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The Cause of Divorce: Intenet?

Lots of authors of the stories that appeared in the Internet Love Story column have praised the net for bringing them together with soul mates from afar that they could never have otherwise met. It is also true that in the world of cyberspace, void of all inhibitions, even those who would never think of flirting in real life become brave enough and do. In these on-line chat rooms you can find with equal frequency the respectable family man, the bored housewives and the love seeking teens. We've said little so far of the dark side of the net, the emotions that the spouse of the entangled husband or wife experiences. The helplessness they feel watching their spouse be overtaken by this mysterious world hiding behind the monitor that they don't understand. Rather than my comments, let the reader's letters speak for themselves. Below is one letter I've selected from readers on this subject. Other related articles are Story 25, Story 26 and Story 28

Dear Madam,

Unfortunately the majority of the people found in chat rooms are either emotionally handicapped or are there to cheat money out of older men. They display fake data about themselves and turn spouses against each other.

It seems most probable that my 24 year marriage will be breaking up. We have two grown daughters. One is still in school the other will graduate this year. I am a businesswoman, my husband is a businessman. He fell in with a chat group that had turned him inside out completely. I can hardly recognize him. I've succeeded in tracking down the backgrounds of one of the people. The news devastated my husband, yet he is still unwilling to believe that the others are any different. To top it all off, he is using my internet address for his chats, and of course this reflects poorly on me and my employees. I've asked that he visit a psychiatrist who might be able to help him.

Until now I've trusted him 100%, but unfortunately I’ll never be able to believe a word from him again and under those circumstances I don't believe it will be possible to maintain the marriage. I've tried everything I could think of to put this behind me but he is unwilling to break away from the chat group. It would be a good idea to close such places because it can do a lot of damage. I use the internet frequently, but it never occurred to me to use the chat room.

(name withheld)