Stories about the misery caused by a website that facilitates extra-marital affairs worldwide are emerging after cyber-hackers threatened to reveal the identities of its 37 million members.
A group calling themselves the “Impact Team” have warned that, unless the Canadian-based site is shut down immediately, they will expose users’ names, addresses and explicit images online.
The Daily Mail is reporting that many marriages and relationships have been permanently damaged by people using the website, which 1.2 million Britons have signed up to.
Sarah, 34, from Surrey, was happily married for ten years and had a six-year-old son, James.
But in January 2013, she discovered that her husband Rich had been having an affair for two years, arranged via the website.
“I was shaking from head to foot. I felt physically sick. I didn’t know whether to cry, laugh or scream. It was horrendous.
“My stomach was in knots. I felt so angry and confused and utterly heart-broken, all at the same time”, she said.
The couple divorced eight months later.
Jackie, 50, from North Wales, also caught her husband Peter using the site.
“I had my suspicions he was cheating and thought I’d set up my own account on a few of these sites so I could have a look”, she said.
“I was sickened to see his face pop up.”
Men whose wives and girlfriends have started affairs through the website have also spoken out.
“This site destroyed my marriage of 20 years”, said Bob, 47.
“It ruined my marriage and my self-esteem. It was awful.”
Jo Welch, from the support group ‘Women Scorned’, said that the number of messages they have received from people whose marriages have been wrecked because of spouses using this type of website has soared in recent years.
“It may have started in the U.S. but it’s a trend that is growing frighteningly quickly in Britain”, she said.
“Websites like this are disgraceful. They break up families, causing so much pain and suffering — and we have to deal with the children and wives and husbands whose lives are destroyed at the click of a button”.
Harry Benson, Research Director at the Marriage Foundation, says such sites are “thoroughly unpleasant and misleading”.
“They actively encourage people to look for an affair by making that option available”, he added.
He said that to “facilitate” affairs is “trying to profit from unhappiness and turn it into misery”.
“To pretend that adultery is a good thing in an otherwise long-lasting, loyal relationship is utter nonsense.”[Names reported in the Daily Mail were changed for legal reasons.]