through a divorce as a result of the internet and chat rooms. Her mum started hanging around rooms speaking to people the same age as her and then she started looking for people who lived nearby. Before we knew it she was actively meeting these men behind both her and her father's back. The one sad thing about it all was she was more interested in hearing the "ding" from her PC to let her know someone was chatting to her, than actually spending time with her family. I think a lot of people use the internet as an excuse to avoid each other and not talk about their problems.
Mark, Glasgow

Hmm, I wonder. The rise in popularity of chat rooms seems to have coincided with a general decline in tolerance for others' points of views and an increasing tendency for people to be averse to any form of criticism. I wonder, therefore, whether the increase in divorce rates is related to chat room use or whether this is just a red herring for other problems.
David Hazel, Fareham, UK

Marriages have, since the inception of the institution of marriage been breaking down. The internet, in my opinion, can facilitate the breakdown of the marriage but may not necessarily be the cause of the breakdown. I've had and still am having online relationships yet my marriage is not floundering...depends on the individual(s) to let the marriage breakdown.
Anon, Harare, Zimbabwe

All those fairy tale princes and princesses out there are of our own making
Gerry, UK
Real human contact as opposed to internet contact is a far richer experience with facial expressions body language and many other forms of rapport adding to the stimulation. How anyone could even begin to compare a real person in the flesh to some badly spelled lines on a chat room pane is beyond me. The only explanation is that without full human contact we supplement this withered form of communication with the power of our imaginations. All those fairy tale princes and princesses out there are of our own making.
Gerry, UK

I was in a relationship (not married) for 12 years and my ex-partner cheated on me with a work colleague. This simply acknowledged to me that our relationship was finished so I used the internet to start dating again. I met a number of very nice women and am now settled down and living with my beautiful new partner and her daughter. We are thinking of getting married next year. To a person who suddenly had to face up to the prospect of being single after 12 years of a relationship, the internet was a lifeline to me and I would thoroughly recommend it as a way to find a new partner - although I would not condone it for extra-marital affairs.
Robert C, Sheffield, UK

I actually met my wife through the internet! So put this down as one instance that it has decreased the divorce rate. We were married in England.
Neal Worthington, Marlow, NH, USA

The internet had clearly replaced and erased our 7 year relationship
Katryn, Cumbria
Last year I purposely sabotaged my home telephone line in a desperate bid to stop my boyfriend diving on the internet of an evening. No land-line, no internet with more quality time together. My boyfriend was always in chat rooms and openly bragged about the other women he'd been chatting to. He knew their names, age and admitted sending them sexy e-mails to "get them going" for a bit of fun. It got to the point where he'd come home, have his tea and chat on the net until the early hours, leaving me to do the housework night after night and mope around with no company. Two months after I thought I'd pulled the plug on his internet antics, he began staying at work later and later - on the chat rooms again, by this point he openly admitted having more woman followers to talk to so I told him to move out as the internet had clearly replaced and erased our 7 year relationship.
Katryn, Cumbria

The internet is fatally attractive to people who can only relate to the man/woman of their dreams. The real partner is sitting on the sofa stressed out because of their job or peeved because it's always them who puts the rubbish out and it's just too easy for the other to forget that more than 50% of the time you are quite happy with each other, and creep upstairs to the world where everyone is a hero, beautiful, really understands you and there is no washing up. It's a disaster for people who tend to float away from reality, like an online dangerous drug.
Anon, Switzerland

No - it is simply being made an excuse by weak-minded philanderers. I have plenty of online friends of both genders and have not been tempted to cheat on my fiancée even though some are attractive or whatever. If the web wasn't there, these amoral people would have done it some other way.
Moo, London, UK

My life has completely changed for the better
Joanne, Buckinghamshire
When I went onto the chat rooms I was a lonely wife living alone at home as my husband was working away from home. It was a lifeline to the outside world that was safe and secure and brought a smile to my face as it was quite exciting talking to strangers. Our relationship already had problems and I think my web romance which turned into reality gave me the push that I needed to get out of my marriage to my partner of 10 years. Although I am not with the person I had a web affair with my life has completely changed for the better, I am now happy and content in a relationship that he has given me equality and a baby son.
Joanne, Buckinghamshire

A marriage in which one of the persons has a web 'romance', I believe, must already have been in trouble. If the person feels the need to turn to a stranger on the internet rather than their partner then their marriage obviously has deeper troubles and isn't very strong! The internet isn't adding to the UK divorce rate, it is just a new way for empty-shell marriages to openly collapse after privately cracking!
Laura, Manchester, UK

