Internet blamed for 1,000 break-ups
Published 13/03/2010 | 05:00
MONEY troubles and internet use have been blamed for problems in thousands of marriages as the number of couples seeking help rises.
Yesterday Catholic marriage counselling service Accord said that internet use was to blame for problems in about 1,000 marriages as spouses turned to pornography, online gambling and computer games.
The agency also said that half its clients were struggling with financial problems, up 71pc from 2007, while almost a third were trying to deal with alcohol or drug abuse.
Liam Lally, acting director of counselling, revealed problems surrounding internet use jumped dramatically in recent years, up 87.5pc.
"Some are using the internet for genuine work purposes but with people bringing work home, they are not available for family life," he said.
"Online gambling is now quite easy to do at home and people are also getting addicted to playing games. Pornography is also a problem. It is linked with a form of infidelity because a person is getting sexual gratification from the internet instead of having a relationship from a spouse.
"When a partner finds out they feel very let down."
The agency, which is marking its 40th anniversary today, has delivered more than 40,000 hours of counselling to 4,700 couples and 1,800 individuals in 2009 -- an 11pc increase on 2008.
Rates of depression and stress in clients were up 14pc and 12pc but communication, stress and sexual intimacy were the most common problems.
Mr Lally said the rise in the number of counselling hours was because people, who may have previously gone to a private counsellor, now go to Accord as its charges relate to ability to pay.
President of Accord, Bishop Willie Walsh, emphasised the message of hope expressed by the group. "Many problems in marriage can either be prevented or overcome through timely intervention in the shape of marriage preparation or counselling," he said.