Sharon Glick, director of the St John's Cathedral Counselling Service, says she has seen a sharp rise in the number of couples whose relationships have been devastated by infidelity - and believes technology is at least partly to blame. We are getting a lot more counselling work involving couples who have discovered that their partner has been unfaithful. I believe there has been a tremendous increase not in affairs but in people discovering that their partner is having an affair, and my theory is that it is because of technology. When couples come in, I hear stories about how he puts down his wallet and phone before taking a shower. She then goes through his phone and checks his messages, and gets to the one that says: 'Dear darling ...' He either gets out of the shower to a very angry wife, or figures out this can happen and hides his phone. She then says to herself: 'I'd better find that phone' - and does. It isn't just men. There are women who are found out this way as well. I knew one woman who was very careful. She had a separate phone and separate SIM card. She kept it at the other end of the house in an old purse. Her husband was concerned something was up and began playing detective. He found the other phone and SIM card. They then came in to see us together. The trend for couples to spy on each other has developed as text messaging has become more and more popular. Sometimes people check the numbers their partners have rung but that information is not as graphic as looking at a text message that says: 'I miss you' or 'I can't wait to see you'. Text messages are beyond the spouse's control because it is a message that comes to him or her. It is an issue of whether or not that message gets deleted. Technology has made a lot of things faster and more possible. Internet dating has increased. I have heard about people getting messages over the internet from old school friends saying things like: 'I am now single and very eager to see you again', and it clearly is not just a warm greeting. For a person who is married and maybe struggling in that marriage, that kind of invitation is very tempting. Asia is like a candy store for men, because there is so much sex available. People do not usually stray in a marriage if their needs are being met. It is when they feel unappreciated and uncared for that they go out and look for another relationship. Generally, people do not stray for sex. They stray for nurturing. Sex happens to be a way that it gets communicated. People in Hong Kong work very long hours. They have little time to nurture relationships and tend to each other. Spouses lead parallel lives and, with the strong economy, the work demands are greater and there is less time for family. There is also more business travel - a pivotal issue. Since Hong Kong is a regional place many people are travellers which creates a lot of conflict in relationships. Counselling can save a relationship. It is not about apportioning blame. It is a way of learning to communicate better. Infidelity is a sign that something is wrong in a marriage, that the needs of one or both people are not being met. The aim of counselling is to restructure the relationship. Infidelity is the result of people being desperately unhappy. The level of pain caused by betrayal is an issue. The person who strays in the marriage traumatises his or her partner and counselling aims to make them realise the depth of the pain they create so that it does not continue to happen. The St John's Cathedral Counselling Service is a non-sectarian service that provides professional non-stream counselling. Details are available on www.stjohnscathedral.org.hk/counselling.html or by ringing 2525 7207.