Of course it does. When you met someone before chat rooms came along, you would not have as much choice and so would not be as fussy in your 'shopping list' of requirements in an ideal partner. With the internet making the globe one big speed dating service, you have far more chance of getting every requirement met in your shopping list. Your current partner won't stand a chance. However, on the other side, your partner can match their requirements better too and won't need you anymore either.
Ken Hall, UK

I know someone whose first marriage ended because his wife met someone online and she left to be with that man. Then after the divorce, he married someone he met online. That marriage is now ending too. I don't believe online romances work out well.
Jocelyn, Akron, OH USA

The fact is that most marriages seem to be "make do" affairs where two people cling onto each other for dear life in terror of being alone. It's hardly surprising that they fall apart at the first hint of something better on offer. The internet only offers that temptation.
Anonymous

We were honest with one another
Jo, London, UK
As many people here have discovered, things aren't always what they seem, and people aren't always who they say they are, but the dream that someone has found their soul mate can accentuate existing marital problems, and drive a couple even further apart. Once you realise someone isn't quite what they say they are, the damage may already have been done. Having said that, I met my partner online. We were both single and now live together and are planning to marry next year. We were honest with one another, and got to know one another spiritually, mentally and emotionally before we ever met in person. We are best friends as well as a couple, and believe that meeting online helped us to learn to communicate with one another on a deeper level than if we had first met one another down the pub.
Jo, London, UK

Of course it's adding to the divorce rate. Bored women can now get into easy contact with men without having to go to bars etc. It has never been easier for women to have affairs. I suppose it's a weird type of emancipation. Men have always had more opportunity, now women are on an equal footing
Anon

Why do people chat on the net rather than to friends in real life? Because the net is one of the few ways in which we can instantly talk to people from different countries, sharing a wide range of views on world events. Don't assume everyone who chats online is there because they have no friends, or because they want to lure married men into torrid affairs!
Kate, London, UK

You know what's funny, when you're single and looking for someone on the dating sites, you can't find anyone. But the married people can find so many. What is that all about?
Pam, Boston, USA

As a married man of seven years, who is away on business a lot I started using the internet dating sites while sitting in my hotel room.
David, London
As a married man of seven years, who is away on business a lot I started using the internet dating sites while sitting in my hotel room. It all started off quite innocent and I had regular contact with a number of women. I was open about the fact I was married and that I was surfing and chatting for fun.

However, I became very close to a particular woman and we moved from chatting on line to chatting on the phone and exchanging pictures. This added to the excitement and in the end she was pushing for us to meet up. It was a move I was not willing to make and so after a prolonged period we stopped chatting.

The experience has taught me, that doing what I did was playing with fire and I now stay clear of all chat rooms. The effect it had on me was that I became less communicative with my wife and I ended up spending more and more time chatting and surfing on the net.
David, London

Let us face it the main reason for divorce or people staying single is the increasing culture of the "Me Society". Current trend is that the increasing culture of selfishness and not wanting to give up personal happiness and freedom for getting married and have children. Those ones who are already married felt they are trapped and will be better of outside marriage and they get divorce to get back to their so called free life to do what ever they want to do. So, do not blame the technology!
Kidist, Herts - UK

My ex-wife started chatting to guys on various sites, after realising that most would buy her nice meals in pricey places. I became so paranoid, I logged her emails and found out that she had begun to take things further than meals. It destroyed my trust in her, and I loved her so much! Now she is the one who is so upset at our divorce, while I've moved on. It's made me very wary of relationships now though.
Rob, London

I cannot think of anything more dull than chatting to someone on a computer. For God sake get a life people!
Kevin, England

Don't just focus on the negative when it brings so many positives as well
Ian P, West Midlands, UK
Two couples I know who met on the internet are getting married later this year. Another person I know is in the only relationship he's ever had because of it. Internet breaking marriages? Don't just focus on the negative when it brings so many positives as well.
Ian P, West Midlands, UK

Maybe one should ask what causes people to spend hours talking to people on the Net rather than their partner?
David, UK

Only as much as lonely hearts columns in newspapers do. Let's face it, if you're looking for somebody else on the internet, in a bar or in a printed advert you're already straying, aren't you? Don't blame the medium!
Helen, Bradford, UK

