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David Baxter

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Old-Flame Web Sites Boosting Divorce Rates
Sun Sep 5, 2004

LONDON (Reuters) - Web sites that reunite and reignite old lovers are helping push up England's divorce rates, according to a UK-based counseling service Wednesday.

Sites such as Britain's Friend's Reunited have made it easier for former lovers to get back together, hastening the break up of relationships, said Christine Northam, a counselor at Relate.

The warning comes after figures from the UK's Office of National statistics revealed that divorce in England and Wales rose for the third successive year in 2003 to over 150,000.

Northam said other factors were pressure at work, the changing roles of women and a decrease in the stigma of divorce.

"The use of the Internet makes having affairs easier than in the past," said Northam.

The last five years has seen a proliferation of Web sites that act as a bulletin board for people looking to contact old school friends, traveling companions and work colleagues.

A spokeswoman at Friends Reunited said it was wrong to suggest such sites are undermining marriages and families.

"We are no more to blame for divorce rates than the advent of the telephone," she said. "We are an intermediary and we ... reunite, and what occurs afterwards is beyond our control."
 
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