42,000 Irish men and women are hoping to conduct an extramarital affair. With help from the internet they're exploring physical relationships outside of their own marriages.

According to the Evening Herald there are an eye-popping 630,000 registered users from Ireland and the UK are making use of IllicitEncounters.com - a website that discreetly helps people on the look out for affairs online.

Not everyone thinks a cheating website deserves any attention, of course. But the owner has defended what she calls her 'match-making' service. Rosie Freeman-Jones claims she does not feel guilty about the nature of the site, which was founded in 2003.

Said Freeman-Jones: 'I don't think there is a great moral problem, we don't necessarily think an affair is a bad thing. I've been doing this job for four years and I sleep very well at night. I am comfortable with it. People come to a site like ours simply because they want to feel they are not alone, if they are bored in their relationship. We recognize that this is happening and it is happening on a huge scale, our impact on marriages of the masses is very small.'

'In a way it provides a bit of perspective. Once they have gone elsewhere they might think, no this is not what I want and that is a win, win for us.'

But living a second life doesn't come cheap. Men who join have to be willing to pay $133 a month to avail of the service, and that's whether they're looking to flirt or pursue a physical affair.

Freeman-Jones claims the majority of the sites users are aged between 35 and 40 and are financially stable.

'I think we have a tendency to demonize people who seek extramarital relationships and I think there is a fundamental problem with that.


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'At the end of the day we are looking at between 40 percent and 60 percent of people who will cheat. You can either ignore it and say it is wrong and put it in a box somewhere or you can acknowledge it.

'Some people, maybe their confidence is low and they might come online just to flirt a bit. There are people who come looking for a specific type of relationship. I think there are quite a lot of things that motivate people and I don't think they are things you would expect.

'I don't think everybody using the site is missing something at home and that is something that is important to get across. These aren't people who are necessarily in an unhappy marriage but this a feeling among them that they get to a stage in their life where they feel as if they should be happy with their monogamous relationship and they are not and they feel confused and conflicted,' she added.

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