I think the horse has already bolted if people are trying to get into contact with people they used to fancy at school
Giles Clinker, London, UK
I think the horse has already bolted if people are trying to get into contact with people they used to fancy at school etc. Surely these same people don't start chatting people up in pubs while they're standing next to their spouse do they?
Giles Clinker, London, UK

There are two sides to this. First there is the person who rekindles an old flame and follows through. Then there is the spouse who is not secure enough to let a friendship continue and asks for a divorce. Marriage is about many things, but trust is often overlooked.
Catherine, Lancaster

I have to disagree with Linda from NJ, just because you share secrets and feelings with people online does not put your marriage in danger. Sometimes talking to someone far removed from the situation concerned can help far more than talking to someone right in the middle of it. Just because you have good friends online or in real life does not mean your marriage is in trouble.
Mark Oliver, Farnborough, Hants

I have two male friends who have split due to internet romances.
Tim Rose, London UK
I have two male friends who have split due to internet romances. One was a wife cheating, and the other was my friend encountering an old flame of Friends Reunited. You can't blame the internet websites for failures in relationships per se, but availability of services breeds usage through opportunity. Therefore, given the opportunity to view certain types of web pages will fuel certain types of activity. Ultimately, users have only themselves to blame.
Tim Rose, London UK

To seek out old partners does not mean you will break up a marriage, if the person loves who he/she is with they will stay with them. Internet is not to blame for any divorces.
Yolanda Jansen, South Africa / Alberton

It's not the internet that adds to the divorce rate. I met my wife online, that was six years ago. When we do fight, it's usually over the same thing, money. It's the low wages and the pressures it causes people that drive them to such things. Low wages are easier to cope with when you're alone.
Glenn, UK

While living in the UK I met a girl over the internet who, after I got through her web of lies, turned out to be married with four children
Dan, NJ, USA
While living in the UK I met a girl over the internet who, after I got through her web of lies, turned out to be married with four children. As soon as I found this out it ended between us, but I'm sure she'd done it before and most likely since has done it again. It's clear to see that the internet made it very easy for her to have the affair and it is possible that without the internet she may not have done so, but her marriage was already in trouble, instead of seeking solutions the easy way out for her was an affair through the internet.

You cannot blame the internet for divorce rates as it is a human factor to make a marriage work, but human nature usually makes us take the easiest route, for which the internet has indeed provided an easy route to affairs rather than the harder route of reconciliation, counselling and just plain facing up to any problems a marriage may have.
Dan, NJ, USA

This other relationship made me feel so different.
Anonymous, UK
I'm married, in my 30's, and the parent of a young son. I had an internet relationship that resulted in my meeting the other person in real life. Afterward we kept talking about a future together. My spouse is a wonderful person, and has never done anything wrong, but this other relationship made me feel so different. I was in love. Then I found out that my internet lover was engaged to someone else, the entire time. I had cheated on my marriage, and my heart was now broken. It took a very long time to work through that. It was awful. My marriage is getting back on track, but I still look back and can't believe I was so foolish.
Anonymous, UK

Having received a text message a week ago from my wife of eleven years to inform me that it's time we both moved on - I would definitely say that the Internet and Text messaging is breaking up marriages and relationships all over England. It's very easy to get someone's number in a pub or nightclub to send them a joke or something - then start sending caring messages. These turn into suggestive then if the person is enjoying the flirting the messages turn very sexual. All this is often going on behind the husbands / Wives backs. Its only going to get worse.
Dave, England

The internet just provides more opportunities for people to communicate and relationships are a consequence of that. To blame the internet or individual websites would be like blaming Alistair Campbell for introducing Sven to Ulrika.
Neil, UK

I went to an all boy's school, my wife went to a convent! Good reason for us to be happy and feel relatively secure in visiting friends reunited!
Simon Mallett, UK, Maidstone

I'd like to contribute to this debate, but fear it'll wreck my marriage.
Rich, Highworth, Wiltshire

My partner of five years started chatting - innocently so he said - on the 'sex boards' for 'bored and married' people
Anon, London, UK
Well maybe you can't generalise but I think in certain cases it can cause problems when partners get onto the chat boards. In my own case my partner of 5 years started chatting - innocently so he said - on the 'sex boards' for 'bored and married' people, but while he was open about it with me, it only caused me anguish and pain to see him flirting with all these other women online and receiving raunchy pictures of them.

