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Internet 'to blame' for 1,000 rocky marriages

Internet use has been blamed for problems in about 1,000 marriages, a counselling service revealed today.

Accord said 15pc of its clients faced major difficulties as spouses brought extra work home or turned to pornography, online gambling and computer games.

The Catholic marriage care service stated that more than half of the couples it helped last year were also struggling with financial problems, 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.

"Some are using the internet for genuine work purposes but with people bringing work home, particularly for international companies, they are not available for family life," said Mr Lally.


"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. They take it as a partner rejecting them and turning to cyber sex."

Accord delivered more than 40,000 hours of counselling to 4,700 couples and 1,800 individuals in 2009 -- an 11pc increase on the previous year.

Since 2007, the number of clients with financial problems increased by 71pc, while issues around the use of the internet increased by 87.5pc.

Rates of depression and stress in clients were up 14pc and 12pc respectively. But communication, stress and sexual intimacy were the most common problems in a relationship.

Mr Lally said the rise in counsellors' workload was because people can no longer afford to separate and couples, who may have previously gone to a private counsellor, will go to Accord as its charges relate to ability to pay.

Accord -- which is marking its 40th anniversary -- has 58 centres in the north and south of Ireland for pre-marriage courses and support services.