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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 September, 2004, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Web romance 'fuels divorce rise'
Divorced couple (generic)
Long hours in the office may make couples more likely to grow apart
Websites which help people look up old flames on the net may be adding to the UK's rising divorce rate, it is claimed.

The number of couples getting divorced is at its highest level for seven years, official figures for 2003 show.

Relationship experts at Relate said the increasing number of people going to websites like Friends Reunited to look up old partners was having an impact.

Friends Reunited said it was only an intermediary and for each unhappy story there were hundreds of positive ones.
Internet may make cheating on your partner easier but it can't be blamed for the breakdown of marriages

Marc , London, England

Spokeswoman Carolynne Bull-Edwards told BBC News Online that almost 12 million people - around 47% of UK internet users - were registered on the site.

"There are very, very occasionally unhappy stories. For every one unhappy story there are literally hundreds of happy customers," she said.

"We are an intermediary delivering on our promise to reunite people. What happens beyond that is not within our control."