OK so he was at least honest enough to show them to me but it still made me feel inadequate and unloved, and also caused a number of other things in the relationship worsen that we had been able to deal with sufficiently well to stay together until then - but suffice it to say a year later we are no longer together. So in short, yes it can be divisive and yes it can lead to break ups, though whether there is anything that could or perhaps even should be done about it is another matter.
Anon, London, UK

I have first hand experience of this when I met a girl online whom I fell in love with and proceeded to have a relationship with. It so turned out that she was married. I was devastated to find out that the love of my life had lied to me and used me to initiative an affair with her husband. They are now divorced and I don't want to see her anymore. I am staying clear of the internet for dating from now on!
Paul Dewhirst, Dewsbury, UK

According to my wife, the Internet is the cause of all the world's evils. There would be no terrorists, swindlers, paedophiles or adultery without it.
anon, UK

So relationship experts have found another excuse for break-ups. If a couple are not putting enough time in to the relationship of course there will be problems.
Clive, Dartford,UK

Internet chat and dating websites are not adding to the divorce rate. They are actually a symptom of the increasing difficulty of finding a suitable partner these days. The internet is a way out for those that would rather not find their perfect match by getting paralytic down at a club.
Lloyd Evans, Brighton, UK

Blaming the internet for the breakdown in marriages is like blaming an umbrella for the fact that it's raining
Francisco, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
The internet is a communications tool -- nothing more, nothing less. Blaming the internet for the breakdown in marriages is like blaming an umbrella for the fact that it's raining. All the internet does is create an opportunity to meet people. If that's enough to facilitate the breakdown of a marriage then that relationship was never going to last in the first place. In this day and age people go out, meet people at work, etc.
Francisco, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Too many people give up at the first sign of trouble in a relationship. The internet certainly makes it easier to get in contact with people; however I think that if someone is spending time using the internet instead of communicating with their partner then there is something already wrong in the relationship.
Kate, London, UK

Clever spouses can actually catch their wayward partners more easily now thanks to ISPs and browsers providing a history of sites visited and people mistakenly remaining logged on to their email! A bit like a mobile phone bill or Call Register giving the game away! ;)
ML, London, England

Perhaps it is a good thing the internet makes it easier to have an affair. Those then prone to affairs would have them a lot earlier, get caught (everybody does) and can then be kicked out of the marriage a lot earlier than would otherwise be possible. A cheating partner would have taken the first opportunity anyway, better to know sooner than later.
Chris, Bradford, UK

They are a symptom of less-than-perfect relationships
Sharon, London, UK
Surely if people are going on the web to seek out old flames, they shouldn't be married to someone else in the first place. I don't think internet flirtations are a cause of divorces as much as they are a symptom of less-than-perfect relationships.
Sharon, London, UK

I guess internet may make cheating on your partner easier but it can't be blamed for the breakdown of marriages. You're either the sort of person who can be faithful to someone or you aren't. Your exact method for being an adulterer is irrelevant.
Marc , London, England

Certainly. Developing an intimate relationship with another person, online or in person, is a betrayal of the marriage and distances that person from his/her spouse. There is no doubt that online affairs are just as emotionally damaging to a marriage as an in-person affair.

Once the door is opened, and a person begins to share feelings, needs and secrets with a person other than their spouse, the marriage is in deep trouble. At least with an in-person affair, there are more obvious signs, such as periods away from home, and others may inform the one who is being cheated on. As such, online affairs are even dangerous.
Linda, NJ, USA

You cannot blame the internet for an increase in marriage breakdowns
DC, Oxford
You cannot blame the internet for an increase in marriage breakdowns. If a marriage fails the only people to blame is the couple itself.
DC, Oxford

If marriages break down then it's the fault of one or both of parties involved. If the net doesn't facilitate that breakdown it would be something else. I think its more effective to try to understand why marriages breakdown-what causes couples to seek solace or comfort from other avenues instead of communicating to each other, how they feel, instead of trotting out that same old tired story of the internet and its 'perils'.
Jock, Blackwood, Gwent

A high proportion of marriages have been unhappy since the year dot. However, today people have higher expectations, much greater mobility and opportunity and, particularly with the internet, much greater privacy to conduct affairs. So the internet will increase the divorce rate but it probably won't do much to damage strong relationships.

They will simply carry on business as usual. The sad thing is that so many people find it so hard to form strong relationships and then get themselves into a mess they could have avoided.
Roger, UK

The web isn't damaging relationships - it is the shallow individuals who cannot commit. Whatever happened to loyalty, dedication and working through problems with each other?
James Murphy, Dorset, UK





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