| 6°C Dublin

Cyber sex and gambling cause rifts but recession keeps couples together

ONLINE gambling and pornography is driving a wedge between couples but financial difficulties are forcing them to stay together.

On the eve of St Valentine's Day, marriage counselling service Accord has said that there has been a 10pc increase in the need for its services.

It also found that the effects of the recession may be saving as many marriages as it is ending. The most striking statistics compiled by the service is the 50pc jump in the number of couples experiencing marital problems because of the internet.


The service said that "cyber sex, pornography and gambling" were causing more rifts in marriages than ever before.

"We provided more than 40,000 sessions of counselling last year," said Ruth Barror, Accord's national director.

"There has been a big increase in the number of people looking for our services.

"It's the usual thing generally, like a breakdown in communications, but we're also finding some surprising statistics.

"In the past year there has been a 50pc increase in couples (with problems) because of the internet, because of cyber sex, pornography and gambling.

"Before individuals would have to leave the house to get access to these things, but now they don't."


Apart from problems caused by internet use the other major problems facing Irish couples are financial ones, with increased money and job worries as a result of the recession.

"A lot of people have grown up without experiencing these problems before and, obviously, with children at the centre and not being able to do certain things, it can cause huge questions," Ms Barror said.

She went on to say that the recession may have also saved a lot of marriages as couples work through their problems rather than paying for potentially messy and expensive divorces.


"It would seem to be that with the recession people are unable to sell their houses, they feel completely trapped, but in many cases are being forced to look to see if they can stay together," she said.

"Then, in many cases, they have to find the best way possible to do that. If it is completely loveless or there is no hope, they probably will find a way to end it.

"But what we find is that the recession also gives people the opportunity to rethink their lives, rethink their relationships.

"It's being there for each other, having fun with each other, working through difficulties."